Tent Life in Siberia

A New Account of an Old Undertaking - Adventures among the Koraks and Other Tribes In Kamchatka and Northern Asia

Cover image for


Author: George Kennan
Published: 1910
Language: English
Wordcount: 135,233 / 399 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 51.1
LoC Category: G
Downloads: 1,106
Added to site: 2004.07.02
mnybks.net#: 8563
Genre: Travel

ontinents began to be earnestly discussed. The plan of Mr. Collins, which was submitted to the Western Union Telegraph Company of New York as early as 1863, seemed to be the most practicable of all the projects which were suggested for intercontinental communication. It proposed to unite the telegraphic systems of America and Russia by a line through British Columbia, Russian America, and north-eastern Siberia, meeting the Russian lines at the mouth of the Amur (ah-moor) River on the Asiatic coast, and forming one continuous girdle of wire nearly round the globe.

This plan possessed many very obvious advantages. It called for no long cables. It provided for a line which would run everywhere overland, except for a short distance at Bering Strait, and which could be easily repaired when injured by accident or storm. It promised also to extend its line eventually down the Asiatic coast to Peking, and to develop a large and profitable business with China. All these considerations recommended it strongly to the


Average Rating of 5 from 3 reviews: *****
Joel Zenzic

"Tent Life" is one of the greats of travel literature. Kennan provides vivid descriptions while avoiding the excesses of many of his contemporaries; and lightens and livens his account with a wry humor reminiscent of another contemporary, Mark Twain.

This work is one of very few accounts of travel in eastern Siberia; one of the least traveled parts of the world, even today. That Kennan's account is readable and enjoyable as well as unique is a wonder.

Very highly recommended.


This voyage diary is a great source about culture of the inhabitants of Siberia and Kamchatka, as well as a fascinating description of the lands. Finally, the story of the construction attempt of the world's longest telegraph land line is worth reading in itself.

Jim Rome

When the transatlantic cable broke, young Kennan was sent to build one across Siberia starting from Kamchatka. No one had ever been to these places before.

To succeed, he had to go into business. Reindeer were the currency of choice. Dogs were needed to pull sleds across the tundra. Each dog ate a salmon a day.

It is all fascinating, and he is a great writer. This book was a best-seller when he returned to the USA.

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