In the Land of White Death by Valerian Albanov

In the Land of White Death: An Epic Story of Survival in the Siberian ArcticIn the Land of White Death: An Epic Story of Survival in the Siberian Arctic by Valerian Albanov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely one of my new favourite tales of survival in the Arctic. Albanov could have made it three times as long and it still would have been interesting. He is a natural poet and it delights me that this book is coming out of obscurity. While it was originally published in Russia in 1917 and in France in 1928, it seems an English edition didn’t exist until the new millennium. It’s mind boggling to think that, while Albanov’s first hand account of his adventure wasn’t published until three years later, he evidently wrote it only a month or so after being rescued. He nearly died! Everyone nearly died, and a month later he’s jotting notes from his diary about it. After surviving such hardships, you would think Albanov would be nearly unkillable, living to be 100 and dying just for the adventure. You would be wrong. He died in 1919 from…something. It was either typhoid or an exploding munitions wagon. I can understand the confusion, personally I always get those two mixed up.
Hopefully some time in the near future I’ll have a chance to really binge on polar exploration books and make a list (probably named “Nearly Everyone Died”) of my favourites; if I do this one will be very close to the top. If you’re researching polar exploration, or just really interested in it, please add this book to your list. You won’t be disappointed.

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