The Philosophy Steamer, by Lesley Chamberlain, Atlantic Books, €36.50.
In September 1922, a group of families gathered on the dock of Vasilievsky Ostrov in north-west Petrograd.
While the adults dealt with the political police and customs men trying to confiscate or tax anything they could, a policeman casually ruffled the curls of any young girls present to search for hidden jewels.
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