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In the Land of White Death

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About the Author

Valerian Albanov was born in 1881 in Voronezh, Russia, and graduated in 1904 from the Naval College of St. Petersburg. Despite his harrowing voyage aboard the Saint Anna, he continued going to sea until his death in 1919. Jon Krakauer is the bestselling author of Into the Wild and Into Thin Air, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. David Roberts is the author of over a dozen books on mountaineering, exploration, and archaeology, including, most recently, True Summit. His work regularly appears in National Geographic Adventure, Smithsonian, and Outside, among other publications.


Between 1912 and 1914, as navigator aboard the doomed Santa Anna, Albanov completed one of the most amazing journeys in the history of Arctic exploration. After the Russian ship became frozen in the polar ice cap, Albanov led 13 members of his ship's crew across the ice and back to civilization. A friend convinced him to publish the harrowing account of how he survived. Although the book was originally published in Russian in 1917, and subsequently translated into French and German, this is its first translation into English. This is a particularly surprising turn, considering the quality of Albanov's writing. Fast-paced yet descriptive, Albanov's prose skillfully depicts the Siberian arctic so the reader can envision his plight. Albanov resists the temptation to embellish his situation, keeping his account true to the diary he kept while making the journey. The reader ends up sympathizing with, but not feeling sorry for, the author, who made the return voyage using makeshift sledges and kayaks and broken navigational equipment, and who dealt with a team of incompetent companions, all but one of whom died on the journey. Here is a vivid portrait of a courageous leader, a skilled explorer and a practical problem solver. 100,000 first printing. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

This is the story of Russian navigator Albanov and his small crew, who set sail in the Siberian Arctic in 1912 and were trapped by an iceberg. The stranded crew struggled to stay alive aboard the ship for over a year until 13 of the crew members decided to walk on foot across the ice, hoping to reach civilization. The remaining 20 chose to stay onboard the ship. Of all these men, only two survived. Written in a journal format, this book tells the story of their brutal struggle in an unfriendly land of ice and snow. Originally published in Russia in 1917 and in France in 1928, and finally translated into English this year, In the Land of White Death is full of adventure and is riveting to read. The preface was written by series editor Jon Krakauer, the author of Into Thin Air. Recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/00.]DStephanie Papa, Baltimore Cty. Circuit Court Lib., MD Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"A beguiling and valuable record of polar exploration before the planes landed, and a miraculous testament to what the human spirit can achieve. Albanov's harrowing story is a welcome addition to the canon of polar literature." -Sara Wheeler, author of Terra Incognita

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