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Author Name:    RIABOFF, Alexander HARDESTY, Von

Title:   Gatchina Days : Reminiscences of a Russian Pilot. First Edition in dustjacket, Signed by editor

Publisher:    Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1986, ISBN:087474802x 

Seller ID:   115309

RIABOFF, Alexander. Gatchina Days : Reminiscences of a Russian Pilot. Von Hardesty, Editor. Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Press, (1986). First Edition. Pp (6),7-183,(1). Illustrated. Maps. 8vo, red cloth spine, cream paper-covered boards, gilt lettering to spine. "A rare look at the aeronautical scene in Russia during the turbulent years of the Bolshevik Revolution and the subsequent three-year civil war is provided by this remarkable memoir. Its author graduated from the Gatchina Military Flying School on the eve of the 1917 Revolution and entered the Imperial Russian Air Force just as the Russian Army—battered by World War I—was falling victim to mutinies in its ranks. Despite the deepening political crisis, Alexander Riaboffcontinued to fly, and in 1918 he joined the anti-Bolshevik forces, or Whit es. For the next two years, he took part in their arduous retreat eastward across the vast expanses of Siberia. Riaboff has written about those epic years from the perspective of a youing Russian pilot cauight up in a spiral of war and revolution, social upheaval and migration, violence and retribution. His account of his flying career with ragtag units of the White armiesreveals the sustained, if limited, role played by aviation on both sides d uring the civil war. There are glimpses of how the Red Air Fleet, the forerunner of the modern Soviet Air Force, was born in 1918. Both Reds and Whites sought desperately to mobilize the vestiges of the old tsarist air force to serve the cause of revolution and counterrevolution. Riaboff writes graphically of the air operations in Siberia in those days—the austerity and hardship, the equipment shortages, the severely limited inventory of aircrartoperating over great distances. As the disorganized White armies crumbled under the Bolshevik onslaught, Riaboff and his fellow pilots continued to resist. Each military reversal and forced withdrawal revealed the hopelessness of the White cause. Finally, after a prolonged period of futile struggle, Riiaboff fled with his wife to Harbin, China. Three years later, the Riahoffs emigrated to the United States, eventually settling in San Francisco. Adding immeasurably to the historical value of this fascinating memoir are more than eighty unique photographs, many of thf»m taken by the author himself as a young cadet and, later, as a military pilot in Russia." (from the dj). Contents : Preface. Editor's Preface. Introduction by Von Hardesty. 1.My Decision to Become a Pilot. 2. Gatchina Military Flying School. 3. Into the Revolution. 4. Assignment in Odessa. 5. Under the Red Banner. 6. Escap e to Kazan. 7. On the Move : Diary Excerpt, 1919: Trek across Siberia with the White Army. 8. Siberian Staiggle : Diary Excerpt, 1920: The Retreat of the White Army Continues. 9. Final Days : Diary Excerpt 1920-1922: Life in Exile. Epilogue. Bibliography. Very good in nicked dustjacket. Signed with inscription by the editor. 25.00


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