The Bloody White Baron

The Extraordinary Story of the Russian Nobleman Who Became the Last Khan of Mongolia


By James Palmer

Formats and Prices




$28.99 CAD



  1. Trade Paperback $21.99 $28.99 CAD
  2. ebook $9.99 $12.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around June 7, 2011. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

In the history of the modern world, there have been few characters more sadistic, sinister, and deeply demented as Baron Ungern-Sternberg. An anti-Semitic fanatic with a penchant for Eastern mysticism and a hatred of communists, Baron Ungern-Sternberg took over Mongolia in 1920 with a ragtag force of White Russians, Siberians, Japanese, and native Mongolians. While tormenting friend and foe alike, he dreamed of assembling a horse-borne army with which he would retake communist controlled Moscow.

In this epic saga that ranges from Austria to the Mongolian Steppe, historian and travel writer James Palmer has brought to light the gripping life story of a madman whose actions fore shadowed the most grotesque excesses of the twentieth century.
Request Desk/Exam Copy


  • Economist
    “James Palmer's account of [Baron Ungern-Sternberg's] brutal and ill-starred life is elegant, waspish and evocative.

    Russian Life
    “This is an epic biography (ranging from WWI battles, to the Civil War, to Manchuria) told in an easy style that infects the reader with curiosity, peeling back myths to reveal the strange and twisted man that was Ungern-Sternberg.”

    “Palmer effectively evokes both the enormous scope and the small absurdities of war.”

    Simon Sebag-Montefiore, Sunday Telegraph
    “The rise and fall of Baron Ungern-Sternberg is one of the most demented, savage and grotesque stories of modern times. Palmer, with his special knowledge of Mongolia and enthusiasm for Ungern's blend of lunacy, politics and war, delivers an enjoyable, exciting biography that recounts the crimes and conquests of this monster compellingly, colourfully and with cinematic relish.”

    New York Times
    “What makes ‘The Bloody White Baron' so exceptional is Palmer's lucid scholarship, his ability to make perfect sense of the maelstrom of a forgotten war. This is a brilliant book, and I'm already looking forward to his next.”

On Sale
Jun 7, 2011
Page Count
288 pages
Basic Books

James Palmer

About the Author

James Palmer is a Senior Editor at Foreign Policy and the author of two previous books: The Bloody White Baron and Heaven Cracks, Earth Shakes. He is a recipient of the Spectator’s Shiva Naipaul Prize for travel writing. He currently lives in Beijing and will be moving to Washington D.C. in 2019.

Learn more about this author