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Taras Bulba Hardcover – Apr 1 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; New edition edition (April 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679642552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679642558
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 1.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 254 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,821,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“One of the ten greatest books of all time.” —Ernest Hemingway

From the Back Cover

“One of the ten greatest books of all time.” —Ernest Hemingway

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By drongo on April 27 2003
Format: Hardcover
Gogol�s �Taras Bulba� is a good example of how a literary work can return to topicality with a vengeance; not so much news that stays news, as it were, as news that re-emerges as news. Accompanied by a brief introduction by professional geo-pessimist Robert D Kaplan (reprinted in the April 2003 Atlantic magazine), this novella confronts the reader with an account of a pre-modern mindset which is only too relevant to understanding current international events.
Set sometime in the 17th century, �Taras Bulba� describes the life of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, a people so accustomed to war that it has become the focus of their existence. Taras is a Cossack colonel, an old fighter who has survived into middle age and fathered two sons, now themselves on the verge of manhood. Far from slipping into complacent quiescence, however, he is as warlike as ever, and his sons� return home from their seminary studies rouses him to return from semi-retirement to full-time work (i.e. raiding and pillaging). His overriding motive is to initiate his sons into full Cossack manhood. The military � or personal � consequences are irrelevant. What matters is that his sons must learn war.
After an interval at their stronghold, the Sech, an all-male enclave where the Cossacks practise the arts of peace (i.e. getting roaring drunk), Taras is able, with little difficulty, given the nature of his audience, to foment a campaign against the neighbouring (and therefore enemy) Poles. This situation exemplifies a clash-of-civilizations scenario wherein the Orthodox Cossacks are engaged in chronic conflict with the Catholic Poles on the one hand and the Muslim Turks and Tatars on the other.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By doc peterson on Dec 21 2002
Format: Paperback
I like Gogol - I loved "Dead Souls' and "The Nose". But Taras Bulba totally caught me by surprise - which was (ironically) both pleasant and a disappointment. The story tells the tale of the Zaphorizhian Cossacks of the Ukriane and their struggle for independence from the domination of the Cathlic Poles. Returning from university, Taras Bulba's sons Ostap and Andrei partake in their first Cossak foray into the steppe. Enroute, Andrei falls in love with a Polish nobleman's daughter, and in the seige the follows, betrays his hetman (leader) and people to defend her. Tragedy ensues.
First, I was disappointed by the lack of depth he wrote for his characters - they never really sprung to life for me. Rather, they read more like charactures - carousing, drinking, rallying to the "true, Orthodox faith", pirating and plundering. This is as true of the minor characters as it is of Taras Bulba and his sons themselves - characters you would expect more "fleshing out" given the nature of the novel. I was also disappointed by the lack of scope - for a novella about the struggle for Ukrainian independence, the story itself was remarkably thin, dealing only with the events surrounding Tara's attack upon an unnamed Polish city, and his subsequent quest for revenge.
However, there is much to like about Taras Bulba. As one would expect from Gogol, the imagry is fabulous - vivid descriptions of Cossack life from their humble steppe homes, to their flamboyant dress, to the very way in which they drink themselves into a stupor. For this alone, the book is worth the time and effort to read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sergey Vasilev on Aug. 2 2005
Format: Hardcover
TARAS BULBA provides a vivid portrayal of the Cossacks and their way of life before the modern times than any other novel we can think of. Centered on the Zaphorizhian Cossacks of Eastern Ukraine, the story deals with a father who in a bid to initiate his sons into the Cossack military way of life abandons his semi-retirement and rouses the passions of his people to confront the Polish overlords who were subjugating them. Fast flowing, deep and expressive without wasting time on sublimities Gogol took us into a journey of Cossack wars that introduces us to their values, way of life, and colorful traditions. Unfortunately, Taras Bulba's warpath causes the loss of his favorite son who chose to rescue the Polish woman she loved, whose city was under siege by the troops his father was leading. TARAS BULBA is one of the many Russian stories such as KARAMAZOV BROTHERS, UNION MOUJIK, and PUTIN'S RUSSIA that provide a magnificent insight into the large Russian psyche.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Person on Jan. 25 2004
Format: Hardcover
As another reviewer noted, Gogol didn't write very much about the characters, just brief descriptions, yet I was amazed at how close I felt to Taras's son, when he met his father for the last time. The only criticism I have is that I expected more to occur with Tara's son and his lover. It seemed too important a problem to end so briefly, but perhaps my desire to continue this part of the story just shows how effective Gogol's writing is. Great book.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Konstantin Smolski on Jan. 26 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a telling historical account of the human duality; it shows the thin line that separates the victim and the victimizer in war. Robert Kaplan wrote that this book is important to "better understand the emotional wellsprings of the threat we face today in... the Middle East and Central Asia." He is absolutely correct. "We" are the Polish overlords.
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