The Mystery of Olga Chekhova: A Life Torn Apart By Revolution And War by Antony Beevor
'An extraordinary drama of exile and espionage' Boyd Tonkin, Independent
'Compelling . . . as engaging a read as Stalingrad and Berlin' Guardian
Olga Chekhova was the niece of playwright Anton Chekhov and a Russian beauty. She was also a famous Nazi-era film actress, closely associated with Adolf Hitler.
After fleeing Bolshevik Moscow for Berlin in 1920, she was recruited by her composer brother Lev to work for Soviet intelligence; in return, her family were allowed to join her. By 1945, several of them were trapped in Berlin as the Red Army approached; meanwhile, as Olga had appeared in photographs with Hitler and his entourage, the rest of her family in Moscow were waiting to be arrested by the NKVD secret police.
The dramatic tale of how one family survived through the Russian Revolution, the Civil War, the rise of Hitler and Stalin, and the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union is, in Antony Beevor's hands, a breathtaking tale of glamour and survival.
It's an extraordinary story of extraordinary times.
'Fascinating. An intricate, gracefully told and often moving social history of a talented family in times of revolution, civil war, dictatorship and world conflict' Rachel Polonsky, New Statesman