Magazine July 6, 2009, Issue

Heart of Darkness

Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg (Wikimedia)
The Bloody White Baron: The Extraordinary Story of the Russian Nobleman Who Became the Last Khan of Mongolia, by James Palmer (Basic, 288 pp., $26.95)

To find even a quick allusion to the White Russian civil-war commander Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg (1886–1921) is to be pulled into a past too strange to be believable and too terrible not to be. Three years ago, I was working on an article on Mongolia for National Review. When the text I’d submitted for editing was returned, a reference to the country’s “brief, brutal, and bizarre rule [by] a crazed Baltic baron” was questioned: “Are you certain about this?” As James Palmer’s absorbing, wonderfully written new biography of this gargoyle khan, exterminationist anti-Semite, paranoid mystic, and (some …

To Read the Full Story

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners




A reader reacts to Mitch Daniels’s comment on government intervention in the energy market.
The Week

The Week

It took only a few hours for the “Wise Latina” cover of our last issue to be roundly denounced as offensive by lefty bloggers.


The Latest