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Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy Paperback – December 11, 2012

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Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy + A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940 + Finland at War 1939 - 45 (Elite)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"…[Jonathan Clements] has combined the knowledge of a historian with the accessibility of a novelist. I hadn't heard much about Finland's Gustaf Mannerheim before, but I am certainly intrigued to read more about his fascinating life."—Grrlscientist for The Guardian UK

About the Author

Jonathan Clements is an author and scriptwriter whose works include An Armchair Traveller's History of the Silk Road. He has also written biographies of Kublai Khan, Marco Polo and Empress Wu, as well as volumes on China and Japan in the Makers of the Modern World series.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Haus Publishing; Reprint edition (December 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907822577
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907822575
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #484,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Jonathan Clements is the author of many books on East Asian history, including biographies of emperors and empresses, statesmen and warriors, foreign visitors and outcast rebels. His works have been translated into over a dozen languages, including French, Spanish, Korean and Dutch. His biographies of the First Emperor of China and Empress Wu have both been published in Chinese.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kiwi on March 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
OK, I have to admit Finland's Marshal Mannerheim is a historical personage I find truely fascinating. I own and have read a number of biographies, including Stig Axel Fridolf Jägerskiöld's Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland (Nordic Series), J E O Screen's Mannerheim: The Years of Preparation and Mannerheim: The Finnish Years as well we Oliver Warner's
Marshal Mannerheim and the Finns. Mannerheim was a truely great man, an able Officer and then a General in the service of the Russian Tsar prior to and during WW1, the leader of the White Finn's who fought (and won) in the Finnish Civil War between the Whites and the Reds which followed Finland's gaining of independance from Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. He became Regent of Finland for a short period after the Civil War, then returned to prominence as the Military Commander of the Finnish Armed Forces in the 1939-40 Winter War where the Soviet Union attacked Finland. He led Finland's military through the Second World War, establishing his place in history as both the man responsible for Finland remaining a free and independant state where so many other eastern european and Baltic states were overrun by the Soviet Union, and also as one of the greatest defensive Military Commanders of all time.

Earlier biographies of Mannerheim make for somewhat dry reading.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. A Newman VINE VOICE on March 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Probably no leader was more improbable that Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim. He was part of the old line Swedish nobility that to this day still make up a tenth of the population of Finland. Though he was fluent in Swedish, Russian, and French for most of his life, he only learned Finnish in his 50s and then when he was the chief military leader of Finland. He was cavalry officer in time in which horses were becoming obsolete in modern warfare. He was an aristocrat in a time in which democratic and totalitarian processes were seeping into the political firmament (much to confusion of Mannerheim). This multi-faceted life is given the full treatment in Jonathan Clements' biography, Mannerheim: "President, Soldier and Spy."

Mannerheim's career as a soldier began in the imperial Russian army. This career narrowly came off. He was expelled as a cadet from an institution that now features his picture on the wall of every classroom. Mannerheim embodied the high living Chevalier Guards lifestyle in the Russian capital. If one looks closely at pictures of Tsar Nicholas II's coronation, there is Mannerheim standing to his right. Mannerheim did not have a problem as a Finn serving in the Imperial Army. In his home in Helsinki, which operates as a public museum, there are autographed pictures of the Romanovs on the piano and elsewhere. Had the 1917 revolution not taken place, Mannerheim could have lived out his life as a member of the Russian military.

Clements' biography largely follows the traditional narrative of other biographies of Mannerheim and relies in some sections on secondary sources. However the section that sets this book apart is the one that deals with Mannerheim's career as a spy in China.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By R. Burns on April 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been on a Winter War bent lately and looked forward to what I believe is the first English-language biography of Mannerheim. The author tells an engaging story, but I find it amazing that he spent so much time writing about Mannerheim's spy mission in China. I realize the author has written extensively about China and Asia and finds that personally fascinating. Parts of that journey were interesting, but certainly not to the extent that it took up about half the book. Mannerheim's Winter War and Continuation War leadership was the single biggest factor in preserving Finland's independence. Clements devotes fewer than 50 pages to World War II.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By RDM on March 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Very highly recommended: interesting, informative and entertaining. A book of history even for those who wouldn't think of themselves as history readers.

Clements has a great eye for spotting the humorous and amusing, even in the tragic. He finds many such incidents that keep this book moving at a brisk pace, without being too breezy.

It sets out in clear terms the international situation for the events he recounts and achieves a fine balance between the big picture and the personal. Clements also does good work in spelling out the peculiar position of Finland from the 19th to the mid-20th century.

Well researched and documented and with a fine selection of photographs that keep company with the text. The publisher might have positioned the maps more usefully, but this and other minor quibbles about the layout do not really detract from what is a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding book.
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