The Border: A Journey Around Russia Through North Korea, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway, and the Northeast Passage

Pegasus. Feb. 2021. 600p. ISBN 9781643136561. $35. TRAV
Fatland (Sovietstan) chronicles her travels through the nations that surround Russia and investigates the impact of the massive shadow cast over these smaller counties by Russia (and the Soviet Union before it). She writes knowledgably about the countries she passes through, and talks to locals about how their nations’s history has been shaped by Russia. Though broken into short chapters about specific locales, this book is difficult to read cover to cover; it is more effectively read in short bursts, one chapter per sitting. Fatland assumes that readers know the history of many of these countries, which can make it difficult to comprehend the snippets of background she offers. The result is that some of the chapters, like the ones about Chernobyl and North Korea, read quickly, while many of the other chapters can be difficult to wade through and place in world history.
VERDICT Will appeal to fans of travel books who enjoy additional background and history of destinations; particularly good for readers familiar with the areas around Russia.
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