The riveting and harrowing story of the Russian bility caught in the upheaval of the RevolutionWinner of the Pushkin House Russian Book PrizeNamed a Best Book of the Year by The Kansas City Star and SalonEpic in scope, precise in detail, and heartbreaking in its human drama, Former People is the first book to recount the history of the aristocracy caught up in the maelstrom of the Bolshevik Revolution and the creation of Stalin's Russia. It is the story of how a centuries-old elite, famous for its glittering wealth, its service to the tsar and empire, and its promotion of the arts and culture, was dispossessed and destroyed along with the rest of old Russia. Chronicling the fate of two great aristocratic families--the Sheremetevs and the Golitsyns--it reveals how even in the darkest depths of the terror, daily life went on.Told with sensitivity and nuance by acclaimed historian Douglas Smith, Former People is the dramatic portrait of two of Russia's most powerful aristocratic families and a sweeping account of their homeland in violent transition.
Douglas Smith is an award-winning historian and translator and the author of three previous books on Russia: The Pearl, Love and Conquest, and Working the Rough Stone. Before becoming a historian, he worked for the U. S. State Department in the Soviet Union and as a Russian affairs analyst for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.