Into Siberia by Gregory Wallance

Into Siberia by Gregory Wallance
Gregory Wallance

Into Siberia | George Kennen’s Epic Journey Through the Brutal, Frozen Heart of Russia by Gregory Wallance details the story of George Kennan’s discovery of the plight of exiles in Russia.

In the late nineteenth century, close diplomatic relations existed between the United States and Russia. All that changed when George Kennan went to Siberia in 1885 to investigate the exile system and his eyes were opened to the brutality Russia was wielding to suppress dissent.

Over ten months, Kennan traveled eight thousand miles, mostly in horse-drawn carriages, sleighs or on horseback. He endured suffocating sandstorms in the summer and blizzards in the winter. His interviews with convicts and political exiles revealed how Russia ran on the fuel of inflicted pain and fear. Prisoners in the mines were chained day and night to their wheelbarrows as punishment. Babies in exile parties froze to death in their mothers’ arms. Kennan came to call the exiles’ experience in Siberia a “perfect hell of misery.”

After returning to the United States, Kennan set out to generate public outrage over the plight of the exiles, writing the renowned Siberia and the Exile System. He then went on a nine-year lecture tour to describe the suffering of the Siberian exiles, intensifying the newly emerging diplomatic conflicts between the two countries which last to this day. In a book that ranks with the greatest adventure stories, Gregory Wallance’s Into Siberia is a thrilling work of history about one man’s harrowing journey and the light it shone on some of history’s most heinous human rights abuses.

Gregory Wallance is a lawyer and writer in New York City. He is the author of Papa’s Game, about the theft of the French Connection heroin, which received a nonfiction nomination for an Edgar Allan Poe Award, America’s Soul in the Balance, The Woman Who Fought an Empire, and the historical novel Two Men Before the Storm. He has written op eds for The New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal, has appeared as a commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and The Today Show, and is currently a Contributor for The Hill.

  • ISBN:  9781250280053
  • 304 pages
  • December 5, 2023

Published by:  St. Martin’s Press

The Siberian Adventure That Soured U.S.-Russia Relations | New York Times Book Review

New York Times Book Review

Gregory Wallance’s “Into Siberia” traces the journalist George Kennan’s long-forgotten trip to Russia in 1885.

By W. M. Akers | December 7, 2023

“Into Siberia,” Gregory Wallance’s new biography of Kennan, convincingly portrays him as one of the 19th century’s most influential journalists, arguing that “Siberia and the Exile System,” his account of his 1885-86 journey, was what first soured American relations with Russia. (Kennan was related to George F. Kennan, the Cold War-era diplomat who would later make his own mark on the Russo-American relationship.) In Wallance’s bracing narrative, Kennan emerges as a cheerful, deeply decent companion, an uncompromising observer whose greatest strength was his ability to change his mind. He’s a welcome change from the callous imperialists who people most Victorian travelogues, and his humanity allows “Into Siberia” to delve into horror without succumbing to despair.

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