The Shaman's Coat
A Native History of Siberia
By Anna Reid
(Walker & Company, Hardcover, 9780802713995, 224pp.)
Publication Date: October 2002
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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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.
Anna Reid holds a master’s degree in Russian history and reform economics from London University’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies. She was the Kiev correspondent for the Economist and the Daily Telegraph from 1993 to 1995. Her first book, Borderland: A Journey through the History of the Ukraine, was published to wide acclaim in 1997. Ms. Reid lives in London.