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White Fever

A Journey to the Frozen Heart of Siberia

List Price: $16.95

October 9, 2012 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 336 Pages | ISBN 9781619020115
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“Funny, enlightening, and thoroughly engaging.” —Financial Times

No one in their right mind travels across Siberia in the middle of winter in a modified Russian jeep, with only a CD player (which breaks on the first day) for company. But Jacek Hugo-Bader is no ordinary traveler. As a fiftieth birthday present to himself, he sets out to drive from Moscow to Vladivostok, traversing a continent that is two and a half times bigger than America, awash with bandits, and not always fully equipped with roads. But if his mission sounds deranged it is in keeping with the land he is visiting. For Siberia is slowly dying — or, more accurately, killing itself. This is a traumatized post-Communist landscape peopled by the homeless and the hopeless: alcoholism is endemic, as are suicides, murders, and deaths from AIDS. As he gets to know these communities and speaks to the people, Hugo-Bader discovers a great deal of tragedy, but there is also dark humor to be found amongst the reindeer shepherds, the former hippies, the modern-day rappers, the homeless and the sick, the shamans, and the followers of ‘one of the six Russian Christs,’ just one of the many arcane religions that flourish in this isolated, impossible region.

About Jacek Hugo-Bader

JACEK HUGO-BADER, born in 1957, is a Polish journalist for the leading daily paper, Gazeta Wyborcza. He is a former special-needs teacher, loader of trucks, weigher of pigs, and counselor of troubled couples. He lives in Warsaw.


“Funny, enlightening, and thoroughly engaging.” —Financial Times

“An extraordinary, compassionate piece of reportage.” —Metro

“An excellent and intrepid reporter on a hellish odyssey.” —Spectator

“With an open ear and a wry eye, Hugo-Bader delivers a dismaying but vivid chronicle of post-Communist Siberia.” —Booklist

“Hugo-Bader is a journalist by trade and travelogue is only the pretext for this book, which takes a stark, shocking look at Russia’s lower depths, its homeless people, alcoholics, drug addicts, sex workers and HIV sufferers, among others . . . . No charming folk customs here, just the hard facts of life in the frozen Russian north.” —Kirkus

“Hugo-Bader is often clever…[and] this book is really a vehicle to introduce readers to a kaleidoscope of eccentric and colorful Russian characters.” —Library Journal

“Hugo-Bader is an amiable and observant guide on a painful and illuminating journey.” —Publishers Weekly

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