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In Siberia (1999)

by Colin Thubron

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7221323,243 (3.93)38
This is the account of Thubron's 15,000-mile journey through an astonishing country - one twelfth of the land surface of the whole earth. He journeyed by train, river and truck among the people most damaged by the breakup of the Soviet Union, traveling among Buddhists and animists, radical Christian sects, reactionary Communists and the remnants of a so-call Jewish state; from the site of the last Czar's murder and Rasputin's village, to the ice-bound graves of ancient Sythians, to Baikal, deepest and oldest of the world's lakes. This is the story of a people moving through the ruins of Communism into more private, diverse and often stranger worlds.… (more)
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» See also 38 mentions

English (11)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
There's no doubt about it Mr Thurbron is a good travel writer. He does the research, he takes a real interest in the places he goes, he puts in the hard yards when finding people to talk to other than the usual taxi drivers and waiters. He knows what to put in and more importantly what to leave out. We don't need to the detail of every bump in the road that some writers give us. And on top of that he knows how to describe things; people, landscapes, situations. For this book he has the real advantage that he speaks Russian. He can travel alone and reach places that would be difficult without help and local contacts and knowledge. So this is, as to be expected, an excellent book. But there is a flaw. One into which many non native writers about Russia fall. There is a fascination tending towards obsession with the Soviet period. A period of political and economic curiosity during which access to the country was limited and controlled. His travels for this book took place not long after the Soviet Union crumbled apart. In that respect a journey to inspect the still warm cadaver of the communist state is not unexpected. But it means historical perspective is lost. In search of echoes of the USSR authors, including Mr Thubron, neglect to look for the longer threads in Russian history and culture. Mr Thubron does better than most. Especially in his meetings with various native people's of Siberia who's culture was eroded not only by the peculiarities of the Soviet system but also by global changes in accessibility, travel, economic opportunity, education and lately climate. He finds fascinating corners of history such as the remote Anglican missionary post on the Russian/Chinese border which in over thirty years failed to convert a single soul. A good book. I would expect nothing less from the author. ( )
  Steve38 | Dec 9, 2020 |
Though 'In Siberia' is about twenty years old, it is still essential reading for anyone with an interest in Russia and the country's affairs. At once a triumph of travel writing and an insightful piece of nonfiction, 'In Siberia' is a true classic - incredibly well-written, and with a sympathetic heart at its core it reveals much about the character of those living so far from Moscow, yet forever in its shadow. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Apr 2, 2019 |
I have never read a travel book from an author who interviews the craziest, angriest person he can find and then reproduces their ranting verbatim as a repeated feature of his book. Is he trying to illustrate the aftermath of all the mind twisting pain left by Stalin and the terror of Gulag system? I’m not sure at all. It isn’t very pleasant reading. I wish he had included an account of meeting someone more placid and content just for balance.

The physical descriptions of traveling through Siberia made this book worthwhile for me. I will never get to travel there myself, but I’ve read so much about it I am probably more knowledgeable than your average American citizen. There’s way too many of us who don’t like to read and can’t comprehend geography, and that makes me sad.
  KaterinaBead | Feb 25, 2019 |
Thurbon's travels on the Trans-Siberian Railway.
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
What a wonderful book. The descriptions of the place, its history, its people and its awful dark side are very powerful. There are passages of great beauty and insight. ( )
  rosiezbanks | Jul 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Colin Thubronprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cohen, MarcCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The ice-fields are crossed for ever by a man in chains.
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This is the account of Thubron's 15,000-mile journey through an astonishing country - one twelfth of the land surface of the whole earth. He journeyed by train, river and truck among the people most damaged by the breakup of the Soviet Union, traveling among Buddhists and animists, radical Christian sects, reactionary Communists and the remnants of a so-call Jewish state; from the site of the last Czar's murder and Rasputin's village, to the ice-bound graves of ancient Sythians, to Baikal, deepest and oldest of the world's lakes. This is the story of a people moving through the ruins of Communism into more private, diverse and often stranger worlds.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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