I was a huge fan of his articles about Russia in the New Yorker, so I was excited to read this. I was expecting it to be a collection of essays. It wasn't! I think I might have liked it more if it had been.
The New Yorker pieces were really just excerpts, more than essays, and the book adds a lot of Russian history, to kind of put everything into context. I could have done without the context! I mainly just wanted to hear about his travels & experiences, and found myself skimming a lot (most) of the history. His encounters-, with the landscape, with the people, with the culture, were great, totally came alive. The history not so much. Would love a director's cut of this book.