Harbin: Izd. M.V. Zaitseva, 1937. 176 pp.+4 pp. of ads. 19x13,5 cm. In contemporary binding; original illustrated front wrapper preserved. Front wrapper slightly detached from block, some small stains, previous owner’s notes on rear side of front cover, p. 19-20 slightly chipped, otherwise very good.
Extremely rare and repressed publication by an emigrated naturalist and writer.
Nikolai Apollonovich Baikov (1872-1958) was born in Kyiv and first graduated from the Kyiv Cadet Corps, then the Tiflis Infantry Junker School. He began military service in the Caucasus in 1892. After D. Mendeleev told him about construction of the Trans-Manchurian railroad, Baikov moved to the Far East. Baikov spent 14 years in Manchuria. He was engaged in literary, research and scientific work. The naturalist carried out tasks of the Imperial Academy of Sciences and sent them his collections related to Far East fauna. He was forced to leave Manchuria for the First World War, later fought against the Reds during the Civil War. In 1920, Baikov and his family emigrated through Constantinople and traveled across Africa and Asia. They came back to Manchuria in 1922 and worked at a station of the Manchurian railways. In 1925, he settled in Harbin. Baikov was one of the founding members of the Society for the Study of Manchuria and was in frequent correspondence with well-known explorer of Manchurian nature V. Arseniev. Baikov debuted with a book of essays “In Mountains and Forests of Manchuria” (1914) and then became the author of more than 300 publications. In the early 1940s he peaked and was one of six authors who represented contemporary Manchukuo literature at a 1942 congress in Tokyo.
“Around the World” is a collection of wartime memoirs dedicated to various moments beyond military actions themselves. Baikov writes on people’s behavior and beliefs. Starting with WWI, he turned to detailed memoirs of a Chekists’ massacre in Kyiv. Most likely, “In dungeons of the revolution” described the aftermath of Bolshevik power over the city in 1919, before a Whites’ period. In other memoirs he recalled a British vessel evacuating emigrants and Indian reception of them. With the arrival of the Soviet army in Manchuria in 1945, the 73-year-old naturalist was persecuted and was almost murdered in Smersh. His books were taken from all libraries and burned. In 1956, Baikov with his family managed to escape to Australia where he passed away in a couple of years. The copy contains a two-leaf advertisement of Zaitsev’s publishing house in Harbin listing numerous books released in 1932-1937.
Worldcat shows copies located in California, Stanford, Yale, Chicago, Iowa Universities.