Kim's Reviews > In the Land of White Death: An Epic Story of Survival in the Siberian Arctic

In the Land of White Death by Valerian Albanov
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Aug 17, 2009

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Read in August, 2009

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!
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