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Just imagine if someone came up to you and told you that you and your family were to be deported to Bangladesh in a week’s time to start a new life, and that all you could take with you was one suitcase and one hundred dollars.

“Yes, we know you can’t speak Bengali, but you’ll pick it up.”

And then, after a couple of decades of hard work building up your life there, you would be told to do the same again by moving to Lower Slobovia or somewhere similar.

“Yes, we know you can’t speak Lower Slobovian, but ...”

Hard to imagine, isn’t it? But that’s exactly what happened to the Tarasovs and to millions of other refugees from last century’s wars.


The Tarasov Saga: From Russia through China to Australia

is the


 of a close-knit family during a tumultuous era


Tarasov, a colonel in the ‘White’ Russian army, his wife Aida and their five children suffered the traumas of the Revolution and the Civil War which followed it. The story details Aida’s search for her husband across the vast expanse of Siberia, her separation from her five children during the turmoil, and the unbelievable events which led to the family’s eventual escape into China in 1922.

          A new life began in the bustling city of Harbin, the “Moscow of the Orient”. Years of hard work and deprivation brought them some semblance of a good life, only to have it shattered by the arrival of the Japanese aggressors in 1937. The War years followed, and then a few years of relative peace before the arrival of the Chinese ‘Reds’. The consequent mass exodus of the ‘White’ Russians from China in 1949 to a Displaced Persons’ Camp on the uninhabited Philippine island of Tubabao is chronicled with startling detail. The final leg of this epic journey brings the whole family to Australia.

          The story gives a vivid description of life in the Russified city of Harbin, the Foreign Concessions of Tientsin and Shanghai, and the exclusive resort of Peitaiho Beach. It also covers the early years of the family’s experiences in Australia during the era of the ‘New Australian’. Richly illustrated with 150 photographs and maps, it also contains interesting, little known historical details about Russia and China.

          The author writes:

          “The tough life, the deprivations - these are what made our parents and grandparents courageous and resilient. They had to fight for everything. They learned not to wilt under pressure, nor to take anything for granted. They treated hardship as just a normal phase of life, a stepping-stone to a brighter future. And they were grateful for the good times when they came.”



The book is 280 pages long, 225 x 150 mm, high quality paper, with 150 photographs and illustrations interspersed through the text. It also has a comprehensive Index.

The Price is A$35 (Australian $)

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This is a selection from the 150 historic photos and illustrations contained in the book

Just click on an image to see an enlarged version of it.

After viewing it, click on BACK in your Internet window

          1                    2                    3                     4                    5                   6




1. Aida, Kazan, 1917   2. Capture of Kazan by the Red Army, 1918

3. Colonel Tarasov, Vladivostok, 1921  4. Danilov's Opera Theatre, Harbin, 1905

5. Russian shops, Harbin, 1930's  6. Churin's Department Store, Harbin, 1930's

             7                         8                         9                         10                       11                      12



7. Gordon Hall, British Concession, Tientsin, 1930  8. Kiesslings, German Concession, Tientsin, 1930's

9. St Louis College, French Concession, Tientsin, 1940  10. The Flood of 1939, Tientsin

11. On the top of Lotus Hills, Peitaiho Beach, 1938  12. Russian Refugee camp, Genzan, Korea, 1923

           13                        14                       15                       16                        17                        18




13. The Bund, Shanghai, 1935  14. Cathay, Avenue Joffre, French Concession, Shanghai, 1930's

15. Bridal procession, Shanghai, 1930's  16. Soviet & German Consulates, Shanghai, 1930's

17. A Camp kitchen, Tubabao, Philippines, 1949  18. Camp scene, Tubabao, 1949

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The Australian Bookseller and Publisher selected the book as one of


Here are some extracts:

Saga is the right word to describe this extraordinary tale of a Russian family’s changing fortunes throughout the 20th century … the book is crammed with details of life in pre-Soviet Russia; in the extra-territorial Western communities within Chinese cities; on the Displaced Persons' Camp on the Philippine island of Tubabao ; and in post-war Australia … The prose is simple and direct; the material riveting.  

The North Shore Times called it " . . . powerful . . ."

The Sydney Weekly Courier called it " . . . a remarkable story . . ."

Mario Machado, 6PM show, US Cable Radio Network called it

" ... a compelling read ... movie-bound ..."  rated it FOUR & a HALF STARS








**** STOP PRESS ****

The Russian edition of the book has been published in Russia under the title


Семейная Сага Тарасовых

The Publisher is Liki Rossii (Лики России).

Details of the book and how to get it can be viewed by clicking on



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The Author, Gary Nash (born Igor Ivashkoff) is the grandson of Colonel Tarasov. Born in Tientsin, China, he lived there for 17 years before migrating with his family to Australia in 1949.

The story is based on the vivid recollections of the Tarasov siblings and his own memories. After retiring from IBM, Gary involved himself in music and formed the Trio Slav, a classical Piano Trio. Gary is the pianist.

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Where do I get it?


The book was published in July 2002. It should be available in all good bookstores.

If it is not in stock, ask them to order it or call (02)-9958-3089 for the location of the nearest outlet.

If you would like to obtain an autographed copy from the author, call (02)-9958-3089.


The book is available through and through

Unfortunately, there is no current distributor in the USA, so the copies available there are through resellers. However there is a distributor for Europe, supplying bookshops and the UK Amazon website.

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To contact the author:

In Australia, phone 02-9958-3089

From other countries, phone 61-2-9958-3089


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