Last Train Over Rostov Bridge by Captain Marion Aten and Arthur Orrmont ; Foreword by Quentin Reynolds
New York : Julian Messner, 1961. First Edition. Hardcover. 340 pages ; 22 cm. $4.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
"A triumph of realism. • • • This book has both power and prophecy • • • should be required reading for all the hopeful souls who still chatter nonsense about 'someday there'll be another revolution in Russia and our troubles will be over.' " George Fielding Eliot
"A first-rate book, beautifully written." Eugene Lyons
Last Train Over Rostov Bridge
By Captain Marion Aten, D.F.C. and Arthur Orrmont
Foreword by Quentin Reynolds
In 1918 the Allies sent men and arms to aid the White Russian armies in their last-ditch attempt to overthrow the Bolshevik regime that had seized power under Lenin in the Revolution of 1917. This story of that tragic and little-known episode in modern history is one of very few published reports of the Russian Civil War, the unique eyewitness account of an American who lived through its most critical stages.
Captain Marion Aten of El Centro, California, who flew with Squadron 47 of the RAF, was the only American to see combat in the South Russian campaign. Last Train Over Rostov Bridge is the story of that campaign, of the optimistic early days when Cossack and infantryman alike were confident the White armies would take Moscow by Christmas 1919; of the months of victorious advance when White cavalry units came within 200 miles of Moscow; and of final disaster when the thin lines of the counter-revolutionary armies broke and the bloody retreat through Rostov began, to be ended only with the terrible evacuation from Novorossiisk. On that day 200,000 refugees were left to the bayonets and torture chambers of Budenny and the OGPU. Perhaps the keynote of this book is to be found in the words of the White Army captain who told Marion Aten: "Go home—this is your war no longer. It is not even our war anymore. It is between the Reds and God, and I think God is going to throw in the towel."
For the American reader, Last Train Over Rostov Bridge comes as a dramatic and significant revelation of events with which most of us are unfamiliar, despite their lasting impact on the present struggle between the Communist world and the West.
Co-author Arthur Orrmont is a professional writer whose fiction and articles have appeared widely in national magazines. Formerly executive editor of a large publishing firm, he is a three-time winner of the Avery Hopwood Award for creative writing and the author of several books.
Marion Aten, who died in May 1961 at sixty-six, was the true son of his father, Ira Aten, one of the great Texas Rangers. He was a deliberate man, a fearless man and an infinitely gracious one; a man of warmth and humor. It was characteristic of him that his favorite pet leghorn on his Imperial Valley ranch was a rather idiosyncratic fowl who ate only steak and tortillas. I knew him only a short time: during the several weeks at 8N Bar Ranch where we recorded his memories on tape and over the months we corresponded, almost daily, on the manuscript of this personal record. But there was more than enough time for me to learn to call him friend. He was perhaps the last of the pre-Freudian adventurers, a man who sought experience—of men, of war, of distant places—for itself and not for any complicated reason of the psyche. He was that vanishing product of a vanished time —a sophisticated man who was also simple. I like to think of him that way, and to remember the words that ended all his letters: "Happy Landings." I hope the same for him. -Arthur Orrmont
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