Arctic Mirrors: Radical Evil and the Power of Good in History


Product Details

Cornell University Press
Publish Date
6.42 X 9.56 X 1.38 inches | 1.92 pounds

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About the Author

Yuri Slezkine is the Jane K. Sather Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley.


Engagingly written and with much ironic wit throughout, Arctic Mirrors is a pleasure to read.

-- "Journal of Historical Geography"

In this great book, Slezkine has provided us with a comprehensive history of the encounter between the Russians and the indigenous peoples of the Arctic and northwestern Pacific.... Arctic Mirrors has already become required reading for anyone interested in the history or anthropology of Siberia, and it will soon establish itself as an invaluable contribution to the growing field of studies on the newly independent states.

-- "American Anthropologist"

Slezkine concentrates on the changing face of the Soviet Union in the microcosm of the northern people: from 'savage Indians' to the slow evolution from icebound hunters and trappers to industrialized laborers.... An invaluable look at the people the totalitarian Soviets forgot.

-- "Booklist"

This book sheds light on the history of a neglected people and reveals Russian self-perceptions refracted through the prism of their attitudes toward the natives.... It is a beautifully written, fascinating book that greatly enhances our understanding of Russia as a multiethnic state.

-- "American Historical Review"

This enlightening book should be read by all interested in the (former) Soviet north, northern people in general, or the relation between nation states and the various 'small peoples' of the earth.

-- "Ethnohistory"

This fascinating and authoritative book covers the history of relations between Russian civilization and the hunter-gatherer peoples of northern Eurasia. Slezkine charts changing Russian policies toward these circumpolar cultures beginning with the fur trade... in the eleventh century, through the expansion of the Russian empire under the tsars, to the modernization policies of the Soviets. He argues that attention to this kind of history reveals as much about the construction of Russian identity as it does about the cultural identity of the northern 'others.' This book is an important addition to the growing literature on comparative colonialisms.

-- "Virginia Quarterly Review"