Midnight in Siberia

  • by David Greene
  • Narrated by David Greene
  • 7 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

After two and a half years as NPR’s Moscow bureau chief, David Greene travels across the country - a 6,000 mile journey by rail, from Moscow to the Pacific port of Vladivostok - to speak with ordinary Russians about how their lives have changed in the post-Soviet years. Reaching beyond the headline-grabbing protests in Moscow, Green speaks with a group of singing babushkas from Buranovo, a teenager hawking “space rocks” from last spring’s meteor shower in Chelyabinsk, and activists battling for environmental regulation in the pollution-choked town of Baikalsk. Through the stories of fellow travelers, Greene explores the challenges and opportunities facing the new Russia: a nation that boasts open elections and newfound prosperity yet still continues to endure oppression, corruption, and stark inequality.
Set against the wintery landscape of Siberia, Greene’s lively travel narrative offers a glimpse into the soul of 20th century Russia: how its people remember their history and look forward to the future.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Long String of NPR Short Reports

The cadence, inflection and timing of the narration by the author is exactly the same style as short reports often heard on NPR. This style is fine in small news reports but for almost 8 hours it becomes tedious. Further, it made each clipped story of injustice, criminal behavior, and maltreatment sound completely the same.

I found the book to be a simple retelling of loosely connected events in a news reporter style with little or no insight or personal feeling and texture drawn into the telling. These are discouraging and sad stories. After three hours, listening became totally unbearable and even boring. What's more, several of the events addressed in this book are things I know about, and I have watched moving documentaries covering the stories in rich detail. Green's retelling of these same events was dry and soul-less. To me this is a relentlessly unhappy book that I can't finish or recommend.
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- Sara

The intensity of encountering modern Russia

If you could sum up Midnight in Siberia in three words, what would they be?

Insightful, moving, relevant

Who was your favorite character and why?

You meet so many marvelous Russian individuals, but the favorite character who emerges is modern Russia, herself.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

In 2007 I spent 3 months in Russia as an American with little prior understanding of the country, and this book vividly brought back many feelings from that time. I was so grateful to recognize what I had seen and felt while there in a fellow traveler's experience. I recognized the culture-shock, and realization that there is this vast nation on the other side of the world about which most of us know very little, and that these people have a history and point of view that is unique and completely fascinating. It was very moving.

Any additional comments?

David Greene captures so many elements of the culture, from confusing idiosyncrasies of day-to-day Russian life, to a deeper, insidious mindset that holds fast to a nation of people beaten down by decades (or centuries, really) of political repression. By travelling via third class railway tickets across the country, Greene offers a unique perspective that cannot be found by studying Russian history or following the news. You learn about the state of humanity in this nation. While watching the development of post-soviet Russia from afar, it can be completely perplexing for a westerner to grasp such things as Putin's high approval rating, or a wave of seemingly anti-democratic, anti-western sentiment from the country. This book helps make sense of a nation of people who have been closed to America for so much of the 20th century, and it's incredibly relevant for any American who wants to better understand who those people are.

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- Amber Vaughn Robinson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-20-2014
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books