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John Elverson On The Untold Stories of Boris Heroys: From A Military Man To An Artist


The civilization that humanity is relishing at present, evolved from the legacy of brave and enterprising ancestors who strived to take hold of events, leading their world  towards shaping a better future. In John Elverson’s book entitled “To Serve the Russian Empire: The Autobiography of Boris Héroys,” readers are presented with an intriguing self-portrait of a man, a soldier, an educator and an artist, who fought through two wars, chasing towards his dreams.

Boris Héroys’ journey, told for the first time, is of a fascinating journey through life —his steady and decisive leadership is seen during the chaos of war, his passion is seen in every action and venture that he partakes in. His family, despite their lack of wealth in a polarised society had, through service to the empire, gained a privileged position in Tsarist Russia. He attended two prestigious boarding schools in St. Petersburg, and was selected as a chamber page to Princess Alix (Alexandra Feodorovna) at her wedding to Tsar Nicholas II. He was commissioned into the elite Egersky Lifeguards Regiment— where he paints a vivid picture of regimental life. In the year 1904, at the young age of 28, he graduated from the Military Academy as a General Staff officer, with the General Leontiev Prize for his thesis on strategy. On his graduation he was selected as a junior staff officer in the Japanese war, following Russian’s defeat he was posted to a divisional HQ in Kiev, before joining the St Petersburg General Staff and obtaining a teaching position at the Military Academy where he wrote his thesis on ‘the role of manoeuvre in a decisive battle’ and gained his professoriate. He describes his career from the onset of the First World War, with Russia’s fortunes from the successful Galician campaign through the disastrous retreat in the face of the better armed German army and the eventual stalemate following the Bolshevik Revolution, are all woven into an unvarnished tale through this riveting book.

Following Boris’ escape to the West, he and his wife separated and he became a successful artist and educator at the Chelsea School of Art in London. It was here that he met author, John Elverson’s mother’s aunt Dorothy Barkworth, who was studying there. They, later on, became partners—his self-portrait was kept by Dorothy even during her last days. Compiling Boris’ memoirs with help from Dorothy’s records and those of Boris’ grandsons, Claude and Alexander, this book retells Russian history from the perspective of a soldier and an artist.

Narrated along with drawings and photographs, providing a raw insight from a powerful epic biography, this enthralling narrative seeks to inspire and awaken one’s courage, devotion to country, daring one to live ones most fascinating dreams.

‘To Serve the Russian Empire: The Autobiography of Boris Héroys’ book copies are available at
Writer: John Elverson
Publisher: AuthorHouseUK
Publication Date: February 7, 2018
ISBN-10: 1546284605
ISBN-13: 978-1546284604
Kindle: $4.49
Paperback: $69.19
About the Author
John Elverson was born in Kenya, the son of a British Army officer. Following his father’s retirement to a small East Devon farm, he was educated at Cheltenham College and Reading University. He spent a year in Botswana’s Kalahari Desert working on a 460 square mile cattle ranch. He later worked for a London software company before co-founding a software business. In 1997 he joined GE Caledonian, the Scottish arm of GE Aircraft Engines. Now retired he lives in Scotland’s Galloway Hills.

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 Enterprising Ancestors
 Decisive Leadership
 Polarised Society
 Epic Biography
 Devotion To Country

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