Whether you know anything about Russian history or not (as in my case) you'll find Gannibal's narrative gripping and compelling and it's elegantly written too. Few stories can match that of Adam Petrovich Gannibal, adopted son of Peter the Great, ancestor of Pushkin and of a bevy of British aristocrats including the Mountbattens, for swashbuckling adventure. Until now little was known about his real life, which turns out to have been even more fascinating and bizarre than the legend of this 'Russian Othello'. In a thrilling hybrid of travelogue and historical detective story, Hugh Barnes investigates Gannibal’s half-forgotten African background (was he an Ethiopian prince or even a slave?), before unearthing lost documents and new clues that help to reconstruct the extraordinary life of an extraordinary man.
When Major-General Gannibal died in 1781 in his eighties, he could look back on a long and successful life. He was the godson of Peter the Great, the Empress Elizabeth had given him nobility, thousands of acres, villages of serfs. His French education and a natural gift for mathematics had led him to fame as a fireworks expert and the architect of a string of fortifications from the Arctic Circle to China. As a husband he was a provincial Bluebeard, but his descendants would include the great poet Pushkin and a bevy of British aristocrats.
Yet Abram Petrovich Gannibal had been born in very different circumstances. He was a black African, perhaps from Ethiopia, perhaps from modern Chad, sold as a child into slavery. In a brilliant biography Hugh Barnes who has tracked Gannibal’s footsteps across three continents restores an extraordinary life to history.
‘An adventure stuffed full of encounters with history- a ripping good yarn which has the merit of being entirely true.’
‘A delightful, fascinating and compelling biography, filled with swashbuckling adventurers.’
‘Elegantly written…Barne’s book takes off into gripping narrative.’
‘Impressive investigative work and a lively literary imagination makes Gannibal a fascinating read.’
Publication date: 04/08/2005
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
|Publication date:||4th August 2005|
|Publisher:||Profile Books Ltd|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography,|
Hugh Barnes is a journalist and Russian specialist, born in London in 1963 and educated at Oxford and Cambridge universities. He covered the wars in Kosovo for the Financial Times, New Statesman and Independent on Sunday, and the war in Afghanistan for the Sunday Times. He also worked in Moscow for three years as a correspondent for Agence France Presse. Hugh is also a well-known Russian literary critic and scholar. His novel Special Effects was hailed by the Sunday Telegraph as "fizzing with intriguing ideas".More About Hugh Barnes