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Author of Historical Novel Lenin’s Harem to Speak at the Latvian Museum in Rockville February 3, 2013

January 25, 2013

Author of Historical Novel Lenin’s Harem to Speak at the Latvian Museum in Rockville February 3, 2013

William Burton McCormick to discuss his research on turbulent WWI years in Russian and Latvian History

Rockville, MD, January 7, 2013: The Latvian Museum will present a program and book signing by author William Burton McCormick at the Museum at 400 Hurley Avenue, Rockville on February 3 at 2 P.M. Mr. McCormick’s historical novel, Lenin’s Harem, recounts the role of the Latvian Riflemen in Lenin’s ascent to power. The novel includes a love story and explores issues of class, race, and self identity in the Baltic region in the early 20th century.

Mr. McCormick will recount his three-year research experiences in Latvia and Russia, present a brief history of the Latvian Riflemen, and what he hopes English-speaking readers will learn from the novel. After reading a few passages from the book, he will take questions from the audience.

Lenin’s Harem recounts the turbulent years between 1905 and 1941 in Latvia and Russia, as seen through the eyes of a single soldier in the Latvian Riflemen. The soldier is a German aristocrat, himself an outsider in the all-Latvian battalion. Germans were the landowners of a large part of Latvia since the 1200s. They kept their hold over the Latvian people despite numerous shifts in political power in the region. Then, in 1710, Latvia fell under Tsarist Russian rule.

The Latvian Riflemen were conscripts in the Russian Army but were allowed to organize as a separate battalion. During WWI the Russian army was floundering in the Baltic region. The Latvians provided much needed and skilled manpower but were distrusted because they sought independence from both Tsarist rule and the German landowners. In 1918, when Lenin promised self-determination for Latvia, the Riflemen backed him and became known as Lenin’s Harem.

The novel was issued in hardcover and e-book on December 6, 2012. The paperback edition is due May 8, 2013.

Author of Lenin’s Harem to Speak at Latvian Museum

William Burton McCormick was born in Maryland and raised in Nevada. He graduated from Brown University with degrees in Ancient Studies and Computer Science and earned an MA in Novel Writing from the University of Manchester. He is a published fiction author and a member of the Historical Novel Society, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.


The Latvian Museum was founded in 1978 under the auspices of the American Latvian Association in the United States, Inc. The Museum features exhibits on Latvian history, folk arts, and the immigrant experience in America. On display are costumes, textiles, jewelry, stamps, coins, and decorative arts. The Museum, open by appointment, is located on the lower level of 400 Hurley Avenue in Rockville. From I-270 take Exit 6B northbound or 6A-B southbound, bear left, and turn onto Hurley Avenue. Admission to the program and the Museum is free.

For information on the program: Inta Sraders (703)765-9458 or Anita Terauds (301)384-5452.
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