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Article

Review of Janet M. Hartley. Siberia: A History of the People. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2014. Pp. xx, 289

American Historical Review. 2016. Vol. 121. No. 2. P. 678-679.

This book’s claim to difference is its focus on “how people lived” and it clearly achieves this goal in a concise but holistic English-language account of Siberian history. It is not quite social history but rather a depiction of the pragmatic aspects of life. Janet M. Hartley covers housing, diets, and coping with long-distance travel in conjunction with key historical events from Yermak Timofoyevich’s expedition in the 1580s and Mikhail Speranski’s reforms of the 1820s to Soviet socialism. Equally important, the book does not aim to be comprehensive but to provide a sense of the diversity of ways of life in different locations (villages, towns, garrisons); among different population groups (Cossacks, exiles, explorers, missionaries, Soviet workers, and academics); and around projects such as railway construction, collectivization, and the making of the new Soviet citizen.