Have the Mountains Fallen?

Have the Mountains Fallen?

Two Journeys of Loss and Redemption in the Cold War
Jeffrey Lilley
Distribution: World
Publication date: 01/23/2018
Format: Paperback 23 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-03244-7
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After surviving the blitzkrieg of World War II and escaping from two Nazi prison camps, Soviet soldier Azamat Altay was banished as a traitor from his native home land. Chinghiz Aitmatov became a hero of Kyrgyzstan, writing novels about the lives of everyday Soviet citizens but mourning a mystery that might never be solved. While both came from small villages in the beautiful mountainous countryside, they found themselves caught on opposite sides of the Cold War struggle between world superpowers. Altay became the voice of democracy on Radio Liberty, while Aitmatov rose through the ranks of Soviet politics. Yet just as they seemed to be pulled apart in the political turmoil, they found their lives intersecting in moving and surprising ways. Have the Mountains Fallen? traces the lives of these two men as they confronted the full threat and legacy of the Soviet empire. Through personal and intersecting narratives of loss, love, and longing for a homeland forever changed, a clearer picture emerges of the experience of the Cold War from the other side.

Author Bio

After witnessing the collapse of the Soviet Union as a journalist in the 1990s, Jeffrey B. Lilley moved to Central Asia in 2004. During a three-year posting in Kyrgyzstan, he read the works of Chinghiz Aitmatov, slept in yurts, drank fermented mare’s milk, and hiked in the country’s beautiful mountains. Over the next ten years, he worked in the field of democracy and governance support in Washington, DC, and the Middle East, returning to Kyrgyzstan in 2016 to lead a British-funded parliamentary support program. Lilley is author (with James R. Lilley) of China Hands: Nine Decades of Adventure, Espionage and Diplomacy.


“Jeffrey B. Lilley brilliantly describes how individual freedom and justice have come to the citizens of Kyrgyzstan through the inspiring efforts of author Chingiz Aitmatov and broadcaster Azamat Altay. Have the Mountains Fallen? is a Cold War story that gives hope.”
 — Richard G. Lugar, United States Senator (Ret.)

“It is impossible to understand today, and impossible to understand Kyrgyzstan without reading this book. This is an insightful story of the terrible challenges that faced two courageous men and their dedication to preserving their nation, even 'when the mountains fall.' It is a thought-provoking book about the long journey of the Kyrgyz people to independence.”
 — Roza Otunbayeva, President of the Kyrgyz Republic (2010–2011)

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Table of Contents

Note on Transliteration and Translation
List of Names

Part I
1. Flight
2. Seeds of Rebellion
3. Have the Mountains Fallen?
4. The Burdens of War

Part II
5. Chinese with a Dog
6. Recovering Dignity
7. The Sting of Rejection
8. Balancing Acts

Part III
9. American Rendezvous
10. Standing up to Injustice
11. Waves of Change
12. An Expiring Ideology

Part IV
13. The Wheels of Truth
14. New Beginnings
15. Times of Tumult
16. Holy Ground