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Olga's Story: Three Continents, Two World Wars and Revolution--One Woman's…
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385508514, Hardcover)When Canadian journalist Stephanie Williams set out to discover her Russian grandmother’s long-lost history, what she unearthed was this stunning, sprawling portrait of a life lived on the grand stage of the 20th century.
Born in remote Siberia in 1900, Olga Yunter was the youngest of five children. As a teenager during the Revolution, she was a courier and arms-runner for the White Russians. After learning of the execution of her brother at the hands of the Red Army, which drew nearer every day, her father sent her to China with rubies and gold sewn into her petticoats. She would never see her family again.
The life of a Russian exile in China meant poverty and fear. But Olga was lucky. She met and married Fred Edney, and gave birth to their daughter, Irina, the author’s mother. But the creeping Japanese occupation and invasion of China forced Olga to flee with Irina to Canada, leaving Fred behind to continue working. For five years she heard almost nothing of her husband, save that he was alive in a Japanese prison camp. At the end of the war she returned to China to find him broken by his internment. The family was driven out of the country for good by the Chinese Revolution in 1949. They settled in Oxford, where Olga and Fred lived out the rest of their days.
Drawing on letters, diaries, government documents, and interviews, Stephanie Williams brings to life this gripping historical drama, sweeping in scope and illuminated by the intimate details of one woman’s extraordinary life.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:51 -0400)
"Olga Yunter was born in the summer of 1900 in a remote trading post surrounded by the desolate steppe of southern Siberia. Her childhood, as the youngest of five children, was happy: there were the great family banquets at Easter; the thrill of the horsefairs across the border of Outer Mongolia each November; the arrival of her father's caravans that had journeyed from the northern reaches of Siberia, weighed down with the furs of foxes and sable." "But soon mutterings of rebellion were heard in the streets and Olga, still only a schoolgirl, was swept up in the chaos of the Russian Revolution as she helped her brothers in their desperate fight to save the town first from the Bolsheviks, and then from the brutal commander of the region's White forces. Violent tragedy ensued and, with a price on her head, Olga was forced to flee for her life. At the age of nineteen, alone and with only a handful of rubies sewn into her petticoats, she escaped, first to Vladivostok and then to northern China. She never saw her family in Siberia again." "For a penniless Russian girl, China was a difficult place to suffer exile, but Olga survived: she married an Englishman and together they began to bring up their daughter in the bustling northern city of Tientsin. But in 1937 the Japanese attacked and for the second time in her life Olga lost her family home. Once more she would have to start over again, now in the glamorous world of Shanghai, as the shadows of war lengthened on the horizon." "Based on Olga's own stories, scraps of notebooks and letters, and painstaking research, Olga's Story is a account of the life of the author's grandmother. From the comfort of her family to the terror of revolution, and dangerous journeys in exile, Olga's Story is an epic tale: the story of an ordinary woman of extraordinary resilience caught up in some of the most devastating events of the last century."--BOOK JACKET.
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