The Shaman's Coat

The Shaman's Coat

A Native History of Siberia

Book - 2003
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The fascinating history of an unknown people

A vivid mixture of history and reporting, The Shaman's Coat tells the story of some of the world's least-known peoples--the indigenous tribes of Siberia. Russia's equivalent to the Native Americans or Australian Aborigines, they divide into two dozen different and ancient nationalities--among them Buryat, Tuvans, Sakha, and Chukchi. Though they number more than one million and have begun to demand land rights and political autonomy since the fall of communism, most Westerners are not even aware that they exist.

Journalist and historian Anna Reid traveled the length and breadth of Siberia--one-twelfth of the world's land surface, larger than the United States and Western Europe combined--to tell the story of its people. Drawing on sources ranging from folktales to KGB reports, and on interviews with shamans and Buddhist monks, reindeer herders and whale hunters, camp survivors and Party apparatchiks, The Shaman's Coat travels through four hundred years of history, from the Cossacks' campaigns against the last of the Tatar khans to native rights activists against oil development. The result is a moving group portrait of extraordinary and threatened peoples, and a unique and intrepid travel chronicle.

Publisher: New York : Walker & Co., 2003
Copyright Date: ©2002
ISBN: 9780802713995
Branch Call Number: 957.004 R2721S 2003
Characteristics: xiii, 226 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm


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SPPL_János Mar 21, 2018

The diverse indigenous people of Siberia are some of the world's least-known cultures, and they remain at arm's length in Reid's tantalizing but frustrating account of their tragic history and her own travels in post-Soviet Siberia. Her research was clearly hampered by the one-sided (and relentlessly depressing) historical sources as well as the reticence of both white and native Siberians around a British reporter.

Feb 28, 2018

I was a bit disappointed & didn't turn out to be what I had thought. Quick return.

Apr 02, 2015

Smoothly and sympathetically written, but a bit too journalistic-y for my taste... one can only wish it were longer.

Jul 21, 2012

Brilliant! Well researched and written! Read this after reading her book about the siege. Also recommended!


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