Eastbound through Siberia: Observations from the Great Northern Expedition

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Eastbound through Siberia: Observations from the Great Northern Expedition Author: Editors: Margritt A. Engel, Karen E. Willmore Format: Paperback / softback First Published: Published By: Indiana University Press Pages: 250 Illustrations and other contents: 3 Halftones, black and white; 12 Illustrations, black and white Language: English ISBN: 9780253047786 Categories: , , , ,

In the winter of 1739, Georg Steller received word from Empress Anna of Russia that he was to embark on a secret expedition to the far reaches of Siberia as a member of the Great Northern Expedition. While searching for economic possibilities and strategic advantages, Steller was to send back descriptions of everything he saw. The Empress’s instructions were detailed, from requests for a preserved whale brain to observing the child-rearing customs of local peoples, and Steller met the task with dedication, bravery, and a good measure of humor. In the name of science, Steller and his comrades confronted horse-swallowing bogs, leaped across ice floes, and survived countless close calls in their exploration of an unforgiving environment. Not stopping at lists of fish, birds, and animals, Steller also details the villages and the lives of those living there, from vice-governors to prostitutes. His writings rail against government corruption and the misuse of power while describing with empathy the lives of the poor and forgotten, with special attention toward Native peoples. What emerges is a remarkable window into life-both human and animal-in 18th century Siberia. Due to the secret nature of the expedition, Steller’s findings were hidden in Russian archives for centuries, but the near-daily entries he recorded on journeys to the Siberian towns of Irkutsk and Kamchatka are presented here in English for the first time.

Weight0.6 kg

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Author Biography

Georg Wilhelm Steller was a German scientist who lived from 1709 to 1746, and worked as a botanist, zoologist, and physician. He was part of the second crew for the Great Northern Expedition. Margritt A. Engel is Professor Emerita of Languages at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is translator of Journal of a Voyage with Bering, 1741-1742 and Steller's History of Kamchatka. Karen E. Willmore is Professor Emerita of Languages at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is translator of Steller's History of Kamchatka. Jonathan C. Slaght is the Russia and Northeast Asia Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society. He is editor and translator (with Vladimir K. Arsenyev) of Across the Ussuri Kray: Travels in the Sikhote-Alin Mountains.