- Taschenbuch: 288 Seiten
- Verlag: Modern Library; Auflage: Expanded. (4. September 2001)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 067978361X
- ISBN-13: 978-0679783619
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,2 x 1,4 x 20,3 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 141.658 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
In the Land of White Death (Modern Library Exploration) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 4. September 2001
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In the early 20th-century era of daring polar exploration, the less-trumpeted fishing and hunting expeditions went largely unrecorded. Except, that is, for a recently discovered tale about a Russian hunter and his shipmate. Valerian Albanov's account of his 18-month-long survival in the Siberian Arctic remained unknown until a group of polar-literature enthusiasts rediscovered it in 1997. Translated into English for the first time, In the Land of White Death competes with the adventures of famed heroes Robert Falcon Scott, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, and Ernest Shackleton. And like Scott's and Cherry-Garrard's narratives, Albanov's tale is penned from a diary he kept during his remarkable ordeal.
Albanov's epic begins in 1914, after he leaves the Saint Anna, a sailing vessel bound for Vladivostok and new hunting territory, 7,000 miles across dangerous water. Only a few months into the voyage, the ship is trapped in pack ice, where it drifts helplessly with the Kara Sea ice flow for nearly one and a half years. With supplies dwindling and no hope of rescue, Albanov, the ship's navigator, and 13 of his colleagues leave the boat and the remaining crew to look for land. Outfitted with sleds and kayaks built from scavenged fragments of the Saint Anna, Albanov begins his 18-month trek to Franz Josef Land with a broken chronometer, scant supplies, and a team of inexperienced men.
Facing starvation, subzero temperatures, and the loss of most of his team, Albanov persists, searching for an outpost rumored to be at Cape Flora, 120 miles from his original starting point. He and his last surviving shipmate survive a litany of amazing mishaps: asleep on an ice flow, they are dumped into frozen water while bound in a sleeping bag; scurvy nearly kills Albanov only a few miles from his destination; and once help arrives, they're caught in the first skirmishes of World War I, a conflict of which they had no knowledge.
Albanov's experience is a brief, gripping account of a story that rivals the greatest survival tales in history. The diary style of his tale preserves its emotional authenticity as he trudges his way across the frozen Arctic, and his knack for clear detail only highlights the unbelievable fact that Albanov was lucid enough to write at all during his winter march across a deadly landscape. --Lolly Merrell -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.
"A beguiling and valuable record of polar exploration before the planes landed, and a miraculous testament to what the human spirit can achieve. Albanov's harrowing story is a welcome addition to the canon of polar literature."
-Sara Wheeler, author of Terra Incognita
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If you have already read "Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage" by Alfred Lansing, this book isn't quite as good, but it is an interesting contrast. (If you haven't, put Endurance on your must-read list!) The challenges faced were similar, though not quite as extended in Albanov's case.
This story starts in much the same way as the Endurance - a ship trapped in pack ice (though in this case in the Arctic). But this is where the story diverges. The biggest difference that you learn up-front is that only two people survived (compared to the whole crew on the Endurance!)
Albanov is the navigator but does not get along with the captain. As a result, after two winters (!) enduring their relationship and the worsening conditions, he asks for permission to build a kayak and sledge from scrap and set out on his own in search of land. Much to his disappointment, however, half the crew (even many of the weaker ones) ask to accompany him.
Their destination is "Cape Flora" about 120 miles away across pack ice. According to a polar explorer's diary from decades ago, Cape Flora once had a shelter and supplies. But they really don't even know if it still exists and exactly how to get there. And if it is still there - what then? But Albanov is able to focus on the immediate goal and not worry about the what if's.
Interestingly, the crew was not a group of explorers anticipating adventure, but opportunists looking to make money in the walrus-hunting trade. This could have contributed to their low survival rate. Albanov complains about his companions a lot - their laziness, stupidity. But from Albanov's first hand account, the reader can infer that he was a loner. I couldn't help but wonder whether a leader like Shackleton could have brought out the best in the group and had a higher chance of surviving.
Anyway, it is truly amazing that Albanov and one of his companions survive all the crazy challenges they are delt - snowblidness, hunger, cold, scurvy, lack of maps, drifting pack ice, angry walruses, almost drowning, and so on.
This is a short book, and a good page-turner. Although it's not as good as Endurance, it's still a good read.
Much of what is read about polar exploration is about American, or English, or Scandinavian exploits. The Russian Classic, In the Land of White Death (the title is the English translation of the title of the French version published in 1928), will make a great addition to any library on Arctic and Antarctic exploration.
Valerian Albanov is the Navigator on the Saint Anna which leaves Alexandrivsk (now Murmansk) in 1912 to traverse the Northeast Passage (something only accomplished once before at the time) on a hunting trip that was supposed to end in Valdivostok. But, a late start finds the Saint Anna frozen in the ice pack early that winter in the Kara Sea. After wintering 1913 stuck in the ice that is dragging them every northward, Albanov believes that the best chance of survival is for the crew to split in two - half to remain on the Saint Anna with her captain Greogiy Brusilov and wait the eventual (hopeful) passage of the ship into the Western Hemisphere to be freed near Greenland, while the other half - thirteen - follows Albanov on a trek across the ice pack southward towards Franz Josef Land, the archiplelago that was Fridtjof Nansen's Farthest North.
Albanov's account begins with his team's departure from the Saint Anna. The early part of the book is told in a narrative that Albanov wrote after the trek then quickly switches to his journal entries which are written with great clarity. Albanov's adventure brings them face-to-face with the harshest of dangers including being separated from the rest of his team on ice flows, constant attacks by Walruses (not always unprovoked), and treking with poorly made sledges that were built from scrap materials removed from the Saint Anna.
Albanov's writing style brings the reader into the adventure and when they trek for 15 hours southward some days only to find that the ice flow has taken them farther north than when they started, you feel their anguish.
A Guide to my Book Rating System:
1 star = The wood pulp would have been better utilized as toilet paper.
2 stars = Don't bother, clean your bathroom instead.
3 stars = Wasn't a waste of time, but it was time wasted.
4 stars = Good book, but not life altering.
5 stars = This book changed my world in at least some small way.
There are many points of similarity between this book and ENDURANCE: SHACKLETON'S INCREDIBLE VOYAGE, by Alfred Lansing, which describes the same sort of gritty survival journey achieved by Sir Ernest Shackleton and his 27 men after their ship, "Endurance" was trapped and crushed by Antarctic ice in 1915 during an abortive attempt to reach the South Pole. Notwithstanding the facts that Shackleton was a more charismatic leader, that Shackleton's men were of better mettle, and that their journey to safety was over a longer distance, the Albanov narrative remains a gripping, tautly told account of men against the elements. One of its chief attractions, for those with short attention spans or too many books to read, is its brevity --190 pages in small-format hardcover. Sadly, there is no photo section (as is included in ENDURANCE).
One might wonder why this tale took so long to be noticed by the reading public as opposed to various accounts of the Shackleton ordeal. Perhaps it's because it first had to be translated from Russian, or because Albanov, unlike Shackleton, died in obscurity, or because Shackleton was already a figure of some fame by 1915. Or because all of the Endurance's crew came back alive, while the Saint Anna's crew, well ... In any case, WHITE DEATH is a little gem of a book, and I unreservedly recommend it.
Thirteen started the perilous journey and two survived. The remainder on the Saint Anna are perhaps still locked in an icy death above the artic circle.
The book was written in Russian and later translated to French. Only recently was in translated into English after a copy was found in the Harvard library, unread for 68 years.
Albanov's diary, the basis for this later book, describes the ordeal, the wildlife encountered, the snow blindness, and the fatigue that lead to the deaths of many of the men.
I found the book to be a quick read. I was unable to put it down until I finished it.
Conrad B Senior