Book Review: Siberia: Its Conquest and Development Essays

Book Review: Siberia: Its Conquest and Development Essays

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Ronald Frank2004-05-03T00:58:00









Beyond the Urals








Semyonov, Yuri. Siberia: Its Conquest and Development. Baltimore: Helicon Press, 1963. 414.

What would motivate men to venture into some of the harshest areas on Earth, often with a small amount of supplies and an overwhelming chance of not returning alive? Plenty, argues Yuri Semyonov, “plenty of freedom, plenty of natural resources, and little authority” (86). Yet, Siberia: Its Conquest and Development if far from a simple retelling of several adventure tales. What the author presents is a comprehensive history of Siberian exploration spanning roughly 500 years, complete with thorough analysis of the political, cultural and economic factors that were at play throughout.
Semyonov begins with a brief introduction of Russian history prior to Ermak’s journey, discussing key forces ultimately responsible for Siberia’s conquest. All the important expeditions from Ermak, to Deshnev, to Bering are discussed in great detail. Certainly the story of Ermak drowning in his heavy armor has not gone untold; throughout the book Semyonov gives both historical facts and traditional legends in order to create a more complete picture. Siberia covers a broad range of geographical locations, including Siberia, Alaska, and even touches on Hawaii and Japan. In effect, any area related to Siberian conquest is given attention. Yet, just as the title would have you believe, Siberia: Its Conquest and Development, at its heart is still...

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