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White Fever: A Journey to the Frozen Heart of Siberia

White Fever: A Journey to the Frozen Heart of Siberia [Kindle Edition]

Jacek Hugo-Bader , Antonia Lloyd-Jones
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'A funny, enlightening and thoroughly engaging piece of reportage ... Hugo-Bader offers a riveting tour of this benighted land' --Financial Times

`An extraordinary, compassionate piece of reportage' --Metro

'A compelling portrait of a society in moral and social breakdown' --Guardian

`An inspiring account of an odyssey into the frozen heart of a dying continent, sparkling with vignettes of human endurance' --The Times

'This gently devastating account of an odyssey across the ruined lands of Siberia is a gem. Must read' --Sunday Times

'Hugo-Bader is an excellent and intrepid reporter' --Spectator

Product Description

This is the story of a journey like no other, as Jacek Hugo-Bader makes his way across Siberia, from Moscow to Vladivostok, in the middle of winter. Travelling alone in a modified Russian jeep, he traverses a continent that is two-and-a-half times bigger than America, awash with bandits and not always fully equipped with roads. Along the way, Hugo-Bader discovers a great deal of tragedy, but also plenty of dark humour among the reindeer shepherds, nomadic tribes, the former hippies, the shamans, and the followers of some of the many arcane religions that flourish in this isolated, impossible region.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1324 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books (7 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #142,822 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Did you know that within Russia there exists a small republic of Transnistria (it is unrecognised by other countries) whose main product is an exquisite and expensive cognac? Did you know that Lake Baykal (which is bigger than some seas) has a shore with dead bodies of sailors frozen to its rocks? Did you know that vodka can have hallucinogenic effects?

In Jacek Hugo-Bader's book you will find this and many other incredible but factual stories about different parts of the vast Russian country and its people. That's why I find the under-title misleading - the book is about so much more than just how to survive the Siberian cold.

The author meets various people on his way across Russia, he drinks with the bums, talks with prostitutes and hears confessions of dead miners' wives and HIV carriers. He tells a first-hand experience of life in Russia. This is a Michael Palin type of story. If you are interested in how other people live, how they cope and what they think - in this case the different ethnicities and social groups in Russia - it is a must-read for you.

The book is absolutely terrific, I read it in Polish and am so happy it has been translated - I am buying the English version for a friend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE REAL RUSSIA ?? 7 Sep 2011
If you are expecting a detailed travel log about a jeep journey across Russia-forget it. The authors geographical encounters in the book are extremely brief. However, the author has very cleverly inserted his people experiences across this vast country........but interaction mainly with people and communities that are struggling with life and all the challenges they face. Russia is a giant of a country, successfully competing in global industry and commerce. Lets not forget, there are a lot of rich Russians these days. The author has not gone that way, he is out in the sticks with the locals in the 'Real Russia'. I work in Russia now and there is so much I can relate to and have seen, that is in this book. A great read, well written with a lot of surprises. Welldone!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Under the Skin of Siberia 16 Aug 2011
I think that this is the best book I have read about modern Russia. Hugo-Bader manages to get under the skin of Siberia in this incredibly well researched, dramatic, funny and tragic travelogue. He takes us along with him through shamanic rituals in Siberian hospitals, into Evenki villages plagued by vodka (leading to the 'White Fever' of the title) and face to face with the dreadful administration of an orphanage in Ayaguz. We meet HIV sufferers, ageing hippies and Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the automatic rifle. The book takes in a huge amount of material and Hugo-Bader manages to examine all of it with profundity and sensitivity.

Ineresting comparisons might be made with Daniel Kalder's book 'Strange Telescopes', which covers some similar areas (both authors enter the world of Vissarion, a former traffic cop who now proclaims himself Christ to his many followers). Enjoyable as Kalder's book is, Hugo-Baden's account is simply more impressive.

Hugo-Baden writes with a sense of humour and, unusually for a non-fiction author, incorporates wonderful moments of metatextuality. He has a real ear for the idiolects of the different people he meets on his journey and their speech is rendered wonderfully in the book. He avoids grandiose, poetic descriptions of the icy taiga, preferring to focus on the people living there. This approach truly allows him to show us what is really going on in this country.

I would agree with all of the comments in the previous excellent review, with the exception of the comparison to Michael Palin. This writer seems able to explore niches and corners far darker, more obscure and more interesting than Palin.

Some parts of this book are incredibly difficult to read because they are so filled with sadness. I would, however, recommend any reader with even the vaguest of interests in this country to pick up a copy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars White heat.....Brilliant read 1 Sep 2012
By Lyndylu
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was gripping from the very start. As well as giving the armchair traveller a not so comfortable ride through frozen Siberia along with hints on survival,it provides a fascinating and startling look at modern day Russia after the fall of communism. The reader is given the facts on survival for various ethnic and minority groups without judgement , leaving the reader to reach their own conclusions. A must read for any with an interest in how other countries function. Especially for the brave armchair traveller!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a travel book, more a snapshot of society 28 May 2012
An odd sort of travel book really. Details of the traveling we only in the last chapter of the book.

What this book really is about is the people of Russia and Siberia. He writes about the places and people that he meets, and highlights the just how desperate and poor the people are in the post Soviet era.

I didn't realise just how big a problem they have with Aids now, let alone what is going to happen in the future.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Snapshots from Russia 11 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A quirky series of journalistic essays and interviews rather than a conventional travelogue. Gives real insight into the underbelly of russia - some disturbing stuff on the effects of chernoybl, aids etc.
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