10 books like The Princess of Siberia

By Christine Sutherland,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Princess of Siberia. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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East of the Sun

By Benson Bobrick,

Book cover of East of the Sun: The Epic Conquest and Tragic History of Siberia

For readers venturing into the history of Siberia for the first time, East of the Sun is an excellent introduction to this Asian side of Russia, stretching 5,000 miles between the Ural Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The book's narrative covers four centuries, from the conquest of Siberia by Russians in the late 16th century through the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 20th century—including early expeditions into the uncharted lands east of the Urals and the Russians' push toward the Pacific Ocean; native people in Siberia; Russian expansion into North America, from Alaska to California; Siberia as a place of prison and exile, but also a land of opportunity for millions of voluntary settlers; the impact of the Trans-Siberian Railroad; and the effects of modernization under the Soviets in the 20th century. If you're an armchair traveler interested in history, or planning a trip to Siberia yourself,…

East of the Sun

By Benson Bobrick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked East of the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The very word Siberia evokes a history and reputation as awesome as it is enthralling. In this acclaimed book on Russia’s conquest of its eastern realms, Benson Bobrick offers a story that is both rich and subtle, broad and deep.From its conquest by Cossacks and its exploration and settlement in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, through its terrifying Gulag history, to its modern place in a world hungry for natural resources, Siberia –covering a sixth of the world’s surface – has a history unlike any other land. East of the Sun captures all of Siberia’s history with a depth and…


To the Great Ocean

By Harmon Tupper,

Book cover of To the Great Ocean: The Taming Of Siberia And The Building Of The Trans-Siberian Railway

A highly readable and well-illustrated history of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, from the earliest Russian railways to the construction of the Trans-Siberian route to the modern railway of the mid-20th century. Built between 1891 and 1916, it was the longest passenger line in the world and one of the greatest engineering feats of its time. But few people riding on Trans-Siberian trains today are aware of the immense obstacles the builders had to overcome, from tunneling through snow-covered mountains and draining dangerous swamps, to coping with deadly diseases and attacks by bandits and Siberian tigers.

In 1916, when the last railroad bridge was constructed over the Amur River in Russia's Far East, the trip by train from Moscow to Vladivostok took 14 to 16 days. Today it takes only 7 days to cover the 5,771 miles between Russia's capital and the Pacific Ocean—but it's still the railway journey of a lifetime.…

To the Great Ocean

By Harmon Tupper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To the Great Ocean as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Reindeer People

By Piers Vitebsky,

Book cover of The Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia

My favorite book about reindeer and their relationship with the nomadic native people who herd them over the tundra of northern Siberia. The author is not only a renowned anthropologist at Cambridge University, but also a gifted writer who brings his field research to life on the page. He writes beautifully about the history of reindeer in northern Asia, their lives from birth to death, their uses by the herders who care for them, the disastrous attempts by the Soviets to collectivize the herders' lives and livelihood, the spiritual significance of reindeer to many native Siberians even today, and why people have long believed that reindeer can fly. As one reviewer wrote, "Like the reindeer themselves, this book takes wings."

The Reindeer People

By Piers Vitebsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Reindeer People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A voyage of discovery into the life of a remote aboriginal community in the Siberian Arctic, where the reindeer has been a part of daily life since Palaeolithic times. The reindeer, along with the dog, was probably the first species to be drawn into a close relationship with man. This book, by an eminent British anthropologist, is the beautifully written story of how that relationship works and of the intimacy between the nomadic reindeer people and the landscape they inhabit. What to the Western eye looks like a vast, uninhabited Arctic wilderness is in fact filled with animals, humans and…


Tent Life in Siberia

By George Kennan,

Book cover of Tent Life in Siberia

An intrepid traveler and talented journalist, George Kennan (1845-1924), is better known for his second book about Russia, published in 1891: Siberia and the Exile System, a two-volume study of Siberian penal colonies and exile conditions. But his first book, published 20 years earlier, is among my favorites about Russia. In his introduction to a 1968 reprint of Tent Life in Siberia, American author Larry McMurtry called it "one of the most appealing classics of nineteenth-century travel [writing]."

In 1865, 20-year-old Kennan, an accomplished telegrapher, was hired by Western Union to survey part of Siberia for the possible construction of a telegraph line across Russia, connecting Alaska to Europe. This memoir of his two years in Siberia is a rousing tale of his adventures among the native people and the Russian settlers he encountered there, as well as the many hardships that he and his partner endured, from…

Tent Life in Siberia

By George Kennan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tent Life in Siberia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1870, this book is a thrilling account by telegraph operator George Kennan, who signed on to build a telegraph line across Siberia in the 1860s. Though the Trans-Siberian telegraph line failed, we are left today with this tale of virtual first contact with a land and a people.

It is an important Siberian title with many detailed passages people, fish, music, song, costume, marriage ceremonies, language, customs, Siberian tribes, volcanoes, the coasts, and a profusion of others.

At the age of twenty, Kennan was traveling all around eastern Siberia with wandering natives on dogsleds and reindeer sleds,…


Midnight in Siberia

By David Greene,

Book cover of Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia

OK, I’ll confess. I have this Dr. Zhivago fantasy (that may also involve Julie Christie). I travelled more than 200 miles on the Trans-Siberian Railway while on a fellowship in Russia’s southern Urals. It was not as romantic a journey as I had expected—lots of forest and drunks in the restaurant car—but I wish I’d traveled further. David Greene, NPR’s former Moscow bureau chief, has traveled the whole line, more than 5,000 miles from Moscow to Vladivostok. It’s not the view from the train window of the landscape of Siberia—spectacular though it sometimes is—that drives the story along. It’s the people Greene meets, the stories of their lives and hardships, and how passengers traveling together day and night for almost a week cope with the journey and each other. 

Midnight in Siberia

By David Greene,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Midnight in Siberia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Far away from the trendy cafes, designer boutiques, and political protests and crackdowns in Moscow, the real Russia exists.

Midnight in Siberia chronicles David Greene's journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway, a 6,000-mile cross-country trip from Moscow to the Pacific port of Vladivostok. In quadruple-bunked cabins and stopover towns sprinkled across the country's snowy landscape, Greene speaks with ordinary Russians about how their lives have changed in the post-Soviet years.

These travels offer a glimpse of the new Russia-a nation that boasts open elections and newfound prosperity but continues to endure oppression, corruption, a dwindling population, and stark inequality.

We follow…


In the Kingdom of Ice

By Hampton Sides,

Book cover of In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

This is another history that drew me in with a tightly focused story — an 1879 expedition to reach the North Pole — then overwhelmed me with a slowly dawning realization: The expedition was sheer insanity based on assumptions that are whacky beyond belief but were state-of-the-art thinking less than a century and a half ago. George Washington De Long and his crew aboard the Jeanette left San Francisco expecting to spend a single winter trapped in the polar ice before popping into a temperate Arctic Sea and steaming their way straight to the apex of Planet Earth. Instead, the crew endured more than two years of almost unimaginable hardship. That any of them survived to tell the tale testifies to the indomitability of the human spirit.

In the Kingdom of Ice

By Hampton Sides,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In the Kingdom of Ice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The age of exploration was drawing to a close, yet the mystery of the North Pole remained. Contemporaries described the pole as the 'unattainable object of our dreams', and the urge to fill in this last great blank space on the map grew irresistible.In 1879 the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds and amid a frenzy of publicity. The ship and its crew, captained by the heroic George De Long, were destined for the uncharted waters of the Arctic.

But it wasn't long before the Jeannette was trapped in crushing pack ice. Amid the rush of…


The Great Soul of Siberia

By Sooyong Park,

Book cover of The Great Soul of Siberia

Sooyong Park spends years in the wilderness to monitor and track the last remaining Siberian tigers. He spends weeks in the middle of a freezing winter in a dug-out shelter to photograph these magnificent animals in their ever-diminishing wilderness. But neither the freezing weather nor climate change is the immediate problem for the tigers - poaching and human encroachment are destroying the habitat they need to live in to prevent interbreeding.  You could cry reading this book.

The Great Soul of Siberia

By Sooyong Park,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Great Soul of Siberia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There are five races of tiger on our planet and all but one live in tropical regions: the Siberian Tiger Panthera tigris altaica is the exception. Mysterious and elusive, and with only 350 remaining in the wild, the Siberian tiger remains a complete enigma. One man has set out to change this.

Sooyong Park has spent twenty years tracking and observing these elusive tigers. Each year he spends six months braving sub-zero temperatures, buried in grave-like underground bunkers, fearlessly immersing himself in the lives of Siberian tigers. As he watches the brutal, day-to-day struggle to survive the harsh landscape, threatened…


My Sister's Mother

By Donna Solecka Urbikas,

Book cover of My Sister's Mother: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Stalin's Siberia

My Sister’s Mother is a family memoir set against the backdrop of forced evictions and deportations of Poles to forced labor camps in frozen Siberia. Russia invaded Poland two weeks after Germany did, and the two powers divided Poland between their countries. Soviet communists murdered thousands of Polish citizens, Polish military, and in 1940 deported hundreds of thousands of civilian Poles, in freezing cattle cars, to forced labor camps in Siberia.

Urbikas’ mother and older sister faced impossible circumstances imposed by Stalin’s brutal policies against Poles. The core theme focuses on motherhood, the relationship between a mother and her daughter, and how far a woman will go to survive and protect her child. Then, the story transitions into the epilogue of war for thousands of Poles: life in a displaced persons camp and growing up with inherited trauma and the challenges common to first-generation Polish immigrants.

My Sister's Mother

By Donna Solecka Urbikas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Sister's Mother as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the 1950s, baby boomer Donna Solecka Urbikas grew up in the American Midwest yearning for a ""normal"" American family. But during World War II, her Polish-born mother and half sister had endured hunger, disease, and desperate escape from slave labor in Siberia. War and exile created a profound bond between mother and older daughter, one that Donna would struggle to find with either of them. In this unforgettable memoir, Donna recounts her family history and her own survivor's story, finally understanding the damaged mother who had saved her sister.


The Shaman

By Piers Vitebsky,

Book cover of The Shaman: Voyages of the Soul - Trance, Ecstasy and Healing from Siberia to the Amazon

Because of its beautiful presentation of this complex topic, the stunning illustrations and the superb, world-class knowledge the author brings to an enigmatic subject, in which the ability of certain individuals to access the spirit world is discussed. The theatre in which the author performs is worldwide, and, although shamanism differs hugely from the Americas to Siberia, from India to southern Africa, and way beyond, he brilliantly presents a cohesive and totally enthralling picture of the essential ingredients of shamanism: shape-shifting, ‘soul-flight’, healing through contact with the spirits, are just some of the themes covered in this short volume. The book engages academics as a sound starting-point for the understanding of what a shaman is but its concise style and gorgeous colour images will engage anyone remotely interested in world religions.

The Shaman

By Piers Vitebsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Shaman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A richly illustrated guide to the hidden world of the Shaman through the ages, from the snowscapes of Siberia to the jungles of the Amazon.


Comrade Pavlik

By Catriona Kelly,

Book cover of Comrade Pavlik: The Rise And Fall Of A Soviet Boy Hero

This book is intriguing as it reads like a historical detective mystery. Pavlik Morozov was murdered in Siberia and the Soviet state used the murder to further its propaganda effort to inculcate youth into proper modes of socialist behavior. He was turned into a martyr for the Soviet cause and some relatives were railroaded into confessing to his murder, however the author sheds considerable doubt that the true culprits were caught. The whole story reeks of cynicism and fickleness on the part of the powers that be as they tried to make an example of the life of Morozov.

Comrade Pavlik

By Catriona Kelly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Comrade Pavlik as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was September, 1932. Gerasimovka, Western Siberia. Two children are found dead in the forest outside a remote village. Both have been repeatedly stabbed and their bloody bodies are covered in sticky, crimson cranberry juice. Who committed these horrific murders has never been proved, but the elder boy, thirteen-year-old Pavlik Morozov, was quickly to become the most famous boy in Soviet history - statues of him were erected, biographies published, and children across the country were exhorted to emulate him. Catriona Kelly's aim is not to find out who really killed the boys, but rather to explore how Stalin's regime…


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