A remarkable autobiography has much of the power of a novel and its first person narrator is the daughter of Russian aristocrats- so that its early pages describe an ornate life of servants, champagne, a relative's christening with the Emperor as godfather. Then war-- then strikes and riots. Later she and her younger sister and three servants are sent for safety to their paternal grandfather's huge country estate and here the real story begins. The estate, a self-sufficient world, managed with mutual respect and hard work by the old lady and her peasants, is taken over by revolutionaries. Slowly family and peasants alike become tenants of a ghost world. French lessons give way to cold and hunger; the indomitable grandmother dies; the father returns and remarries; and finally the remains of the family, altered by years of hardship, is displaced in fact also. It is a terrible, matter of fact, vivid story of survival- full of unforgettable scenes and extraordinary descriptions of human reactions to an utterly demolished way of life.