Border A journey around Russia : through North Korea, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway and the Northeast Passage

Erika Fatland, 1983-

Book - 2021

"The acclaimed author of Sovietistan travels along the seemingly endless Russian border and reveals the deep and pervasive influence it has had across half the globe."--Book jacket.

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Travel writing
New York, NY : Pegasus Books, Ltd 2021.
Main Author
Erika Fatland, 1983- (author)
Other Authors
Kari Dickson (translator)
First Pegasus Books cloth edition
Item Description
First published in the Norwegian language as Grensen by Kagge Forlag in 2017.
Physical Description
611 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color), maps ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • List of Illustrations
  • The Ocean
  • Map of Russia's Coast
  • Arctic Summer
  • Asia
  • Map of Russia's Border with Asia
  • Map of North and South Korea
  • The Art of Bowing without Bowing Down
  • Great Leaders
  • A Sensitive Matter
  • Capitalism Lite
  • The Rusty Friendship Bridge
  • 203 Hill
  • The Orient's Moscow
  • Restaurant Putin
  • Disney on the Border
  • A Living God, a Mad Baron and a Red Hero
  • World Rulers
  • In the Ruins of a Thousand Treasures
  • Hermits of the Taiga
  • Ninja Miners
  • No Foreigners
  • Back in the U.S.S.R.
  • In the Realm of the Bears
  • City of the Future
  • Bowling in Baikonur
  • The Caucasus
  • Map of Russia's Border with the Caucasus
  • To Wonderland
  • Mr President and Mrs Vice-President
  • The Black Mountain Garden
  • Singalong on the Border
  • No-Man
  • Stalin's Paradise
  • Europe
  • Map of Russia's Border with Europe
  • The Inhospitable Sea
  • Quality Swedish Tea
  • The Wart on Russia's Nose
  • The Youngest Breakaway Republic in the World
  • Express Train to Kiev
  • Group Tour to Chernobyl
  • Borderland
  • The People who Disappeared
  • A Trip to the Dacha that Changed the World
  • Lines in the Sand
  • The Master Race
  • Unrest
  • A Lesson in Liberation
  • The Monument War
  • The Outpost
  • The Field Marshal
  • A Lesson in the Value of Maintenance
  • Lapland
  • The Border
  • Map of Finnmark
  • Acknowledgments
  • Brief Outline of the History of Russia
  • Notes
  • Epigraphs
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Review by Booklist Review

More expansive than the circumference of the earth itself, Russia's border is the longest in the world. Fatland has strung together the histories of the 14 countries along this border to create a detailed mosaic of Russia's influence on its neighbors. She journeyed over two years from North Korea, where she was allowed in on a highly regulated trip under the guise of a tourist, to Norway, where Russia is a short shopping trip away. Whether spotting the onion dome of St. Sophia's Church in China or viewing the Stalin souvenirs on offer at the museum behind his humble brick home in Georgia, Fatland finds traces of Russia's influence are everywhere. The power of Russia is particularly evident in the stories Fatland hears from the people she meets, such as the Mongolian man whose grandfather hid all signs of his Buddhist faith after Stalin's crackdown and who became a monk himself at 13 years old in 1992, once it was legal again. Fatland offers a comprehensive look at the places and people impacted by their enormous next-door neighbor.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this ambitious travelogue, journalist Fatland (Sovietistan) documents her multiyear odyssey along Russia's 60,932-kilometer-long border with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. Noting that Norway is "the only one of its 14 neighbors that has not been invaded or at war with Russia in the past five hundred years," Fatland ask "what does it mean to have the world's largest country as your neighbor?" She answers with colorful accounts of her experiences and observations cruising the ice-crusted Northeast Passage (which makes up two-thirds of Russia's boundary), riding horseback in Mongolia ("The Siberian wind... was unrelenting and cut through all the layers of wool until I could no longer feel my legs"), and kayaking the waterways between Norway and Russia ("The river gurgled; every now and then a big fat salmon would leap up"). She also provides a dense history of each place she visits, including sites of recent conflict, such as Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and weaves her travel narrative with stories of people whose lives have been affected by Russia's geopolitical ambitions. Armchair adventurers and Russian history buffs are in for a treat. Photos. (Feb.)

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