Read The Siberians by Farley Mowat Online


Farley Mowat's most dramatic expedition takes him deep into the little-known regions of Soviet Siberia from the weather-battered log houses of old Russia, to primitive deerskin tents pitched on the edge of the polar sea, and to Yaksutsk, one of the coldest places on earth, where on still winter days the warmth of human breath causes fogs to condense over the towns. The SibFarley Mowat's most dramatic expedition takes him deep into the little-known regions of Soviet Siberia from the weather-battered log houses of old Russia, to primitive deerskin tents pitched on the edge of the polar sea, and to Yaksutsk, one of the coldest places on earth, where on still winter days the warmth of human breath causes fogs to condense over the towns. The Siberians --- reindeers, and vigorous women-welcome Mowat with mare's milk and vodka, black bread and caviar, outrageous good humor, and a fierce love for their isolated --- yet booming territory. An forgettable adventure in the other half of the Arctic....

Title : The Siberians
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780553248968
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Siberians Reviews

  • Beth
    2018-12-11 09:24

    If you are wondering what Siberia was like in the late 1960's, then this is the book for you. Farley Mowat travels the arctic, meeting the locals and drinking lots of vodka and champagne. Young Russians and native peoples of Siberia are building new cities and new industries together, maintaining everyone's cultural heritage, and all of it environmentally friendly. The people he talks to describe the USSR as paradise and continually ask why the West isn't doing better. While I agree with some of the criticisms of the West, I'm also not convinced that the Soviets were so terrific.

  • Liz
    2018-11-21 06:11

    In 1966 and again in 1969 Canadian writer Farley Mowat spent weeks traveling across Siberia with a translator and his wife. The visits were informed by his extensive study of the Alaskan and Canadian North, their people and wildlife; his goal was a comprehensive understanding of the Arctic North and human impact, particularly its “Small Peoples” (his term) or indigenous people. (I think by Small People he means small in population numbers, although he never explains the term.)Mowat is captivated by Siberian hospitality and the fact that its former history as a gulag was erased by Russian determination to “settle” the most forbidding territory in the world. Over and over again he is told that the Russian Way is not to exploit the land, but to build communities there to integrate the territory into the nation. His gullibility is charming—he accepts everyone at face value, which probably opened many more doors than skepticism—but it’s more informative to read this book with Ian Frazier’s more contemporary ‘Travels in Siberia.’One of the most interesting topics the book takes on is the challenge of building on permafrost. Here’s how that worked out:

  • Art
    2018-12-11 12:06

    Interesting look at the Thaw that was coming to the Soviet States in the 1970's.Look at Writers of the period.The People of Siberia.Environmental Concerns of the unspoiled, untouched area of Siberia and the Soviet Man/Woman and the upcoming youth who wanted to keep things unblemished and unspoiled from the Party.Would like to revisit this book w/National Geographic Articles on the area discussed here in the book.

  • Fletcher
    2018-12-11 06:27

    rating books is hard. i really liked "The Siberians", but it suffered from a disjointed-ness due to the nature of the work (a write-up of two trips taken over a period of five years). reads better as a collection of essays about siberia, hence the original title: Sibir.

  • Michelle
    2018-12-09 10:19

    12/10 fascinating descriptions of Siberian life and people in the 1960s 6/10 political analysis-10/10 sexisms

  • Armand
    2018-11-27 04:13

    This travelogue from the 60's would have made a good blog. The chapters, while generally engaging, are a bit repetitious with Mowat visiting a region, giving a brief review of the local color and history, and then describing the great and happy people that he meets along the way.A number of other reviewers have stated that the author seems to be wearing rose-tinted glasses as he meets the people of Siberia, and I tend to agree. Either Mowat is a bit naive or he has an agenda, and I think it's a bit of both. His writing suggests that he is an early environmentalist and a bit of a political radical, as many people were in the late 60's. Anyway, as he is carefully chaperoned across Russia, he spends time with people of the upper middle class (in as much as that country can have such a class), that is to say successful busines managers and intellectuals. No wonder everyone he meets seems happy and contented. I have a feeling that those who were miserable with their lives were carefully screened from his view.Despite his tendency to romanticize the Soviet Union and the people he meets in Siberia, the book is a worthy examination of the geography of Siberia and also reminds of some important and helpful big ideas like how we should respect nature and treat minorities well.Overall, I enjoyed The Siberians although, honestly, it could have been a bit shorter.As a final note, if you want a more balanced and realistic view of life in the Soviet Union, check out David Shipler's "Russia: Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams" which was published about a decade after The Siberians.

  • Larry
    2018-11-30 06:17

    This is a nonfiction account of two visits to Siberia by the Canadian author Farley Mowat in 1966 and 1969.I have mixed feelings about this book. It is a pretty interesting read, but I feel likethe author was duped by the Soviets. Here's a quick quote:"Would Tchersky prove to be the site of one of those dread "work camps" which, according to the writings of so many expatriate Russians and home-bred Russophobes cover Siberia like a shroud of hopelessness?"Yeah, big joke. I can't help feeling like he is making light of the crimes of a regime that caused tremendous death and suffering.There's a lot of glowing prose here about the enlightened way the Soviets are treating their Siberian minorities and how as a result the whole area is booming. The Gulag is acknowledged but as something that mostly ended with the death of Stalin, 20 years in the past.As I read this I wanted to be part of the grand adventure, but at the same time I couldn't help wondering how much of what I was reading was real. Mowat passes along some information about the opening up of navigation of the Arctic sea for example that he didn't see with his own eyes. Did that happen?Overall this was just sort of an uneasy read for me with such a contrast between Mowat's upbeat story and the grim accounts I have read by other authors about the prisons and camps in the Soviet Union, even in Siberia during this era. Is there some truth to the picture painted by this book, or was Mowat shown a Potemkin village?

  • A
    2018-11-25 10:01

    Any one who doesn't like this book is obviously not interested in remote hydroelectroic projects, kimberlite deposits or gold. The other reviews on goodreads correctly point out that the book is, on the face of it, a somewhat blase travel log, most notable for ubiquitous liquor. It should be kept in mind that Mowat was the first Westerner to visit most of these places since the Russian Revolution and his somewhat pat descriptions of economic development were (to his contemporaries) mind-boggling facts with no comparison in the North American Arctic (which is where Mowat first gained notoriety for his first book, People of the Deer, the critical and controversial bent of which no doubt ingratiated him with Soviet Officialdom). More than any impression, this book leaves me wondering what fate had in store for the 100,000s of European immigrants to Soviet Siberia; whether the diverse economies that the Communist state intentionally developed still linger to any meaningful extent (fur farming, reindeer farming, specialized arctic crops, summer shipping, extremely remote logging, and tourism fostered around, hydroelectric projects, gold, diamond, oil and other extractive industries).

  • Sarah
    2018-11-29 09:59

    First read this in about 1983 and (at the age of 13) found it heavy going - but actually it's a very digestible, rather rosy-specked look at life, and economics, in Siberia in 1966-69 - where most people, native or imported from western Russia, were apparently very gung-ho about the opportunities (for freedom in industry, as much as anything) that Sibera offered. It really requires an update - which I would love to undertake, if anyone would like to send me there - on what has happened to the new cities, the ecology of Baikal, the native populations.In particular Farley gets very involved in how much better the Yakut, Evenk and others are treated by both the regional and national governments, in comparison with the undeniably dire way Canada was treating its 'small peoples'. He didn't make himself very popular - but he's a treasure really, even just for the idea of him freezing his яйца off in a kilt in Irkutsk. A good thing to follow Red Plenty with, incidentally.

  • Kathy Halsan
    2018-12-10 05:25

    It is Spring Break, the sun is out and I am in a reading frenzy and the topic is Siberia. Farley Mowat's book was published in 1970 about his visits with Siberian peoples in the 1960's. This book is more about the people while Frazier's book focuses on the environment and scenery. They do not always share the same view. While the natives are proud of their education and connection with the environment as they build new industries and economies in the sixties, the cities of the nineties are dirty and polluted and often partially abandoned. I can only guess at what happened, but the fall of communism probably has to be connected. Again, I had my Russian map and computer handy as I read this book and looked at images of the people of Siberia.

  • Toby
    2018-12-10 07:02

    Farley Mowat writes about Siberia in the 1960s and captures a fascinating point in history. Due to the popularity of his novels in Russia, and his love for the North of Canada, he was allowed unequaled access to Siberia during a period of booming growth. He begrudginly writes about the statistics of industrialization in the region, but his real focus is on the 'Small Peoples' of Siberia. A conservationist tale somewhat before its time, this is a wonderful and beautiful way to become familiar with the natural wealth and peoples of Siberia. He tells a lot of fun stories about travels, drinking and funny characters, so it doesn't come across at all dry.I recommend it!

  • Ann
    2018-12-01 09:04

    I found Mowat's account of his travels into Siberia during the 1960s quite fascinating -- especially in an American/Vietnam/LBJ perspective. Mowat with his free, easy, and so honest style brings much of the place and people alive from their own, rather than an official, perspective. The book is primarily a personal experience of culture and place in relation to his native Canada. The overall attitude of the people as they aspire and solve problems peculiar to the taiga and tundra is inspiring. Mowat provides some geography/geology. I wonder where all these developments are now with the break-up of the USSR. The book inspires me to learn more about this part of the world and the people.

  • Belmanoir
    2018-12-07 10:13

    Sadly this was due back at the library before I could finish it. It wasn't really all that informative, but it was entertaining and Farley Mowat is kind of insane. He tried to wear a kilt in Siberia but had to stop because he almost froze his balls off. One of my favorite bits was about his book, "Never Cry Wolf," being translated into Russian. They didn't get the reference in the title so they translated it as "Wolves! Please Don't Cry!"

  • Katherine Long
    2018-12-12 04:00

    This book was mostly interesting as a preparation for Ian Frazier's Siberian book, and the 2 together provide part of the historical arc of the USSR in Siberia. Mowat was apparently beloved to the Russians and they had him visit where they basically gave several company tours of industrial sites in Siberia. He claims that American beef ranchers blocked the development of reindeer meat (a supposedly lower energy source of meat)- reindeer meat anybody?

  • Angela Maher
    2018-12-03 05:04

    Although it bogs down a bit in places this book provides a detailed snapshot of life in Siberia in the 1960s. I can't help but wonder what effect global warming has had on these communities, or that of the disbanding of the USSR.

  • Lauretta
    2018-11-18 05:02

    good but very dated

  • Brigette
    2018-12-02 08:12

    Canadian naturalist travels as official guest throughout Soviet era Siberia, drinks lots of vodka, meets really great people, and discusses all things boreal. A really fun, though dated, book.

  • Matthew Holmes
    2018-11-13 11:15

    Every American should have to read this book in high school. The Cold War was lies, lies, and more lies. Mowat digs deep and presents much truth.

  • Paul Clipper
    2018-11-24 07:05

    Paints a picture of Siberia that is way different from what we've been taught,

  • Curtis
    2018-12-02 08:07

    They put away alot of vodka in Siberia. And they build dams with permafrost.

  • Jeff
    2018-12-02 10:27

    A cultural adventure... you drink vodka, chase caribou, and freeze to death with these brusk hardy Siberians