Cover Image: Into Siberia

Into Siberia

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Member Reviews

Well, naturally I expected an early adventure of George Kennan The Moscow Guy, so was briefly disappointed. But when I got into the story of George Kennan The Siberia Guy (a cousin, as it happens), I was interested again. Amazing how people can get obsessed by a country, especially a country as problematical as Russia. Whether the monster in the Kremlin is a Putin or a Party Secretary or a Tsar, the hardships for the Russian people don't seem to change.

"We may die in exile and our grand children may die in exile," one woman told him, "but something will come of it at last." I'm afraid she was wrong.

Very much worth reading.

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Into Siberia, while a great true story, fails as a book because it takes a phenomenal story and makes it bland and boring and that is the worst thing you can do to a historical story. Overall Gregory Wallance just doesn’t deliver a great story and takes it in a boring area.

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This book was very difficult to read in places and I had to take a couple of breaks. I read it over a period of a couple of weeks with a few days off between readings. This is a nonfiction account of the Siberian exile system in Czarist Russia. It is not pretty. I did not expect it to be. It is a modern account of a late 1800s researcher/journalist who visited Siberia and the prison camps in that region.
It is well written and well researched. It is so well-presented, it is heartbreaking. The author places the reader in the situation and spares no unpleasant detail.
You do not need to be a historian or especially knowledgeable about Russian history to understand and appreciate the content of this book. Index and footnotes included.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Since people are typically familiar with Soviet Gulags, many don't realize that they were built on the 19th century precedent of Tsarist labor camps. George Kennan traveled throughout the Russian east and brought news to America of the practices of Russia. Since the Russians were the only power to really back the US during the Civil War, this was unwelcome news to the American public.

This book reminds me a lot of King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild; stories of men who exposed human rights abuses to an unsuspecting world.

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George Kennan’s journey into the far eastern reaches of imperial Russia in order to investigate its exile system is the kind of story that honestly baffles me upon first hearing about it - namely over the fact that something so fascinating has apparently managed to fall so far out of the historical narrative into obscurity.

I would say that Gregory Wallace has definitely done quite a favor by not only shining a spotlight back onto this event, but by doing so with as rich a context as he could have possibly supplied. “Into Siberia” includes Kennan’s first foray into Russia as part of the attempt to establish a Russian-American telegraph via the Bering Sea, his subsequent journeys through the recently-conquered Caucasus region, brutal detail about the ordeals of Russian exiles learned through his third journey into the country, a surprising amount of information about the indigenous peoples of the Siberian region, and so, so very much more. The book practically bursts with abundant information that for me was all quite new, and which I was very, very happy to absorb in turn through that lens of Wallace’s thrilling narrative.

For anyone who enjoys curling up with an excellent history book, I can quite confidently say that “Into Siberia” is definitely one for your to-read itinerary.

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I really enjoyed reading this, it does a great job in telling the history of this journey. Gregory Wallance does a great job in telling the story in the and have the historical elements going on. It does what I was hoping for in a nonfiction book and it worked overall. I'm glad I got to learn about this event and I thought it was well-written.

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