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Mueller, G.F., translated by C. Urness, Bering's Voyages: The Reports from Russia. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 1986. ISBN 0-912006-22-6. 23xl5cm., x, 221pp., illustrated, paper. (Signers' Hall - UAF, Fairbanks, AK 99775, $15.00)

This is the first English translation from the original German since 1764!  A detailed introduction sets the context for Bering's expedition, giving much information about the early exploration of eastern Siberia and northwest America.  There are fascinating insights into the Russian Academy of Sciences, made up mostly of foreigners.  Establishment of the Academy created a tension with the well-known Russian paranoia towards all things foreign.  Academicians were suspected, correctly, of smuggling maps to European firms such as Homann.  Still, the Academy was instrumental in promoting and recording eastward explorations.  The translation itself gives details of expeditions to Kamchatka and Alaska.  It is always edifying to read-original works unfiltered by historians.  In addition to the usual hair-raising expedition stories, there is much useful information about Pacific mapping, especially those ubiquitous but nonexistent lands so often seen on 18th century maps, such as Company Land and Da Gama's Land.  Several maps of the region are reproduced.  Recommended for those with interests in the region.

David C. Jolly, 1988
 

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