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On the Run in Siberia$
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Rane Willerslev

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816676262

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816676262.001.0001

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One Last, Feeble Attempt

One Last, Feeble Attempt

Chapter:
(p.xx) (p.1) One Last, Feeble Attempt
Source:
On the Run in Siberia
Author(s):

Rane Willerslev

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816676262.003.0001

This book documents the author’s efforts to “reverse Siberia’s entire history of brutal and ruthless exploitation of the indigenous trappers,” or what he calls his “last, feeble attempt to force life out of the taiga before it takes ours.” The author is referring to the the huge forest area stretching in a broad band across Siberia. This is an area of roughly 4.5 million square miles; there are places there where no human has ever set foot. With temperatures that can drop to minus 97 degrees Fahrenheit in January, this is the coldest place in the world that is inhabited—albeit sparsely—by people such as the Yukaghir. The ground is always frozen solid, covered by a 3,000-foot-thick cap of permafrost in which fossilized mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses, bison, and other ice-age giants lie hidden away. The people who live in this vast, harsh wilderness rely largely on hunting for a living. But the fur trade has collapsed in post-Communist Russia, a country that within a few years has turned from a superpower into pure anarchy.

Keywords:   taiga, Siberia, Yukaghir, wilderness, hunting, fur trade, Russia, anarchy

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