biography Archive

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First ever Biography of Angelica Balabanoff – extract from the book

24.06.2016 Posted in Writing No Comments

Had she ever been married? Or had kids? Was she really a mistress of Lenin, Mussolini, Trotsky and Stalin? Was Edda Mussolini, the eldest daughter of the infamous dictator, her daughter? Angelica’s life was full of mysteries and unexplainable events. Born in Chernigov, a small town in the Northeastern part of the Ukraine which at the time was part of the Russian Empire, she rebelled against her well-off merchant family and their traditional values, disagreeing from the age of 5 with the rules of upbringing imposed on the girls of her social milieu. She broke with her family when she became a young woman, refused the family inheritance and, after being cursed by her mother, left for Western Europe to live with the poor and ease their lives. She never saw her mother and most of her siblings again. After completing her graduate education, Angelica quickly became one of the primary female lecturers in Europe. The first person to discover, educate and form the future Il Duce, she was also a close acquaintance of Lenin and Trotsky during their exile in Switzerland, stood next to them as their equal in the ‘all macho’ Soviet government after the Russian Revolution and became Lenin’s most trusted agent, whom he sent on secret missions vitally important for the young Soviet State. Disillusioned with the Revolution, Angelica was possibly the only high-ranked official in Russian history who left the country legitimately without being prosecuted. Rejected by many friends and colleagues, she became an anti-communist […]

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My biography of Angelica Balabanoff is out!

22.04.2016 Posted in Writing 3 Comments

Dear Friends, My biography of Angelica Balabanoff, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel has been published at McFarland publishers after more than 4 years of intensive work. I’m the happiest personin the world. About Angelica. Born in 1878 to a wealthy Ukrainian family, Angelica Balabanoff broke ties with her parents and left for Europe to become one of the leading female socialists of the early 20th century. Just five feet tall, plump and plain, she was rumored to be a lover of Mussolini, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin. Returning to Russia at the beginning of the October Revolution, she became one of the few women to occupy high-ranking positions within the all-male Bolshevik government, later fleeing Russia in disagreement with Lenin’s politics. She was accused by European and American secret services of promoting communist propaganda, and by the Soviets of disloyalty. She lived in small dormitory-like rooms, moving on average every two years with her two suitcases of important documents. She died in Rome at the age 96, concluding her 65-year career by supporting Giuseppe Saragat in his quest to become president of Italy. During her nomadic life, state and police agencies in the countries she visited compiled documents on her. The author draws on this extensive, scattered archive in this first biography of Balabanoff. Click here to order on Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Hope you will like the book!!!        

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Why did I spent 4 years writing a biography of Angelica Balabanoff

24.07.2015 Posted in Writing No Comments

I first heard about Angelica by coincidence, on the Internet, while following a discussion on a forum about well-known Russian women who lived abroad. Someone mentioned Angelica Balabanoff, the socialist Russian mistress of Mussolini. “Socialist,” “Russian” and “Mussolini” in one sentence sounded intriguing, and so I decided to take a closer look into her story. After a little research, I found three short essays written about Angelica between 1975 and 1983. Such a dearth of information was not surprising. In fact, this is a rather common situation with women in history whose lives are less known  than those of their male counterparts. So most of the information I  found in the essays came from Angelica’s memoirs My Life as a Rebel. It was out of print. I hurriedly ordered the book from the second-hand-book web-site abebooks.com, and read it immediately when it arrived. Dogmatic and monotonous, the book was a disappointment. Ready to brush Angelica aside, I gave a cursory look at the bibliographies and noticed that all three essays provided completely different sources of information. After entering her name into the databases of the biggest archives in Europe and America, to my surprise I discovered a wealth of information about the life and secrecies of this incredible person.* *Extract from the book The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: Life of a Communist Rebel scheduled for publication at McFarland Publishers, October 2015.

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Biography of Angelica Balabanoff – extract from the book

16.10.2015 Posted in Writing No Comments

Those who have been following my blog know that I have a book coming out about Angelica Balabanoff by McFarland Publishers in the Fall 2015, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel. To celebrate the book launch, for the time being I will dedicate my blog to various themes about Angelica, her life, friends, recipes and extracts from my book. To start with here is an extract from the Introduction that gives  insight into the book. Let me know how you liked it. Introduction Had she ever been married? Or had kids? Was she really a mistress of Lenin, Mussolini, Trotsky and Stalin? Was Edda Mussolini, the eldest daughter of the infamous dictator, her daughter? Angelica’s life was full of mysteries and unexplainable events. … Her life might have seemed odd, eccentric and somber. Yet a few years before her death she wrote to her friend, Ella Wolfe, the wife of the American socialist, historian and writer, Bertram Wolfe, the words that depicted her personality better than any other: “Believe me, even if I had much money at my disposal I would not like to live better than I do now. It was the dream of my life – since my childhood, to share the sufferings and deprivations of the poorest among the poor. As a matter of fact it so happened that I never did – I lived also (please check this quote-it does not sound right. if this is exactly what she wrote in English, you […]

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Blogging about Angelica Balabanoff

8.05.2015 Posted in Writing No Comments

Dear Reader, If you have been following my blog, you know that my new book, a biography of Angelica Balabanoff, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel, due to be published by McFarland Publishers in October 2015. To celebrate this publication, the result of a four-year work and research, starting from May 2015, the articles in my blog will be devoted to my heroine. They will tell about Angelica, her life, hobbies, favorite recipes, her numerous friends, many of whom had an interesting life, which is worth being told, and last but not least I’ll will also publish the extracts from my book. So who is Angelica and why did I want to write about her? Born in 1878 in a dazzlingly rich family in Chernigov, Angelica broke ties with her parents and left for Europe, to become one of the leading female socialists of the European labor movement at the beginning of the 20th century. She was famous in Italy for “discovering” Mussolini, when he was an unknown socialist, and being the first person who “polished and educated” the future Duce. For a long time, it was thought that Mussolini’s eldest daughter Edda was the daughter of Angelica. She returned to Russia at the beginning of the October Revolution. Highly respected within the European socialist movement, her mere presence in Russia during the Revolution served as real publicity for what was happening in the country. Angelica fled Russia, disagreeing with Lenin’s politics. She was accused by European and American secret […]

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The First page of my Book

29.04.2014 Posted in Writing 2 Comments

Dear Reader, I would like to share with you the first page of a biography of Angelica Balabaanoff I have been writing for the last 4 years. I would be happy if you let me know if you like it. Thank you A Pot of Red Azaleas Had she ever been married? Or had kids? Was she really a mistress of Lenin, Mussolini, Trotsky and Stalin? Was Edda Mussolini, the eldest daughter of the infamous dictator, her daughter? Angelica’s life was full of mysteries and unexplainable events. I discovered the strangest of these when I least expected it. It was on a chilly December day when I visited her tomb in the Non-Catholic cemetery in Rome, a beautiful place with cypress trees, wildflowers and three-colored cats that followed me around. Reserved for foreigners or non-Catholics, the cemetery is a part of the tourist to-do list. It boasts the tombs of the English 19th –century poets Shelley and Keats, as well as many known personalities who died in the Eternal City at the time when bodies were not transported back to their native land. Making my way through Rome, I imagined how Angelica’s tomb might look. I was sure that due to the foreign and historical status of the cemetery inhabitants, the place is rarely visited by the families of the deceased. As it happens, it is impeccably maintained by the “Friends of the Non-Catholic Cemetery” Foundation who takes care of the site as well as its cats, and provides information […]