Into Siberia: George Kennan's Epic Journey Through the Brutal, Frozen Heart of Russia (Hardcover)

Into Siberia: George Kennan's Epic Journey Through the Brutal, Frozen Heart of Russia By Gregory J. Wallance Cover Image

Into Siberia: George Kennan's Epic Journey Through the Brutal, Frozen Heart of Russia (Hardcover)

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"In Wallance’s bracing narrative, Kennan emerges as a cheerful, deeply decent companion, an uncompromising observer whose greatest strength was his ability to change his mind. He’s a welcome change from the callous imperialists who people most Victorian travelogues, and his humanity allows Into Siberia to delve into horror without succumbing to despair." — The New York Times Book Review

In a book that ranks with the greatest adventure stories, Gregory Wallance’s Into Siberia is a thrilling work of history about one man’s harrowing journey and the light it shone on some of history’s most heinous human rights abuses.


In the late nineteenth century, close diplomatic relations existed between the United States and Russia. All that changed when George Kennan went to Siberia in 1885 to investigate the exile system and his eyes were opened to the brutality Russia was wielding to suppress dissent.

Over ten months Kennan traveled eight thousand miles, mostly in horse-drawn carriages, sleighs or on horseback. He endured suffocating sandstorms in the summer and blizzards in the winter. His interviews with convicts and political exiles revealed how Russia ran on the fuel of inflicted pain and fear. Prisoners in the mines were chained day and night to their wheelbarrows as punishment. Babies in exile parties froze to death in their mothers’ arms. Kennan came to call the exiles’ experience in Siberia a “perfect hell of misery.”

After returning to the United States, Kennan set out to generate public outrage over the plight of the exiles, writing the renowned Siberia and the Exile System. He then went on a nine-year lecture tour to describe the suffering of the Siberian exiles, intensifying the newly emerging diplomatic conflicts between the two countries which last to this day.

GREGORY WALLANCE is a lawyer and writer in New York City. He is the author of Papa's Game, about the theft of the French Connection heroin, which received a nonfiction nomination for an Edgar Allan Poe Award; America's Soul in the Balance, The Woman Who Fought an Empire, and the historical novel Two Men Before the Storm. He has written op eds for The New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal, has appeared as a commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and The Today Show, and is currently a Contributor for The Hill.
Product Details ISBN: 9781250280053
ISBN-10: 1250280052
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: December 5th, 2023
Pages: 304
Language: English

"In Wallance’s bracing narrative, Kennan emerges as a cheerful, deeply decent companion, an uncompromising observer whose greatest strength was his ability to change his mind. He’s a welcome change from the callous imperialists who people most Victorian travelogues, and his humanity allows Into Siberia to delve into horror without succumbing to despair." — The New York Times Book Review

“[A] riveting biography … Resurfacing a mostly forgotten episode of Russian-American relations, this thrillingly narrated adventure enthralls.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A page-turning history of a harrowing investigation that upended Russian–American relations." — Kirkus

“Wallance’s recounting of Kennan’s journeys reads like a classic adventure odyssey, a man vs. nature epic, as well as an exposé of a horrendously brutal political system. It is history at its most compelling.” — Booklist

"As a descendant of exiles in Siberia, I am appreciative of George Kennan and his exploration into Russian brutality grippingly chronicled here by Gregory Wallance in Into Siberia. Wallance makes a heavy topic interesting and necessary to understand just as Mr. Kennan did before him. It’s a timely read for understanding what the democratic world is up against. " —Jessie Asya Kanzer, author of Unlocking Your Inner Zelensky