Baltic Countdown: A Nation Vanishes (Paperback)

Baltic Countdown: A Nation Vanishes By Peggie Benton, Edward Crankshaw (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Peggie Benton, Edward Crankshaw (Introduction by)
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A firsthand account of Latvia during World War II: “A British diplomat’s wife’s beautifully observed eye-witness account of the Soviet occupation.” —Condé Nast Traveler

With her husband in the British Foreign Service, Peggie Benton had already lived through the Nazi invasion of Austria in 1938 and had settled comfortably into the day-to-day life of Riga, the capital of Latvia. But the country’s uneasy history with Russia and tensions brewing with Germany just prior to the outbreak of World War II meant their peace was not to last.

In this compelling memoir, Benton captures both the small details of life in the city—the markets, the winter customs, the Baltic character—and the terrifying moments during the evacuation of Baltic Germans and the Soviet invasion that left the couple homeless and with an uncertain fate. Their world comes crashing down during the chaos of war, and the Bentons are forced to flee more than twenty-two thousand miles eastward across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway to Japan, then through Canada to England, crossing both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Baltic Countdown is a tribute to the people of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia—their resilience through the trials of history and their never-ending hope of independence.

“An engaging account in its own right . . . A bittersweet memoir of a city on the edge of disaster. Her compelling depiction of Riga and its inhabitants conjures up a world that is almost unknown in the West.” —Studies in Intelligence, CIA journal

About the Author

Winifred Margaret “Peggie” Pollock Benton was born in 1906 in Malta, where her father was serving as a military doctor and her mother, as a nurse. She married Kenneth Benton, an English teacher, in Vienna in 1938 at the outbreak of World War II. Kenneth was recruited into MI6; the couple’s epic wartime exploits are recounted in Peggie’s book, Baltic Countdown. Their work during the war included contributions to the Bletchley Park decoding project and intelligence gathering for the “Double Cross” plan, which successfully misled the Germans about the location of the D-Day landings.

After the war, Peggie translated and authored cookbooks. She also completed and published books started by family members, including Peterman and One Man Against the Drylands. Peggie was working on a sequel, Drylands Bear Fruit, just before her death.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781504088695
ISBN-10: 1504088697
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication Date: November 28th, 2023
Pages: 266
Language: English