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In the Land of White Death: An Epic Story of Survival in the Siberian Arctic

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In 1912, six months after Robert Falcon Scott and four of his men came to grief in Antarctica, a thirty-two-year-old Russian navigator named Valerian Albanov embarked on an expedition that would prove even more disastrous. In search of new Arctic hunting grounds, Albanov's ship, the Saint Anna, was frozen fast in the pack ice of the treacherous Kara Sea-a misfortune grievo In 1912, six months after Robert Falcon Scott and four of his men came to grief in Antarctica, a thirty-two-year-old Russian navigator named Valerian Albanov embarked on an expedition that would prove even more disastrous. In search of new Arctic hunting grounds, Albanov's ship, the Saint Anna, was frozen fast in the pack ice of the treacherous Kara Sea-a misfortune grievously compounded by an incompetent commander, the absence of crucial nautical charts, insufficient fuel, and inadequate provisions that left the crew weak and debilitated by scurvy. For nearly a year and a half, the twenty-five men and one woman aboard the Saint Anna endured terrible hardships and danger as the icebound ship drifted helplessly north. Convinced that the Saint Anna would never free herself from the ice, Albanov and thirteen crewmen left the ship in January 1914, hauling makeshift sledges and kayaks behind them across the frozen sea, hoping to reach the distant coast of Franz Josef Land. With only a shockingly inaccurate map to guide him, Albanov led his men on a 235-mile journey of continuous peril, enduring blizzards, disintegrating ice floes, attacks by polar bears and walrus, starvation, sickness, snowblindness, and mutiny. That any of the team survived is a wonder. That Albanov kept a diary of his ninety-day ordeal-a story that Jon Krakauer calls an "astounding, utterly compelling book," and David Roberts calls "as lean and taut as a good thriller"-is nearly miraculous. First published in Russia in 1917, Albanov's narrative is here translated into English for the first time. Haunting, suspenseful, and told with gripping detail, In the Land of White Death can now rightfully take its place among the classic writings of Nansen, Scott, Cherry-Garrard, and Shackleton.


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In 1912, six months after Robert Falcon Scott and four of his men came to grief in Antarctica, a thirty-two-year-old Russian navigator named Valerian Albanov embarked on an expedition that would prove even more disastrous. In search of new Arctic hunting grounds, Albanov's ship, the Saint Anna, was frozen fast in the pack ice of the treacherous Kara Sea-a misfortune grievo In 1912, six months after Robert Falcon Scott and four of his men came to grief in Antarctica, a thirty-two-year-old Russian navigator named Valerian Albanov embarked on an expedition that would prove even more disastrous. In search of new Arctic hunting grounds, Albanov's ship, the Saint Anna, was frozen fast in the pack ice of the treacherous Kara Sea-a misfortune grievously compounded by an incompetent commander, the absence of crucial nautical charts, insufficient fuel, and inadequate provisions that left the crew weak and debilitated by scurvy. For nearly a year and a half, the twenty-five men and one woman aboard the Saint Anna endured terrible hardships and danger as the icebound ship drifted helplessly north. Convinced that the Saint Anna would never free herself from the ice, Albanov and thirteen crewmen left the ship in January 1914, hauling makeshift sledges and kayaks behind them across the frozen sea, hoping to reach the distant coast of Franz Josef Land. With only a shockingly inaccurate map to guide him, Albanov led his men on a 235-mile journey of continuous peril, enduring blizzards, disintegrating ice floes, attacks by polar bears and walrus, starvation, sickness, snowblindness, and mutiny. That any of the team survived is a wonder. That Albanov kept a diary of his ninety-day ordeal-a story that Jon Krakauer calls an "astounding, utterly compelling book," and David Roberts calls "as lean and taut as a good thriller"-is nearly miraculous. First published in Russia in 1917, Albanov's narrative is here translated into English for the first time. Haunting, suspenseful, and told with gripping detail, In the Land of White Death can now rightfully take its place among the classic writings of Nansen, Scott, Cherry-Garrard, and Shackleton.

30 review for In the Land of White Death: An Epic Story of Survival in the Siberian Arctic

  1. 4 out of 5

    Francisco

    Someone please explain to me why in the middle of the New England winter I set out to read books about Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. I was looking back and saw that I read about Shackleton's trip last winter and Robert Scot's the winter before. It struck me that it's similar to my need to listen to the saddest music I can find when I'm feeling sad. Maybe the best way to make it through winters and sadness is to go to them and through them instead of trying to avoid them. What a gem of a find Someone please explain to me why in the middle of the New England winter I set out to read books about Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. I was looking back and saw that I read about Shackleton's trip last winter and Robert Scot's the winter before. It struck me that it's similar to my need to listen to the saddest music I can find when I'm feeling sad. Maybe the best way to make it through winters and sadness is to go to them and through them instead of trying to avoid them. What a gem of a find this book is. In 1922 Valerian Albanov, a Russian navigator, sets off in a small ship (steam and sail) with a proposed trajectory from Alexdraovsk (present day Murmansk) to Vadivostok. My jaw dropped when I Googled the map of Russia. Start off at the top of Russia, a stone's throw from the Arctic sea, and then travel across all the northern boundary of Russia and then when you hit the end go South to almost the end of the Eastern boundary. They set out in late August which is a couple of months too late and by October the ship finds itself trapped in the ice of the Kara sea. It wintered over the ice expecting to be set loose by the warmth of the following summer but summer came without warmth and with no deliverance. In the meantime the ship kept drifting north some 2,400 miles from where it first was trapped. Another year goes by and finally, Albanov, second in command, and thirteen other crew members, set off in a southerly direction with Kayaks and sleds in search of land leaving the rest of the crew behind. What makes this book so extraordinary is first: the book is Albanov's first person account of his journey (only he and another sailor make it out alive) and second: Albanov can write. His diary is not the usual cold blooded: "Three miles against gail winds. Seal blubber almost gone. Spirits low." Albanov rails against his lazy, careless crew with Dostoievskian relish. He describes what he sees with the eyes and words of a poet. But most of all, and now that I think of it, maybe this is why I read these books, the man exudes through his words and exemplifies through his actions a kind of hope and courage that seems more than human. Why keep on month after month in unbelievable hopeless hardship? Why not just lay yourself down and sleep your way to a peaceful death? The writing is so real (remember this isn't fiction) that you cannot help but to put yourself right next to Albanov and wonder whether you would have it in you to persist and go on and not give up. I don't know the answer to that. I think probably not. But I am strengthened, by the fact that men like Albanov did. And this knowledge makes my own small winter more bearable.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)

    Amazing and harrowing - this is the incredible first hand account of a desperate (costly but successful) attempt to find rescue in the arctic after being icebound on a ship for over two years. If you like survival stories, this is a great one! Just...make sure you're warm and well-fed while reading it. Amazing and harrowing - this is the incredible first hand account of a desperate (costly but successful) attempt to find rescue in the arctic after being icebound on a ship for over two years. If you like survival stories, this is a great one! Just...make sure you're warm and well-fed while reading it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    GoldGato

    Hey, let's go search for new discoveries in the unknown frozen Russian Arctic! And let's do it with a completely chaotic and disorganized expedition with only five experienced seamen. Let's do it! Hey, let's not worry about getting stuck in the ice because we have an abundance of supplies! And let's not worry when the members of the expedition start losing their teeth to scurvy. Let's do it! Hey, let's not bother to figure out that things are going downhill when we end up much farther north than i Hey, let's go search for new discoveries in the unknown frozen Russian Arctic! And let's do it with a completely chaotic and disorganized expedition with only five experienced seamen. Let's do it! Hey, let's not worry about getting stuck in the ice because we have an abundance of supplies! And let's not worry when the members of the expedition start losing their teeth to scurvy. Let's do it! Hey, let's not bother to figure out that things are going downhill when we end up much farther north than intended! And let's desert the ship to make a dangerous trek to safety while hating every fellow deserter. Let's do it! Another problem was the apathy of my companions. The closer we came to the island, the more unbearable their attitude became. They dragged their feet instead of striding bravely forward; they cursed each other constantly and lazed about for long periods on the ground. This is quite a story, despite the one-sidedness of the narrative. In 1912, Valerian Albanov was the navigator for the ill-fated Brusilov Expedition, which went forth into the frozen Kara sea to search for new sources of walrus, seals, and polar bears. Captain Brusilov wasn't the greatest choice for this adventure and he soon had them entangled in ice that would not let the ship leave its clutches. Albanov decided he had enough and left, with ten other members, to search for a landward route back home. Eventually, only Albanov and one other companion would make it back alive. The fate of the ship and its remaining crew was unknown (at least until 2010 when some items were found). I love, love, love, love stories of the Arctic and the dangers that overwhelmed some not-very-sensible explorers. This would be a five-star book if it wasn't for the incessant nitpicking by Albanov. Clearly, he had a lot more get-up-and-go than his fellow travellers, but we'll never know what they thought of him, so I take some of his ramblings with a grain of salt. All in all, a darned good book. Also, best enjoyed listening to Solitude by John Coltrane while drinking chilled sake. Nothing to do with the book, but it helped. Book Season = Winter (desert of ice)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andy Weston

    In 1975, Arctic expert William Barr wrote “The name of Valerian Ivanovich Albanov must be ranked among those of the immortals of polar exploration. This is his story. In 1914, after 18 months trapped in the ice on board the Saint Anna , Albanov, known as the permission to abandon the ship along with 13 crew mates, to attempt to travel by hauling and sailing kayaks to the distant Franz Joseph Land. He sees it as their only chance of survival. With no map other than a rough sketch, and constant a In 1975, Arctic expert William Barr wrote “The name of Valerian Ivanovich Albanov must be ranked among those of the immortals of polar exploration. This is his story. In 1914, after 18 months trapped in the ice on board the Saint Anna , Albanov, known as the permission to abandon the ship along with 13 crew mates, to attempt to travel by hauling and sailing kayaks to the distant Franz Joseph Land. He sees it as their only chance of survival. With no map other than a rough sketch, and constant attacks by walrus, polar bear, and much sickness, the survival story is incredible, and the fact he kept a diary, even more so. His narrative was first published in Russian in 1917, but not translated until 2001. Yet it reads like a modern day Arctic survival thriller. There are references to the Jeanette , and the subsequent rescue attempts, told so wonderfully in Hampton Sides’s In The Kingdom Of Ice . Both books are excellent additions to the classics of polar exploration.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This is a great a little book. After their boat was frozen in for 2 years, a group sets off across the ice flows to find help. The only bad thing was the journal that Valerian kept on the ship for the 2 years was lost!!! I would have loved to read that story. This first hand account of the trek across a frozen ocean is amazing. Well documented and gripping. His experience is truly something that very few have or ever will understand. I actually read the book twice... back to back. Yes, when I fi This is a great a little book. After their boat was frozen in for 2 years, a group sets off across the ice flows to find help. The only bad thing was the journal that Valerian kept on the ship for the 2 years was lost!!! I would have loved to read that story. This first hand account of the trek across a frozen ocean is amazing. Well documented and gripping. His experience is truly something that very few have or ever will understand. I actually read the book twice... back to back. Yes, when I finished reading it I started over and read it again. I love exploration history and few stories rival this accomplishment. It shows that the will to survive can drive men to almost super human feats of strength and endurance. Beware the walruses!!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    C-shaw

    Fascinating, well written, horrifying! This is a mesmerizing story by Russian navigator Valerian Ivanovich Albanov of the plight of the Russian schooner _Saint Anna_, which attempted an Arctic voyage across the Northeast Passage to Vladivostok in 1912. Two years later, only Albanov and one other crew member survived, and the _Saint Anna_, which they departed with about 14 men in homemade kayaks and sledges when it became frozen in ice, was never recovered.

  7. 4 out of 5

    MargaretDH

    I have a fascination with the Arctic and Arctic stories, and this hit the spot. In 1912, Albanov signed on to an expedition to the Russian Arctic as Navigator on the Saint Anna. The ship was almost immediately locked in ice, and after two years with no thaw in sight, Albanov set off with 13 other men to escape the ice and find land. They crossed miles of ice and open water, finally reaching some tiny islands, but even that doesn't guarantee their safety. This is a translation of Albanov's diary, b I have a fascination with the Arctic and Arctic stories, and this hit the spot. In 1912, Albanov signed on to an expedition to the Russian Arctic as Navigator on the Saint Anna. The ship was almost immediately locked in ice, and after two years with no thaw in sight, Albanov set off with 13 other men to escape the ice and find land. They crossed miles of ice and open water, finally reaching some tiny islands, but even that doesn't guarantee their safety. This is a translation of Albanov's diary, beginning in the days before he leaves the ship and ending once he reaches Russia proper. It's a fascinating story, and Albanov is an honest and thoughtful narrator. He also does a wonderful job describing the animals and landscape of the Arctic, and doesn't skimp on the hardship. The text is lightly annotated to correct factual errors or to suggest medical explanations for some of the things that happened, but it's almost entirely his words on the page. You can't help but admire someone who refused to leave his diary behind, and wrote bent over a smoky bear fat lamp with frozen finger, just so he could keep a record. If you're interested in Shackleton, or you liked The Terror, or if you like expedition narratives, definitely pick this up. It's fascinating, extremely readable, and gives a glimpse into a world very few of us will ever experience.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    My favorite thing about these true stories of Arctic survival are the details. I want to feel the cold biting into my skin. The drudgery and camaraderie of day to day living, both on ship and on the ice. The God awful fear of not knowing whether you'll make it home or die a cruel, frozen death. I didn't feel any of that. It could very well be that the original version was much better,. Also, there was one very lonely map on the kindle version of this book. Books like this should have maps all ov My favorite thing about these true stories of Arctic survival are the details. I want to feel the cold biting into my skin. The drudgery and camaraderie of day to day living, both on ship and on the ice. The God awful fear of not knowing whether you'll make it home or die a cruel, frozen death. I didn't feel any of that. It could very well be that the original version was much better,. Also, there was one very lonely map on the kindle version of this book. Books like this should have maps all over the place. I doubt I'd recommend this book, but I would love to read a more gripping account of this tale.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Doubledf99.99

    A harrowing epic of survival, hope and the will of the human spirit to survive, Good story, and best have a warm fire going or read it in the summer...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    Here we are, back in the Arctic, because apparently I never learn. I thought this would just be a standard, journalistic read about yet another doomed Arctic quest, and until I got to the epilogue, that's exactly what it was. If you read this book, whatever you do, do not skip the epilogue. That's where the real drama unfolds, and the aspect of the narrative revealed in the epilogue changes everything. You have to read the rest of the book for the bombshell to land, however. Here we are, back in the Arctic, because apparently I never learn. I thought this would just be a standard, journalistic read about yet another doomed Arctic quest, and until I got to the epilogue, that's exactly what it was. If you read this book, whatever you do, do not skip the epilogue. That's where the real drama unfolds, and the aspect of the narrative revealed in the epilogue changes everything. You have to read the rest of the book for the bombshell to land, however.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jrobert

    It is a diary written in 1912 over a 2 yr period as an expedition was trying to find a route to the North Pole. 28-30 men and 1 woman set out on a Ship but became lodged in ice. 10 men set out with kayaks and “sledges” to head south to get help. It is a true story of survival and a very interesting read. Only 2 men came home. The rest perished on the trek for help as well as those who stayed with the ship. If you like survival stories this was a good short read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    L Kate

    Fascinating Read. This true journal of men’s attempt to escape from a ship caught in the ice far north of Russia, making their way over the ice hauling heavy sledges, or between the ice floes in kayaks is fascinating to read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    Fairly interesting in the beginning, the middle was a bit tough to get through (a lot of repetitive scenarios), the ending picked up though. If you're into survival stories it's worth a read. Fairly interesting in the beginning, the middle was a bit tough to get through (a lot of repetitive scenarios), the ending picked up though. If you're into survival stories it's worth a read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Leslie McNamara

    Exceptional! From the introductions to the original works and journal entries of the survivors, this is a living, breathing work that deserves notice and applause. How these men made it through this ordeal is astounding, oftentimes shocking, and always gripping. A must read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    Great way to beat the summer heat! The epilogue to the Modern Library edition is definitely worth reading, as it changes your understanding of the book completely and makes you want to go back and start it all over with fresh eyes. In addition to being a great adventure story, it's another testament to the lost art of the travel diary. Great way to beat the summer heat! The epilogue to the Modern Library edition is definitely worth reading, as it changes your understanding of the book completely and makes you want to go back and start it all over with fresh eyes. In addition to being a great adventure story, it's another testament to the lost art of the travel diary.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marko

    The ingenuity, resourcefulness, and resolve presented in this first-hand account are admirable, and a testament of Albanov's expertise as a sailor. This was an intriguing glimpse of unintended adventure and willpower being pushed to the limit. The ingenuity, resourcefulness, and resolve presented in this first-hand account are admirable, and a testament of Albanov's expertise as a sailor. This was an intriguing glimpse of unintended adventure and willpower being pushed to the limit.

  17. 5 out of 5

    A

    "In the Land of White Death" is the (nonfiction) diary account of Officer Albanov as he struggles for survival across the arctic ocean in hopes of finding land. On August 28, 1912 the Saint Anna with a crew of 23 set sail from the port of Alexandrovsk on a hunting expedition that was expected to end in Vladivostok. By October 15, the ship became lock in the arctic ice sheet and drifted ever northward. The crew survived two brutal winters inboard despite running out of fuel and having limited sup "In the Land of White Death" is the (nonfiction) diary account of Officer Albanov as he struggles for survival across the arctic ocean in hopes of finding land. On August 28, 1912 the Saint Anna with a crew of 23 set sail from the port of Alexandrovsk on a hunting expedition that was expected to end in Vladivostok. By October 15, the ship became lock in the arctic ice sheet and drifted ever northward. The crew survived two brutal winters inboard despite running out of fuel and having limited supplies. On April 10, 1914 Valerian Albanov along with several of his crewmen left the Saint Anna in hope of making the 235 miles journey back to land. They travel across the arctic ice on foot using homemade kayaks and sleds to transport their few supplies. The crew fights through near constant subzero temps, malnutrition, glaciers, walruses, northward ice flows and dense fog all while using an incomplete hand drawn map to navigate across an ever changing terrain. At one point Albanov writes about constructing kayaks in -36F without gloves. Another time he explains how his crew is without sleeping bags so they use the hides of reindeer. However, the hides only cover up half of their body, so they need to choose which half would be cold for the night. Overall the book is stunning. In addition to being a great story the writing style is very engrossing, which makes the 190 pages go by exceptionally fast.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    An engrossing first-hand account of a trek across the Arctic wilderness in a quest for survival. In this translation of Albanov's journal kept throughout his ordeal, Albanov describes, in great detail, the trials he and his followers faced while trekking towards safety. Despite knowing the ending before opening the book, it was easy to be held captive by his writing, waiting to see what happens next. While Albanov comes off as a smidge arrogant, it's hard to find fault with that--he managed to g An engrossing first-hand account of a trek across the Arctic wilderness in a quest for survival. In this translation of Albanov's journal kept throughout his ordeal, Albanov describes, in great detail, the trials he and his followers faced while trekking towards safety. Despite knowing the ending before opening the book, it was easy to be held captive by his writing, waiting to see what happens next. While Albanov comes off as a smidge arrogant, it's hard to find fault with that--he managed to get himself and one other man to safety after countless near-death experiences...I think he earned that arrogance. I did find myself speed reading through small sections here and there. You can only read so much about walking on ice and shooting seals and polar bears before it becomes a bit monotonous. The publishers do a fantastic job of adding historical context to the journal in the prologue and epilogue, particularly in including excerpts of the journal of Albanov's fellow survivor. It definitely helps to round out the tale. The one thing I would have liked to have seen was more about what the two did after finding safety. There was a bit in the epilogue, but I longed for more. The only other thing to say about this book is that I am certainly not cut out for polar expedition. Shocking revelation, I know!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nadja

    This was a great, intriguing book that I read in a little over one day. It is the true story of the trials and tribulations of a group of men walking across hundreds of miles of ice to reach land after their ship becomes icebound. The narrative is in the form of the diary entries of the ship's navigator, Valerian Albanov. Not to give too much away (this information is on the back cover of the book), but only the narrator and one other man survive, out of an original crew of over 20. The story is This was a great, intriguing book that I read in a little over one day. It is the true story of the trials and tribulations of a group of men walking across hundreds of miles of ice to reach land after their ship becomes icebound. The narrative is in the form of the diary entries of the ship's navigator, Valerian Albanov. Not to give too much away (this information is on the back cover of the book), but only the narrator and one other man survive, out of an original crew of over 20. The story is so harrowing. The strength of character and sheer wherewithal that some people have astounds me. I was happy to read this tale from the comfort of my sofa, under a duvet with a cup of hot tea to keep me company. Reading a story like this is about as adventurous as I get. I was so impressed by Albanov - his poetic turns of phrases, his storytelling abilities, and the quality of his character. And I was astonished to learn in the Epilogue that two months after being rescued, he boarded another ship to the Arctic! WTF!!?? He must have been a sucker for punishment.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Slaght

    Albanov's story is a breathtaking, astounding read, and reasonably well translated. I finished this relatively quickly as, every time I put it down, I wondered how the men were going to get out of the mess that seemed to get worse at every stage. How anyone survived at all is a miracle. I found the Introduction by David Roberts compelling, but stopped reading after a page or two because it was clear he was giving the story away. I returned to it after finishing Albanov's text. The Epilogue, also Albanov's story is a breathtaking, astounding read, and reasonably well translated. I finished this relatively quickly as, every time I put it down, I wondered how the men were going to get out of the mess that seemed to get worse at every stage. How anyone survived at all is a miracle. I found the Introduction by David Roberts compelling, but stopped reading after a page or two because it was clear he was giving the story away. I returned to it after finishing Albanov's text. The Epilogue, also by Roberts, was excellent and added important depth and context to Albanov's tale, as it revealed additional details (including one bombshell) from Konrad's journal that Albanov omitted. The Epilogue also explained what Albanov did following his return to the mainland, and how he died. Very much recommended for any fans of Arctic exploration, Russian history, or survival literature in general.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amerynth

    "In the Land of White Death" is Valerian Albanov's stunning account of a ninety day journey across the barren wastes of the North Pole with his companions as they attempted to save themselves from an icy death. They man-hauled sledges and kayaks across the ice after their whaling boat was trapped in the pack ice for more than a year. The account is well-written and really interesting.... it stands up to the more well-known polar expedition stories. As I was reading, I really wished for a second "In the Land of White Death" is Valerian Albanov's stunning account of a ninety day journey across the barren wastes of the North Pole with his companions as they attempted to save themselves from an icy death. They man-hauled sledges and kayaks across the ice after their whaling boat was trapped in the pack ice for more than a year. The account is well-written and really interesting.... it stands up to the more well-known polar expedition stories. As I was reading, I really wished for a second account to shed some light on Albanov himself -- who seemed brusk and difficult-- and seemed to find ways to make his travels easier while disparaging the men who had to take the harder route as slow and lazy. So, I particularly appreciated David Robert's afterward, which focuses on the other survivor's journal to flesh out some of the details.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mike Davis

    Most readers of polar exploration are familiar with accounts of ill-fated explorers such as Scott and Shackleton. The diary of Russian explorer Valerian Albanov was only recently discovered in a French translation buried in a library, translated into English and published in 2000. It tells of an incredible journey of survival as he and some of his crew set out from his ice-locked ship in hopes of finding aid. This, then, is an autobiography in the form of a diary or journal written by Albanov. Wh Most readers of polar exploration are familiar with accounts of ill-fated explorers such as Scott and Shackleton. The diary of Russian explorer Valerian Albanov was only recently discovered in a French translation buried in a library, translated into English and published in 2000. It tells of an incredible journey of survival as he and some of his crew set out from his ice-locked ship in hopes of finding aid. This, then, is an autobiography in the form of a diary or journal written by Albanov. Whereas other expeditions have been written in absentia, decades after the fact, this account is important because Albanov himself describes his incredible journey. The writing/translation is well written, and each day holds danger, despair, hope and challenge. It is difficult to put this book down.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vivek Kulanthaivelpandian

    A very little known Russian arctic exploration story . If you are into polar exploration , then Brusilov Exploration story is a must read.It is on par with Shackleton's story. It vividly captures the travail this team endured to reach terra firma by foot/Kayak from a ice stranded ship "Saint Anna" from some where in Barents sea all the way to Franz Joseph islands. I finished this 230 pages book in a day as it is very gripping and couldn't put it down. Highly recommended. Another must read Russia A very little known Russian arctic exploration story . If you are into polar exploration , then Brusilov Exploration story is a must read.It is on par with Shackleton's story. It vividly captures the travail this team endured to reach terra firma by foot/Kayak from a ice stranded ship "Saint Anna" from some where in Barents sea all the way to Franz Joseph islands. I finished this 230 pages book in a day as it is very gripping and couldn't put it down. Highly recommended. Another must read Russian polar exploration story is "The Two Captains" by Veniamin Kaverin..

  24. 5 out of 5

    Scott Holmes

    Fact that it's a journal makes it even cooler! Great read if you have an interest in arctic exploration or just want to read survival stories in the cold harsh climate of the arctic. Very cool that it's taken from the first hand account of one of the survivors and leader. A journal not just written about it by someone who researched it. Fact that it's a journal makes it even cooler! Great read if you have an interest in arctic exploration or just want to read survival stories in the cold harsh climate of the arctic. Very cool that it's taken from the first hand account of one of the survivors and leader. A journal not just written about it by someone who researched it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ronnie Cramer

    Gripping chronicle of a harrowing arctic journey, taken from the author's journal and first published in 1917. Gripping chronicle of a harrowing arctic journey, taken from the author's journal and first published in 1917.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Madikeri Abu

    In The Land of White Death, is a must read for those who are fascinated about Arctic and the adventure and survival there. A true story narrated in first person by Valerian Ivanovich Albanov navigator and second commanding officer, whose ship Saint Anna was locked in ice for 2 years and starts to drift north, without the hope of ever breaking free and how Albanov and 13 others leave the ship in search of land with the help of crude sledges and kayaks to escape certain icy death, battling subzero In The Land of White Death, is a must read for those who are fascinated about Arctic and the adventure and survival there. A true story narrated in first person by Valerian Ivanovich Albanov navigator and second commanding officer, whose ship Saint Anna was locked in ice for 2 years and starts to drift north, without the hope of ever breaking free and how Albanov and 13 others leave the ship in search of land with the help of crude sledges and kayaks to escape certain icy death, battling subzero temperature, starvation, moving glaciers and iceflowes without any warm cloth and even gloves, fighting dangerous walruses and facing death like experience every hour of the day and finally only 2 survive the ordeal out of 14. An unputtable down harrowing account of survival in an unforgiving land, when the choice of lying down in ice and sleeping your way to death seem more enticing than fighting the vagaries of nature. This book is both fascinating as well as horrifying in its narration which will make your bone chill. An engrossing read indeed more so because after escaping a certain death, Albanov boards another ship to Arctic within 2 months after being rescued. A hardcore adventurist or a hardcore idiot, it is for the reader to decide. 3.5 Stars. Favorite Quote: ...I have been worried by a secondary phenomenon that i have kept hidden, for the moment, from my companions. The ice is drifting to the south-southwest... this rapid southwest drift will cause us to miss land altogether, and eventually sweep us into the Barents Sea... We might miss Franz Joseph Land altogether...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dunya Dianne McPherson

    An amazing Siberian Arctic memoir! Two years of survival 1912-1914 of Valerian Albanov, this is a taught, harrowing thriller as well as a beautifully insightful observation of both Albanov's comrades and the terrifying natural world. I have now read quite a few accounts of forays in to Siberia and the Arctic, each one very different from the next. Albanov's recounts the desperate need to survive, which he does by the sheerest of margins, ice and snow. These are his foes--daunting, treacherous, v An amazing Siberian Arctic memoir! Two years of survival 1912-1914 of Valerian Albanov, this is a taught, harrowing thriller as well as a beautifully insightful observation of both Albanov's comrades and the terrifying natural world. I have now read quite a few accounts of forays in to Siberia and the Arctic, each one very different from the next. Albanov's recounts the desperate need to survive, which he does by the sheerest of margins, ice and snow. These are his foes--daunting, treacherous, variable. Almost every piece I have read speaks of food because there is never enough of it as the expeditions progress often through accident or mishap. Albanov also ran out of biscuit, tea, chocolate, canned meat but his pages dwell more and more on turning to seal and walrus, polar bear and Eider duck, eating these raw, having difficulty melting enough drinking water when fuel runs low, how ice doesn't quench thirst. He lost most of his dozen companions through malnutrition and dehydration. Despite these travails, his piece is not grim. I dashed right through it. A classic and beautiful piece.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Russell

    The amazing tale of a daring escape from the arctic exploration vessel "Saint Anna", locked in polar ice while on an ill-planned voyage. The ship's navigator, Valerian Albanov, left the ship with thirteen crew who volunteered to accompany him, and set out on foot with jury-rigged kayaks and sledges over the ice to attempt to reach a base in Franz Josef Land, an archipelago north of Siberia. A series of mishaps resulted in the loss of several groups, until finally Albanov and one comrade, Alexand The amazing tale of a daring escape from the arctic exploration vessel "Saint Anna", locked in polar ice while on an ill-planned voyage. The ship's navigator, Valerian Albanov, left the ship with thirteen crew who volunteered to accompany him, and set out on foot with jury-rigged kayaks and sledges over the ice to attempt to reach a base in Franz Josef Land, an archipelago north of Siberia. A series of mishaps resulted in the loss of several groups, until finally Albanov and one comrade, Alexander Konrad, reached relative safety in a set of ruined huts at Cape Flora. While preparing to overwinter, they were picked up by a ship, itself part of a failed polar expedition. The book is told in a matter-of-fact style in Albanov's own words, partially recreated from logs he kept on this awful journey.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Teri Stich

    I choose this as my Adventure Genre pick for my 2018 Reading Challenge. What a story, one of perseverance, survival, the human instinct to continue against all odds. Set in the Arctic, this is an account of the Saint Anna's ill-fated expedition, locked in the ice flowing further northward and how 13 crewman left the ship bound for land. Their journey covered 253 miles of ice, snow blindness, starvation, fighting the elements every step of the way. This is the account of that journey from Albanov I choose this as my Adventure Genre pick for my 2018 Reading Challenge. What a story, one of perseverance, survival, the human instinct to continue against all odds. Set in the Arctic, this is an account of the Saint Anna's ill-fated expedition, locked in the ice flowing further northward and how 13 crewman left the ship bound for land. Their journey covered 253 miles of ice, snow blindness, starvation, fighting the elements every step of the way. This is the account of that journey from Albanov's journal. Incredible, suspense-filled, compelling, miraculous. If you read anything on the Shackleton or Scott expeditions to Antarctica, you will want to read this as well. Being a true story it is better than any fictional adventure story one could find.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    As I first read this book it hooked me in since just after reading the back it sounded like quite a good adventure type book. Following the reading of 3/4 of the book I soon realized that in my opinion it got repetitive. Closer to the end the chapters seemed to hardly change in pace and really started to get old since they just seemed to be using filler making me think they didn't really know what to say happens since its to close to the end for a new event to happen but to soon since something As I first read this book it hooked me in since just after reading the back it sounded like quite a good adventure type book. Following the reading of 3/4 of the book I soon realized that in my opinion it got repetitive. Closer to the end the chapters seemed to hardly change in pace and really started to get old since they just seemed to be using filler making me think they didn't really know what to say happens since its to close to the end for a new event to happen but to soon since something did. It wasn't a terrible book but I felt mislead by the preview on the back. Aside from it being repetitive it wasn't all bad and I found the detail to be quite nice.

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