Nikolai Tolstoy


Nikolai Tolstoy : biography

23 June 1935 –

In July 1995, the European Court of Human Rights concluded unanimously that the British Government had violated Tolstoy’s rights in respect of Article 10 of the Convention on Human Rights, although this referred strictly to the amount of the damages awarded against him and did not overturn the guilty verdict of his libel action. The Times commented in a leading article:

Tolstoy refused to pay anything in libel damages to Lord Aldington while he was alive, and only until 9 December 2000, two days after his death, did Tolstoy pay £57,000 to Aldington’s estate.

His books

  • The Founding of Evil Hold School, London, 1968, ISBN 0-491-00371-4
  • Night of the Long Knives, New York, 1972, ISBN 0-345-02787-6
  • Victims of Yalta, originally published in London, 1977. Revised edition 1979. ISBN 0-552-11030-2, published in the US as The Secret Betrayal, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1977, ISBN 0-684-15635-0
  • The Half-Mad Lord: Thomas Pitt, 2nd Baron Camelford (1775-1804), London, 1978, ISBN 0-224-01664-4
  • Stalin’s Secret War, London, 1981, ISBN 0-224-01665-2
  • The Tolstoys — 24 Generations of Russian History, 1353-1983 by Nikolai Tolstoy, London, 1983, ISBN 0-241-10979-5
  • The Quest for Merlin, 1985, ISBN 0-241-11356-3
  • The Minister and the Massacres, London, 1986, ISBN 0-09-164010-5
  • The Coming of the King, London, 1988, ISBN 0-593-01312-3
  • Patrick O’Brian — The Making of the Novelist, London 2004, ISBN 0-7126-7025-4 – the first volume of a biography of his stepfather, the novelist: the first volume of a biography of his late stepfather, whose novel Master and Commander was made into a major feature film by 20th Century Fox, starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany.

Patrick O’Brian

  • ‘The Application of International Law to Forced Repatriation from Austria in 1945’, in Stefan Karner, Erich Reiter, and Gerald Schöpfer (ed.), Kalter Krieg: Beiträge zur Ost-West-Konfrontation 1945 bis 1990 (Graz, 2002), ISBN 3-7011-7432-6.
  • ‘The Mysterious Fate of the Cossack Atamans’, in Harald Stadler, Rolf Steininger, and Karl C. Berger (ed.), Die Kosaken im Ersten und Zweiten Weltkrieg (Innsbruck, 2008), ISBN 978-3-7065-4623-2.
  • ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Merlin Legend’, in Arthurian Literature XXV (Cambridge, 2008), ISBN 978-1-84384-171-5.
  • ‘When and where was Armes Prydein Composed?’, Studia Celtica (Cardiff, 2008), xlii, pp. 145–49.
  • ‘Cadell and the Cadelling of Powys’, Studia Celtica (Cardiff, 2012), xlvi, pp. 59–83.
  • The Oldest British Prose Literature: The Compilation of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi (New York, 2009), ISBN 978-0-7734-4710-3. This was awarded the Adele Mellen Prize, and was runner-up for the Wales Book of the Year Prize in 2010.
  • Reprint of Victims of Yalta (New York, 2012), ISBN 978-1-60598-362-2 (with new preface describing the Aldington trial and its aftermath).
  • Tolstoy has contributed chapters to the new History of the Twentieth Century published in Moscow, which is a prescribed text for all Russian high schools.

Literary career

Tolstoy has written a number of books about Celtic mythology. In The Quest for Merlin he has explored the character of Merlin, and his Arthurian novel The Coming of the King builds on his research into ancient British history. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1979.

He has also written about World War II and its immediate aftermath. In 1977 he wrote the Victims of Yalta "Victims of Yalta", by Nikolai Tolstoy, Encounter, June 1980, page 89-92 – Peregrine Worsthorne, in a review, declared that, "More than enough has now emerged about the Russian deportations to stir the national conscience, and the matter cannot be left as it is. If a new war crime on this scale had suddenly come to light in Germany, Britain would be the first to agitate for an inquiry; indeed for much more than that . . . if honour, at this late stage, can never be redeemed, at least dishonour can be squarely faced." which criticised the British forced handover of Soviet citizens to Joseph Stalin in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions.‘The Application of International Law to Forced Repatriation from Austria in 1945’, in Stefan Karner, Erich Reiter, and Gerald Schöpfer (ed.), "Kalter Krieg: Beiträge zur Ost-West-Konfrontation 1945 bis 1990" (Graz, 2002) In 1986 he wrote The Minister and the Massacres which criticised British repatriation of collaborationist troops to Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslav government, it received much critical praise, as well as criticism by Macmillan’s authorised biographer.