Yet more books

Rather than make Hay when the sun shines, I went to Hay when the sun shines.

Yup, a visit to Hay-on-Wye took up yesterday, hence no posts. Went up Hay Bluff for a walk, and then hit the town for food and books. Been a few changes since I last went last year. Even though i was in bookshops most of the time, I still managed to get sun burnt. 😦

However, Hay continues to be a gold mine for obscure books, and kitchen ware:

I found the snappily titled: “Russian and Soviet Policy in Manchuria and Outer Mongolia” by Peter S H Tang (1959). Basically id odes what it says on the cover. The book was £5, as it had some missing pages and some duplicate pages. It gave a very useful and detailed description of the Russian and Soviet activities in Mongolia and manchuria in the first part of the C20 much of which was new to me.

The Chinese eastern railway (CER) played aparticularly pivotal role in this and was one of the redoubt of the White Russian forces being controled by Gen Horvath. It was basically a state within a state due to the complex set of treaties and arrangements amde between the Imperial Russian Govt and Chinese governments. This allowed Horvath to have thousands of armed troops, fortifications and hardware on Chinese soil. He received support from the Japanese and other allies, and helped channel some of this to Semenov, the Cossack Warlord detaield elsewhere in “White Terror: Cossack Warlords of the Trans-Siberian” by Jamie Bisher (2005). (The CER was connected to the Trans-Siberian and was essentially a short cut across Manchuria to Vladivostock)

The missing pages sadly cover Semenov’s activities in Mongolia, but I have access to info elsewhere, but what was new to me was the issue of Tannu Tuva. Now I’d seen in my atlas of world history that such a region existed to the west of what iks now Mongolia, but have never found much information on it. Though this book does not have very much, it is a big step forward !

Basically, Tannu Tuva was the western extreme of what had traditionally been referred to as (Outer) Mongolia, but had been subject to Russian colonisation (but not annexation) during the Tsarist period. Following the 1911 Chinese revolution, Russian troops entered the region as they did in the rest of Mongolia. However, between 1911 and 1917 the Russians made concerted efforts to prevent Tannu Tuva unite properly with either an independent or autonomous Mongolia. Come the Russian revolution in 1917 the local Russians went Red, only to be crushed by White forces, before these were attacked by the local (Mongol) population and returning Chinese Troops (in 1919). The Soviets returned in 1921 booting out the Chinese, and effectively setting up a Soviet Protectorate state that lasted until 1944 when the USSR quietly annexed the region. Intriguingly this was never ever publicised, and it was only found out when in 1946 a new map of Soviet political administrative areas was published, and the exact date of annexation included in the 55th volume of the Bolshevik Soviet Encyclopaedia in 1947 (sounds a right riveting read).

Sounds like the ideal Back of Beyond scenario: Reds; Whites; Mongols and Chinese all fighting each other !

Abnother bargain I picked up was the Osprey book: “Italian Blackshirt 1935-45” which I picked up for £5 !!! Bargain. Not my usual interest, but I thought it’d be a very useful book for AVBCW and any Black Shirt Volunteers sent to GB to support Moseley. It’s better than I thought and gave some pretty good technical details on the Blackshirts and their very varied performance in Ethiopia and later in WW2. Basically, they lacked proper training and equipment, often being chucked into combat with inadequate supplies and barely having fired any live ammunition. The later ‘M’ units did better being provided with better supplies and training, including German equipment and advisors.

Most expensive purchase (a bank busting £5.50) was another ladle, with pouring lip, from a little hardware store in Hay that I always go to and buy random kitchen ware from – like strawberry hullers for instance.

Returning home, I now find I have a glut of gorgeous pictures to post from the Byakhees, and even some of my own feeble weeble efforts.