Article published on March 14, 2016.
A short while ago I did a review The Trigger telling the story of Gavrilo Princip; this particular man and a band of rebellious young [others] conspired and assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo in 1914, thus propelling the world into World War One.
This morning I find another book to watch out for that supposedly was the blueprint for Princip’s actions – ‘Seven Hanged’ is the current title by Leonid Andreyev. The original title was ‘The Seven Who Were Hanged’ published in 1908 somewhere in Russia; was probably his most famous book, but alas he was a trifle mediocre in storytelling, relying more on shock tactics or being mildly outrageous in his depiction.
Apparently this book has all the facts pertinent to the Sarajevo killings but in a story form, the chief protagonists are of a similar age, they arrive ready to do mischief armed with weapons and explosives, but were rumbled at the last moment and arrested. An in depth study on their mental attitudes as the court case unfolds, allied with the 1900’s anarchic mind sets being trialed for the sake of the tale; we get a riveting story that still resonates today where strife, abuse and injustice may still linger. Who can say categorically that this is the probable causation behind the Princip assassinations, but this is what books are all about, without reading this, I would never know.
The translation is done by Professor Anthony Briggs, himself somewhat of an expert in the works of Leo Tolstoy and Alexander Pushkin. Published in March 2016 by Penguin Books as one of their series of ‘Little Black Classics’.
This is a ‘must read it’ book for me now, to have come this far in my knowledge of warfare; and then to discover this book; which may have given rise to the global catastrophe and beyond; is a definite purchase requirement for me now.
Seven Hanged by Leonid Andreyev
Penguin Classics Mar 2016