The inspiration for this work came from the memoirs of Count Paul and Countess Natasha Ignatieff, paternal grandparents whom Michael Ignatieff never knew and whose aristocratic life was destroyed by the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.
Drawing from family photograph albums and manuscripts, as well as the memories of his father and uncles, Ignatieff pieces together his family history. His great-grandfather Nicholas was the ambassador who negotiated the close of the Russo-Turkish war in 1878. His grandfather, Paul, held a cabinet post under Czar Nicholas II. But, under the Red Occupation, the family's home in Petrograd was raided 17 times between October, 1918, and January, 1919, which left even the children without shoes.
"The Russian Album" is a poignant family memoir, a fitting close to Russian life before the "red curtain of the revolution."