You may say 'oh, this is a book about rich idle people who got what they deserved'. Or 'why should I care about what happened to a bunch of rich guys whose estates got burnt to the ground?' Well yes, these were rich people. Specifically, these were people from two branches of aristocracy, Sheremetev and Golitsyns -- two very powerful, very rich families. Yet the book is heartbreaking. You may think they got what was coming, but surely these people did not deserve the fate given to them by the Bolsheviks. Most of them were killed or exiled during the extremely chaotic and bloody years of early 20th-century Russia. The ones were who were not killed or exiled during that time were killed or exiled during Stalinist purges. This is a book about systematic eradication of an entire class of people and also of a way of life. It is honestly surprising that we still have the poetry of Pushkin or novels of Tolstoy, since the Communists seemed to be set on destruction of everything that had to do with nobility and what most of us associate with 'Russian culture'.