Paris: Jacques Povolozky & Cie, [1921?]. Octavo (24 × 16.5 cm). Original printed wrappers; 142,  pp. Eight photographic plates. Partially unopened and uncut. Spine extremities frayed; light wear to wrapper edges; text evenly toned due to stock. About very good. Item #4642
First edition. Part memoir, part documentary nonfiction, this text commemorates Russian volunteer battalions fighting for France in WWI. The battalions, made up of non-professional soldiers, consisted of Russian immigrants and exiles who settled in France at the turn of the century. The author lost her own husband, the artist and one time member of the Socialist Revolutionary (SR) party Vassili Khrestovsky (1889-1914) during the war and dedicates the book to “the memory of those who will never return.” The text is made up of Khrestovskaia’s diary entries, the letters she received from the front from her husband Vassili and others, as well as the general historical overview of the Russian battalions and their complicated relationship with the French government.
Philologist and writer, Lidiia Krestovskaia (1889–1957) came to France in 1908, where she studied philology at the Sorbonne and later taught Russian literature and language at a Paris Lyceum. In addition to this documentary work, she published a novel “Opustoshennye” (The Devastated) in Russian, as well as a monograph on her husband “Vassili Khrestovsky: Life of an Artist” in French. A drawing of the living conditions of the Russian battalion included by Khrestovsky in a letter to his wife is among he illustrations in this text. Scarce in the trade.