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The Glass Wall

Lives on the Baltic Frontier

Max Egremont

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Glass Wall Download image

ISBN10: 0374163456
ISBN13: 9780374163457


320 Pages



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Few countries have suffered more from the convulsions and bloodshed of twentieth-century Europe than those in the eastern Baltic region. Caught between the giants of Germany and Russia, on a route across which armies surged or retreated, small nations like Latvia and Estonia were for centuries the subjects of conquests and domination as foreign colonizers claimed control of the territory and its inhabitants, along with their religion, government, and culture.

The Glass Wall features an extraordinary cast of characters—contemporary and historical, foreign and indigenous—who have lived and fought in the Baltic, western Europe’s easternmost stronghold. Too often the destiny of this region has seemed to be to serve as the front line in other people’s wars. By telling the stories of warriors and victims, of philosophers and barons, of poets and artists, of rebels and emperors, and of others who lived through years of turmoil and violence, Max Egremont sets forth a brilliant account of a long-overlooked region, on a frontier whose limits may still be in doubt.


Praise for The Glass Wall

"Egremont dives deep into the story of the Baltic frontier . . . [A] near-total immersion into a land, its people, and the harrowing arc of its history. An intricately layered account of the eastern Baltic, a land shaped by colonization, revolution, deportation, and murder."—Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt

1. Our Shared Riga

Early in this century, I stayed alone in a small hotel in a side street of Riga’s old town. It was winter, I seemed to be the only guest and at the reception desk an unsmiling youngish woman quickly slid a...

About the author

Max Egremont

Max Egremont was born in 1948 and studied modern history at Oxford University. He is the author of a number of novels and several works of history and biography, including Forgotten Land: Journeys Among the Ghosts of East Prussia, Some Desperate Glory: The First World War the Poets Knew, and an acclaimed biography of Siegfried Sassoon.

©Kate Eshelby

Max Egremont