"The quality of articles is uniformly high... Editors Diment and Slezkine are to be congratulated for their selection of articles and for the ability to bring them together successfully into a unified and edifying whole." Slavic and East European Journal.
"The editors and authors of this collection are to be congratulated on their innovative approach and the most interesting results they have presented... Between Heaven and Hell
is a timely and most welcome contribution to the thorny problems of cultural perception and the construction of national identity." -- Slavic Review
"This collection of essays, ably and efficiently edited by Professors Diment and Slezkine, is an admirable and welcome addition to literature about Siberia." -- Russian Review
From the Back Cover
Siberia has no history of independent political existence, no claim to a separate ethnic identity, and no clear borders. And yet, in some very important sense, the elusive country "behind the Urals" is the most real and the most durable part of the Russian landscape. For centuries, Siberia has been represented as Russia's alter ego, as the heavenly or infernal antithesis to the perceived complexity or shallowness of Russian life. It has been both the frightening heart of darkness and a fabulous land of plenty; the "House of the Dead" and the realm of utter freedom; a frozen wasteland and a colorful frontier; a dumping ground for Russia's rejects and the last refuge of its lost innocence. The contributors to Between Heaven and Hell examine the origin, nature, and implications of these images from historical, literary, geographical, anthropological, and linguistic perspectives. They create a fascinating picture of this enormous and mysterious land.