“One helluva read.”—Newsweek • “Gripping.”—Outside • “Spellbinding.”—Associated Press • “Powerful.”—New York
In 1912, the Saint Anna, a Russian exploration vessel in search of fertile hunting grounds, was frozen into the polar ice cap, trapping her crew aboard. For nearly a year and a half, they struggled to stay alive. As all hope of rescue faded, they realized their best chance of survival might be to set out on foot, across hundreds of miles of desolate ice, with their lifeboats dragged behind them on sledges, in hope of reaching safety. Twenty of them chose to stay aboard; thirteen began the trek; of them all, only two survived.
Originally published in Russia in 1917, In the Land of White Death was translated into English for the first time by the Modern Library to widespread critical acclaim. As well as recounting Albanov’s vivid, first-person account of his ninety-day ordeal over 235 miles of frozen sea, this expanded paperback edition contains three newly discovered photographs and an extensive new Epilogue by David Roberts based on the never-before-published diary of Albanov’s only fellow survivor, Alexander Konrad. As gripping as Albanov’s own tale, the Epilogue sheds new light on the tragic events of 1912–1914, brings to life many of those who perished (including the infamous captain Brusilov and nurse Zhdanko, the only woman on board), and, inadvertently, reveals one new piece of information—about the identity of the traitors who left Albanov for dead—that is absolutely shocking.
“Poetic.”—The Washington Post • “A lost masterpiece.”—Booklist • “A jewel of polar literature.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer • “Vivid . . . [a work of] terrifying beauty.”—The Boston Globe
Between 1912 and 1914, as navigator aboard the doomed Santa Anna, Albanov completed one of the most amazing journeys in the history of Arctic exploration. After the Russian ship became frozen in the polar ice cap, Albanov led 13 members of his ship's crew across the ice and back to civilization. A friend convinced him to publish the harrowing account of how he survived. Although the book was originally published in Russian in 1917, and subsequently translated into French and German, this is its first translation into English. This is a particularly surprising turn, considering the quality of Albanov's writing. Fast-paced yet descriptive, Albanov's prose skillfully depicts the Siberian arctic so the reader can envision his plight. Albanov resists the temptation to embellish his situation, keeping his account true to the diary he kept while making the journey. The reader ends up sympathizing with, but not feeling sorry for, the author, who made the return voyage using makeshift sledges and kayaks and broken navigational equipment, and who dealt with a team of incompetent companions, all but one of whom died on the journey. Here is a vivid portrait of a courageous leader, a skilled explorer and a practical problem solver. 100,000 first printing.