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