Mitya's Harbin: Majesty and Menace is a memoir about the lives of Dimitry ("Mitya") Zissermann and his family while they lived in or near Harbin, China (Manchuria) during the 1940s and 1950s. It includes 29 photographs; a 47-page chronology of historical events relating to activities of the Chinese, the Japanese, the Russians, and others in the region; extensive source information; a bibliography of 178 items; and an index. The book has been included in the Hoover Institution's Eurasian Collection and it was chosen by the Independent Book Publishers Association for a Public Library Market E-Blast and for a College Library E-Blast, both in 2017. Written with the help of many people, it tells the story of the last years of this White Russian family inside China before they, along with many other foreigners, had to leave that country as Sino-Soviet relations deteriorated.
Imperial Russia's transformation of an early Manchurian settlement into the industrial city of Harbin is described, including how and why its industrial heart, the valuable Chinese Eastern Railway, was built. Throughout the ensuing years, the Russians in Harbin and Manchuria survived, and some even thrived, during migrations, occupations, revolutions, and wars. But the days of the Russians in Harbin and all of China ultimately were numbered. China would become a Communist country with its own destiny and its own disagreements with the Soviet Union. Harbin's Russians and other "foreigners" soon found themselves caught up in the effects of China's increasing nationalism. Why they eventually had to leave the city and all of China you, the reader, will find out.