White Fever

A Journey to the Frozen Heart of Siberia

Jacek Hugo-Bader

Published: 3 May 2012
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 336 pages
ISBN: 9781846272707

Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones


This is the story of a journey like no other, as Jacek Hugo-Bader makes his way across Siberia, from Moscow to Vladivostok, in the middle of winter. Travelling alone in a modified Russian jeep, he traverses a continent that is two-and-a-half times bigger than America, awash with bandits and not always fully equipped with roads. Along the way, Hugo-Bader discovers a great deal of tragedy, but also plenty of dark humour among the reindeer shepherds, nomadic tribes, the former hippies, the shamans, and the followers of some of the many arcane religions that flourish in this isolated, impossible region.

About the author

Image of Jacek Hugo-Bader

Born in 1957, JACEK HUGO-BADER is a Polish journalist for the leading daily paper, Gazeta Wyborcza. An unconventional traveller, he has biked across Central Asia, the Gobi Desert, China and Tibet, and has kayaked across Lake Baikal. His journey by jeep from Moscow to Vladivostok in the winter of 2007 is described in his book, White Fever. More about the author


White Fever is a portrait of a country still in free fall, with the odd pocket of idealism or spirituality. Hugo-Bader spends time with shamans near Mongolia, the hippie community of Moscow and also with the followers of "one of the six Russian Christs", Vissarion. He has established a teetotal commune in Siberia where the women wash their husbands' feet each night. This is not travel-writing lite - no fridges being carried around countries or quirky postmodern takes on identity. The model remains a traditional one: go to a tough part of the world and tell us what it is like.’ Hugh Thomson



‘A funny, enlightening and thoroughly engaging piece of reportage... Clear-eyed and curious, Hugo-Bader offers a riveting tour of this benighted land.’

‘A witty, inspiring account of an odyssey from Moscow to Vladivostok, into the frozen heart of a dying continent, sparkling with vignettes of human endurance.’ Iain Finlayson

‘An extraordinary, compassionate piece of reportage.

‘Comparisons with Ryszard Kapuscinski are inevitable. I think he's just as good, if not better.’ Wendell Steavenson

‘Despite the deep psychological scars left by Stalin & Co as well as the utterly bleak prospects for its inhabitants, the region's dark, dark humour burns like home-brewed vodka on your throat.’

‘The author's madcap journey across the vast, unfathomable tracts of Siberia’

‘This gently devastating account of an odyssey is a gem.’

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