In Russia's Far East sits the wild Ussuri Kray, a region known for its remote highlands and rugged mountain passes where tigers and bears roam the cliffs, and salmon and lenok navigate the rivers. In this collection of travel writing by famed Russian explorer and naturalist Vladimir K. Arsenyev (1872-1930), readers are shuttled back to the turn of the 20th century when the Russian Empire was reeling from its defeat in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) and vulnerable to its Far Eastern neighbors. What began as an expedition to survey the region's infrastructure for the Russian military turned into an adventure through a territory rich in ethnic and ecological diversity. Encountering the disappearing indigenous cultures of the Nanai and Udege, engaging the help of Korean farmers and Chinese hunters, and witnessing the beginning of indomitable Russian settlement, Arsenyev documents the lives and customs of the region's inhabitants and their surroundings. Originally written as "a popular scientific description of the Kray", this unabridged edition includes photographs largely unseen for nearly a century and is annotated by Jonathan C. Slaght, a biologist working in the same forests Arsenyev explored. Across the Ussuri Kray is a classic of northeast Asian cultural and natural history.
Foreword: The Unknown Arsenyev / Ivan Yegorchev
Preface to the 1921 Edition
Part I: The 1902 Expedition
1. The Glass Valley
2. Meeting Dersu
3. The Boar Hunt
4. The Incident at a Korean Village
5. The Lower Reaches of the Lefu
6. The Blizzard at Lake Khanka
7. Parting Ways with Dersu
Part II: The 1906 Expedition
8. The 1906 Expedition—Preparations and Equipment
9. At the Departure Site
10. Up the Ussuri
11. From Chzhumtayza to the Village Zagornaya
12. The Route across the Mountains to the Village of Koksharovka
13. The Fudzin River Valley
14. Through the Taiga
15. The Great Forest
16. Across the Sikhote-Alin to the Sea
17. The Villages of Fudin and Permskoye
18. Saint Olga Bay
19. Trip to the Sydagou River
20. Adventure on the Arzamasovka River
21. Saint Vladimir Bay
22. The Tadusha River
23. Dersu Uzala
25. The Li-Fudzin
26. The Path along the Noto River
27. An Accursed Place
28. Return to the Sea
29. Up the Tyutikhe River
30. The Red Deer Rut
31. The Bear Hunt
32. From the Mutukhe River to Seokhobe
33. An Encounter with the Khunkhuz
34. Fire in the Forest
35. The Winter Expedition
36. To the Iman
37. A Dangerous River Voyage
39. From Vagunbe to Parovoza
40. The Final Trip
Appendix I: Historical and Current Names of Landmarks and Settlements
Appendix II: Biographical Information
Index of Plants and Animals
Vladimir K. Arsenyev (1872-1930) was a Russian naturalist who devoted thirty years to exploring the Russian Far East and describing the people and wildlife he encountered. His written works continue to inspire generations of Russians to explore and appreciate nature.
Jonathan C. Slaght is the Russia and Northeast Asia Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society and is the English-language editor of the Far-Eastern Journal of Ornithology. He studies Blakiston's fish owls, Amur tigers, and Siberian musk deer and writes a guest blog for Scientific American entitled "East of Siberia".
"In Russia's Far East sits the wild Ussuri Kray, a region known for its remote highlands and rugged mountain passes where tigers and bears roam the cliffs. In this collection of travel writing, readers are shuttled back to the turn of the 20th century when the Russian Empire was reeling from its defeat in the Russo-Japanese War and vulnerable to its neighbors. [...] A superb translation of a book about Russia's fascinating and little-known tiger forests [...] smooth and readable"
– George Schaller, Tibet Wild: A Naturalist's Journeys on the Roof of the World
"Arsenyev's narrative in Jonathan Slaght's fine translation should inspire us all to treasure and protect these remarkable places."
– Times Literary Supplement
"A translation that, in its fluency and readability, stands comparison with English-language classics of the genre [...] Slaght has done Arsenyev proud. The smooth translation doesn't read like one: it is seamless and colloquial while remaining entirely in tune with the style of period in which it was written."
– Asian Review of Books
"Excellent and accessible [...] Slaght follows in Arsenyev's snowy, muddy footsteps – preserving, but also teaching others to identify and appreciate what is unique. Thus the pleasure of reading his new translation lies in the details, which are abundant but never frivolous."
– LA Review of Books
"[This] translation makes it easy to see why Arsenyev maintains a fan base among Russian readers: his travelogue is both romantic and closely observed, and he is an appealing narrator, courageous but more than willing to admit faults and share credit."
– The New Yorker