Greetings, intrepid travelers!
For this year's Prairie Home cruise to the Baltic capitals, we will once again have educators of multiple stripes aboard to offer a truly eclectic menu of activities. As always, we have naturalists — a bird guy, an ocean gal, and a plant guy — as well as four new lecturers who will readily help you connect with the places through which we travel. We'll explore some of our Midwestern roots, significant works of art, and history, without which much of the culture of the Midwest would not have been so enriched.
To help get the travel bug under your skin (as if it wasn't there already), we offer a slew of resources. The list is wide-ranging, including: fiction, history (human, art, and natural), field guides, films, and more. There is even a selection for children and the children at heart (specifically, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils and the books of Hans Christian Andersen)!
Why not plan a trip to your local bookstore before the cruise so that when you kick back on the deck chairs under the northern sun with a good book in your lap, there will be a semblance of purpose other than snoozing.
Happy reading, and we look forward to sailing together.
Natalie, Rich, Lytton, Annette, Jon, Paul, Stephen
The cruise naturalists always have a mix of suggestions to root you to the place! Consider the following selections suggested by Rich MacDonald and Natalie Springuel (and for those of you who traveled on the Norway cruise a few years back, some of these suggestions come from that cruise's geologist!).
Atlas of Cetacean Distribution in North-West European Waters (2003), edited by Reid, Evans, and Northridge
With excellent range and sightings maps, this thin but complete atlas introduces cetaceans (whales, porpoises, and dolphins) encountered in the waters between the bottom half of Norway and the North Sea. Note: This book is more about population status and distribution than field identification.
The National Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals of the World (2002), by Brent S. Stewart, Phillip J. Clapham, James A. Powell, and Randall R. Reeves
Cruise naturalist Natalie Springuel says, "No matter where I travel in this world of oceans, hands down this is my favorite guide to whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and other marine mammals."
Whales, Dolphins, and Other Marine Mammals of the World (2006), by Hadoram Shirihai and Brett Jarrett
This title from Princeton Field Guides is Rich's new favorite for identifying the charismatic megafauna of the marine world.
Whale (2006), by Joe Roman
Whales have inspired humans for millennia. One of Natalie's favorites, this pocket-sized book traces the relationship between humans and whales, from Jonah to Moby-Dick to "Save the Whales" to the modern whale hunt. Full of great illustrations, too.
Birds of Europe (2000), by Killian Mullarney, Lars Svensson, Dan Zetterström, and Peter J. Grant
In the opinion of cruise naturalist Rich MacDonald, this is the field guide that sets the standard: it not only has excellent color plates of the nearly 850 birds of Europe, it also shows a wider variety of plumages than most, and the text is far more detailed than that of typical field guides to which we are accustomed. Best of all, they have packed all of this into a size that fits in most coat pockets. (This is the version published in the United States; the same book was published in Europe by HarperCollins under the title Bird Guide.)
Flight Identification of European Seabirds (2003), by Anders Blomdahl, Bertil Breife, and Niklas Holmström
Seabirds, such as those we are likely to see from the ship, come in a wide variety of shapes and forms. This is the guide to study to help tell your skuas from your storm-petrels and more.
The Hamlyn Guide to Trees of Britain and Europe (1981), by C.J. Humphries, J.R. Press, and D.A. Sutton
This guide covers the native tree species of Scandinavia, and a whole lot more (the palms on the last few pages, for example, do grow in northern latitudes).
The Wildflower Key: How to Identify Wild Plants, Trees, and Shrubs in Britain and Ireland, revised edition (2006), by Francis Rose and Clare O'Reilly
An illustrated field guide to the wildflowers of Britain and northwest Europe. The only Scandinavia-specific flower guide that Rich has found in English, it covers primarily mountain flora, a bit limiting for coastal voyagers.
The Ice Age World: An Introduction to Quaternary History and Research (1994), by Bjørn G. Andersen and Harold W. Borns, Jr.
This easy-to-read book introduces the history of the Ice Age and the geological history of the past 2.5 million years with excellent photographs and illustrations, too.
"The Last Interglacial/Glacial Cycle in Northern Europe," by J. Mangerud, pp. 38–73, in: Quaternary Landscapes, edited by Linda C.K. Shane and Edward J. Cushing (1991)
This is one short paper in a series compiled for this book. It addresses the glacial history of Northern European regions.
Naturalists like literature too!
A History of Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland (2000), by T.K Derry
A historical overview of Scandinavia from prehistory to the present day.
A Viking Voyage (2000), by W. Hodding Carter
Carter recounts his adventures in re-creating a square-rigged Viking cargo ship, the likes of which Leif Eriksson sailed to Vinland, and sailing it across the Atlantic to L'Anse aux Meadows in the present-day Newfoundland. A wondrous read, sometimes silly, always intriguing, it made Rich want to be a Viking, too.
Books and stories by Hans Christian Andersen
Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875) is best known for his fairytales, including The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Match-Seller, The Tinderbox, and The Ugly Duckling.
The Wonderful Adventures of Nils (1906/1907), by Selma Lagerlöf
This wonderful book by a Swedish author sees troublesome young Nils Holgersson turned into a tomte, a sort of troll, who is then beset by the very animals he long tormented. He befriends a domestic goose and together they join a flock of migrating geese across Sweden. This book reflects the author's keen interest in geography and natural history, and is an entertaining read for any age.
A Year in Lapland: Guest of the Reindeer Herders (2001), by Hugh Beach
Beach spends a year living with the Sami, Scandinavia's original settlers, who still herd reindeer for a living. Great for anyone who's curious about how a nomadic people grapple with life in the 20th century.
The Michelin motoring and tourist map to Scandinavia and Finland (#711 in the Michelin National series)
At a scale of 1:1,500,000, this map folds out to 5 feet, giving an excellent representation of the landscape.
Natural history museums:
What better way to delve into the natural history of a country than to start your exploration at its natural history museum? Here is a sampling of some of the museums in the cities we will be visiting:
- Estonian Museum of Natural History
- Finnish Museum of Natural History
- Humboldt Museum (Berlin, Germany), officially: Museum für Naturkunde— Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
- Natural History Museum (London)
- Natural History Museum of Denmark
- Swedish Museum of Natural History and Cosmonova
- Zoological Museum of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (in Russian; for English language information, search for it on TripAdvisor).
Cruise botanist Lytton Musselman offers his own eclectic list of resources:
Earthwise: A Guide to Hopeful Creation Care (2006), by Calvin B. DeWitt
There are many books on deep ecology and religious aspects of environmentalism. This is an inexpensive and widely respected book from a Christian perspective. Similar guides are available for Islam, Sufi, Buddhism, and more.
Figs, Dates, Laurel, and Myrrh: Plants of the Bible and Quran (2007), by Lytton Musselman (yes, that Lytton, our very own cruise botanist!)
In describing this book, Lytton writes: "Shameless self-promotion — though the foreword by Garrison Keillor is worth the price of the book." This is a well-illustrated survey of all the known plants of both holy books.
Linnaeus: The Compleat Naturalist (2002), by Wilfrid Blunt
Linnaeus, the father of botany, is a national hero in Sweden and his immeasurable influence in science continues. Linnaeus' students traveled throughout the world collecting plants and establishing botany as a science apart from medicine with which it was historically linked. There may be opportunity to visit Uppsala, the university town north of Stockholm where Linnaeus (Linné) was a professor. His country house is open to the public.
Longleaf, Far as the Eye Can See: A New Vision of North America's Richest Forest (2012), by Bill Finch, Beth Maynor Young, Rhett Johnson, and John C. Hall
Filled with stunning photographs, this book reflects the present interest in restoring longleaf and the longleaf ecosystem after many years of decline and little interest by foresters or landowners.
Looking for Longleaf: The Fall and Rise of an American Forest (2006), by Lawrence S. Earley
This is a readable account of the legacy of longleaf pine, emphasizing its economic and ecologic value.
Botanical gardens and museums:
For those looking for a photosynthetic experience, Lytton has offered a few public gardens and botanical museums:
- Royal Botanical Gardens, in London, has the world's largest collection of plants.
- The Botanical Garden is part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen.
- Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum is located in Berlin.
- Komarov Botanical Institute, in St. Petersburg, with extensive glasshouses and gardens, is one of the world's premier botanical gardens. Lytton says, "The Komarov should not be missed."
Cruise lecturer Annette Atkins, who studies the patterns and stories of immigration, states that some people say all American literature not written by Native Americans could be considered "immigrant" literature. That list would clearly be far too long to even begin to include here, so she suggests these greatly pared-down offerings:
The Bread Givers (1925), by Anzia Yezierska
A largely autobiographical novel about this Russian-Jewish emigrant in the early 1900s. She also has a terrific short story, "America and I" (1923), that can be downloaded/read on Google.
Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World (1998), by Mark Kurlansky
A lively and engaging read exploring the pivotal role the cod-fishing industry played in the exploration and settlement of North America. Kurlansky is a master of pulling together many threads and telling a great story.
The Emigrants (1951), Unto a Good Land (1954), and The Settlers (1961), all by Vilhelm Moberg
These three books chronicle the experience of a Swedish family of emigrants, their transition into "immigrants," and then into "Americans."
Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie (1927) and Boat of Longing (1921), both by Ole Rölvaag
Originally written in Norwegian, then translated into English, these novels offer excellent accounts of the rural life (Giants) and urban life (Boat) of 19th-century Scandinavian immigrants.
John Winthrop: Biography as History (2009), by Francis J. Bremer
An excellent short biography of one of the most important of the Puritan emigrants.
The Master Butchers Singing Club (2003), by Louise Erdrich
A powerful novel about a German family's adjustment to America (and to World War I).
My Ántonia (1918), by Willa Cather
One of Annette's favorite books of all times, My Ántonia introduces a Bohemian immigrant family as they try to adjust to farm life in Nebraska.
Out of This Furnace: A Novel of Immigrant Labor in America (1941), by Thomas Bell
A terrific novel about three generations of a Slovakian immigrant family and their lives in the factories and mills of Pennsylvania.
The Peopling of British North America (1998), by Bernard Bailyn
An introduction and quick survey of the early white settlement of North America by a premier American historian.
A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America (2005), by James E. McWilliams
This is an offbeat way into understanding how food created "America" out of so many immigrants.
The Rise of David Levinsky (1917), by Abraham Cahan
A classic novel about a Russian-Jewish man's experience of growing up in Russia and immigrating to the U.S.
The Uprooted: The Epic Story of the Great Migrations That Made the America People (1952), by Oscar Handlin
This book won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1952. It still does a good job of capturing the human costs paid by emigrants and their children in the "new world."
Wordy Shipmates (2009), by Sarah Vowell
A rollicking, slightly irreverent, but very smart account of the "idea" of America, as introduced by the Puritans and picked up by generations of Americans. (You may recognize her name as one of the storytellers on WBEZ's This American Life.)
PBS's series on God in America includes an excellent introduction to the Puritans and Pilgrims.
The Emigrants (1971), directed by Jan Troell
An adaptation of Moberg's series is worth watching, if only for Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann.
I Remember Mama (1948), directed by George Stevens
A film that tells the story of a Norwegian family in San Francisco.
The New World (2005), directed by Terrence Malick
This film gives a not entirely historically dependable account of the founding of Jamestown (Virginia), but is watchable and gives a good feel for some of the conditions.
Sweet Land (2005), directed by Ali Selim, the Minnesota-born son of an Egyptian immigrant
This film adaptation of a Will Weaver short story ("A Gravestone Made of Wheat") tells a story about a German immigrant in a Scandinavian community in Minnesota.
Many Hollywood movies focus especially on emigration/immigration. Here are a few examples:
The Immigrant (Charlie Chaplin; 1917)
The Godfather, Parts 1 and 2 (1972 and 1974)
In America (2003)
Moscow on the Hudson (1984)
The Visitor (2008)
Cruise lecturer Jon Wiant is a retired spy with a passion for intrigue and espionage. Here are some of his suggestions:
Hitler's Savage Canary: A History of the Danish Resistance in World War II (2014), by David Lampe and Birger Riis-Jørgensen
Recently reissued in paperback, this remains the best English-language account of the Danish resistance.
Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery (2011), by James R. Benn
As mysteries go, this is not first rate. It does, however, treat the real tensions in the Norwegian resistance movements that confounded the U.S./U.K. command and were also exploited by Norway's allies. For those interested in the World War II military history of Denmark, Norway, and Finland, this is a fine, condensed account of the German invasions. If this book appeals, there is a whole series of Billy Boyle World War II mysteries. Also see Douglas Dildy's Denmark and Norway 1940: Hitler's Boldest Operation, and Philip Jowett and Brent Snodgrass' Finland at War 1939–45.
OSS Operations in Norway: Skis and Daggers (2013), by William E. Colby
This is future Director of Central Intelligence Bill Colby's personal account of his secret OSS operation in Norway. Available as an e-book or PDF.
Battleground Berlin: CIA vs. KGB in the Cold War (1997), by David E. Murphy, Sergei A. Kondrashev, and George Bailey
This work of post-Cold War collaboration of former intelligence opponents is a fascinating account of CIA and KGB working against each other. It is also an extraordinary account of how the German intelligence services created by the CIA and KGB became tails that regularly wagged the dog.
Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda (2009), by Robert Wallace, H. Keith Melton, Henry R. Schlesinger, and George J. Tenet
This insider's account of the technical revolution in intelligence collection is fascinating.
The Danish Solution (2003), directed by Karen Cantor and Camilla Kjærulff, narrated by Garrison Keillor
A film documenting how the Jews of Denmark managed to escape falling victim to Hitler's Third Reich.
Military history museums:
If you are curious about the military and political history of the region, Jon suggests a visit to these museums:
- Military Museum (part of Finland's National Defense University) is the largest military museum in Finland.
- Norway's Resistance Museum is one of the best museums on resistance to the Nazis in World War II; it deals forthrightly with Norwegian collaborators as well.
- Museum of Political History is a post-Cold War museum with collections including the old Museum of the Revolution and treats the collapse of the Soviet Union.
- Museum of Defense and the Siege of Leningrad is a small yet powerful museum interpreting the 900-day siege of Leningrad.
- Occupation Museum of Aarhus, in the building that housed Gestapo Headquarters, illustrates everyday life under Nazi occupation. It also includes several exhibits on the resistance in northern Denmark.
- Army Museum is an extraordinary museum because of its philosophical exhibits on conflict and the evolution of war.
Cruise lecturer Paul Daniels is our expert in Scandinavian art, architecture, and design. Here are some of his suggestions:
Art of the Baltics: The Struggle for Freedom of Artistic Expression Under the Soviets, 1945–1991 (2001), edited by Alla Rosenfeld
This is an important survey of the work produced by artists in the Baltic countries during the period of Soviet domination.
The Rough Guide to the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (2004)
Lonely Planet Guide: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (2004)
Either the Rough Guide Series or the Lonely Planet Series are great sources of information for the traveler who wants more in-depth information on places visited, especially on areas of culture and social life.
In Another Light: Danish Painting in the Nineteenth Century (2007), by Patricia G. Berman
This is a recent and well-regarded treatment of painting in Denmark's "Golden Age."
Scandinavian Modern Design 1880–1980 (1982), by David Revere McFadden
This is good overview of all of the Scandinavian countries' design contributions, but particularly strong on Danish design.
Babette's Feast, (1987), directed by Gabriel Axel
This haunting film is about finding beauty and grace in the midst of harsh 19th-century Danish village life. It's effective at showing how light, and the lack of it, affects all aspects of Scandinavian life.
Mad Men (2007–2014), created by Matthew Weiner
This AMC television series is full of mid-century (1940s to 1970s) modern design, but especially highlights Danish design.
This is the official website of Denmark. It's a good, general introduction to the country, its art, architecture, and design.
Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy (2007), by Erik D. Weitz
This is a comprehensive study of the Weimar Republic from its beginnings in the rubble of WWI to the rise of the Nazi Party. It covers politics, economics, art, religion, and societal changes. Even so, it is a highly readable work that takes seriously the lasting contributions of this energetic, creative, and ultimately, doomed, period in German history.
Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider (1968), by Peter Gay
Peter Gay is widely considered an authority on the Weimar period, with this book being one of several he has written on the topic. The focus of this book is on the wildly creative, "convention-breaking" nature of art, music, and theater in the Weimar era and why this was possible in that time and place.
The Berlin Stories (1945), by Christopher Isherwood
This is the semi-autobiographical work of the British writer and expatriate, Christopher Isherwood. It details life from many angles in Berlin during the late-1920's and early 1930's and served as the inspiration for the play and film, Cabaret.
M (1931) and Metropolis (1927), by the great expressionist director, Fritz Lang
These films capture the jarring visual experimentation of the era in powerful ways.
Nosferatu (1921) and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), directed by F.W. Murnau
These films also a central figure in expressionist film, are still classics of the horror genre.
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City contains many examples of German Expressionist art and profiles of the artists themselves.
The Neue Galerie in New York City is a collection of German and Austrian art from the period just preceding the Weimar Republic and including it. Like the Museum of Modern Art, this museum often features artists of the period in their exhibitions and supports their study with a fine bookstore.
The subjects of art, architecture, and design are so large for a country as vast and diverse as Russia that Annette suggests readers explore the excellent travel books, such as those listed above for the Baltic countries, as well as the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Russia. This latter book, by Dorling Kindersley, is an excellent source of visual material forwhat we're likely to see on shore excursions in St. Petersburg, particularly its museums and architectural sites.
Mid-Century Modern (2004/2013), by Bradley Quinn
The pivotal contributions of the Finns are well described.
Scandinavian Modern (2003), by Magnus Englund and Chrystina Schmidt
This small book is big on great images of the best of Finnish design, as well as those of the other Nordic countries.
This is a wonderful website created and maintained by enthusiasts of Finnish glass design.
Anders Zorn: Sweden's Master Painter (2013), by Johan Cederlund
This is a comprehensive survey of the life and work of one of Sweden's most important painters of the 19th century and beyond.
Utopia and Reality: Modernity in Sweden 1900–1960 (2000/2002), by Cecilia Widenheim
This is a very interesting book about the idea that thoughtful design applied to all aspects of everyday life can help create a "utopia." It covers art, architecture, design, and social policy.
Smiles of a Summer Night, (1955), directed by Ingmar Bergman
This one of the only comedies from Sweden's greatest filmmaker, a retelling of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Like Bergman's later film Fanny and Alexandra, it is a beautifully filmed view of 19th- and early-20th-century Swedish domestic life.
This website is a good listing of some of Sweden's most important modern designs, as well aslisting certain designers themselves.
Cruise lecturer Stephen de Angelis is a scholar of Russian history who has long lived in St. Petersburg. He has translated and edited nine books available at www.bookemon.com (in the upper right of the website, scroll to "authors," then type in "Stephen R. de Angelis):
- The Winter Palace (The Hermitage): My Recollections Through 50 Years (2009)
A 1929 memoir by a worker and artisan in the Winter Palace during the reigns of Alexander III, Nicholas II, and the Soviet period under Josef Stalin (1879–1929).
- The Diaries of Nicholas II: 1914, 1915, and 1916. The War Years (2013)
- The Diaries of Nicholas II: 1917–1918. Abdication, Arrest, Exile, and Expiry (2011)
- Maria Feodorovna — Empress of Russia. The Diaries: 1914–1918. War and Arrest (2012)
- Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Her Diaries: 1917 & 1918. House Arrest, Siberia, and Final Days (2011)
- Maria Feodorovna — Empress of Russia. The Diaries: 1919–1923. Escape from Russia (2012)
Empress Maria Feodorovna was the wife and consort of Czar Alexander III and mother of Nicholas II.
- Recollections and Letters of Chief Curator Anatolii M. Kuchumov: The Sale, Evacuation, and Destruction of the Russian Imperial Patrimony, 1928–1944 (2012)
Kuchumov was chief curator and director of the suburban Leningrad Russian Imperial Palaces. His recollections chronicle the evacuation of former imperial treasures from St. Petersburg to Siberia in advance of German occupation.
- Next to the Empress: Memoirs of an Imperial Bodyguard (2012)
An autobiography and memoir of Czar Nicholas II's bodyguard and the personal Cossack Life Guard of Empress Maria Feodorovna from 1915 to1928. There are many intimate and personal details of the emperor and his mother. This book spans World War I, Nicholas II's abdication, the house arrest of the empress, escape from Crimea on the HMS Marlborough, and life in London and Copenhagen for the empress.
- The Death, Funeral, and Burial of the Heir Crown Prince, Grand Duke Georgii Alexandrovich (2013)
Accounts of the death, funeral, and burial of the Grand Prince and heir who was also the brother of Nicholas II.
Other suggestions from Stephen de Angelis:
Anna Karenina (1878), by Leo Tolstoy
A novel of late 19th-century Petersburg and Moscow haut monde, featuring adulterous intoxication and breakup with a tragic end.
Catherine the Great: Life and Legend (1989), by John T. Alexander
A scholarly treatment of the political life and cultural reign of the German-born empress of Russia.
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman (2012), by Robert Massie
A compelling chronicle of the empress's life in Germany and her "favorite" generals of the Russian court.
Crime and Punishment (1866), by Fyodor Dostoevsky
In true Russian soul-searching style, a philosophical and psychological dissertation delving into the difference between good and evil, and when "evil" can be a good thing.
The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II (1993), by Edvard Radzinsky
An excellent study of Nicholas II and his strong German-born wife, Alexandra, as they try to cope with a revolutionary underground Russia, a hemophiliac son, world war, and fatal exile.
Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire (1994), by David Remnick
Lenin's Tomb chronicles the events leading up to the breakup of the USSR, exploring the sudden fall of Communism, the coup against Gorbachev, and the momentary victory of Boris Yeltsin.
A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story (1997), by Andrei Maylunas and Sergei Mironenko
The tender love and deep devotion of the last Russian imperial couple, seen through their mutual correspondence and that of their close friends and contemporaries.
Nicholas and Alexandra (2000), by Robert Massie
The first full story of the life of Nicholas and Alexandra to be published in the United States.
Peasants and Other Short Stories (1999), by Anton Chekhov
This is a collection of short stories by Chekhov, featuring "Peasants," a story of life in a backward, peasant village of Russia, replete with quarreling, petty jealousies, and rampant hypochondria.
Peter the Great: His Life and World (1981), by Robert Massie
An in-depth chronicle of Czar Peter I's mission to bring a backward Russia into the world of an advanced Europe, chronicling his travels, wars, and achievements.
The Rasputin File (2001), by Edvard Radzinsky
The latest report on the life and execution of Grigory Rasputin, based on secret police files, inquests, and court-released documents.
St. Petersburg: A Cultural History (1997), by Solomon Volkov
Volkov is a musician and culture critic who offers an overview of the birth and development of the arts in the "Venice of the North," delving into literature, music, ballet, and painting.
Ten Days that Shook the World (2011), by John Reed
The Harvard graduate-turned-radical describes the Bolshevik Revolution and its harsh aftermath with an eyewitness perspective.
Anna Karenina (1935), directed Clarence Brown, starring Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo and Fredric March in the best version of the Tolstoy novel.
The Barber of Siberia (1998), directed by Nikita Mikhalkov
A tale loosely based on The Barber of Seville, about an American-Russian love triangle gone wrong, which leads to a seven-year prison term in Siberia.
Burnt by the Sun (1994), directed by Nikita Mikhalkov
A Felliniesque symbolic story of the Russian populace exhausted by the cult of Stalin and Communism.
Dr. Zhivago (1965), directed by David Lean
A dramatic, colorful (but inaccurate) film of Boris Pasternak's "forbidden" novel of the Bolshevik Revolution — a cinematic love story with marvelous music and scenery.
East/West (1999), directed by Régis Wargnier
In this highly acclaimed French-Russian production, set just after the Bolshevik Revolution, a doctor and his wife, Marie, are invitedto help in the reconstruction of the new USSR, the "East."Although Marietries tirelessly to adapt to a Soviet-style life, she finds it too dehumanizing and longs to return to France, the "West." The arrival of a visiting French theatrical group, led by a famous actress (played byCatherine Deneuve), begins the long ordeal of Marie's escape to freedom.
Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), directed by Franklin J. Schaffner
A sometimes inaccurate, but nonetheless picturesque film adaptation of the book by Robert K. Massie.
Onegin (1999), directed by Martha Flennes
A British-American production of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, featuring ill-timed love, gentry country life, heartbreak, and role reversal, all à la Russe.
Reds (1981), directed by Warren Beatty
A superb movie production of the Bolshevik Revolution, including the American radicals John Reed, Louise Bryant, and Emma Goldman, complete with interviews with actual eyewitnesses to the excesses of the Communist coup.
The website of a weekly English-language Russian newspaper published in St. Petersburg, featuring the latest headlines, editorials, and restaurant and theater reviews, as well as real estate and personal ads.
A comprehensive site full of beautiful photos of the Russian imperial period.
The most complete website on the imperial palaces in suburban Petersburg.
The official website of the Hermitage State Museum. It is a key to the collections and its history.
Northern Lights / Tradecraft Film Series Reading List
Our Man In Havana (1958) by Graham Greene
Based in part on Graham Greene's own experience as a member of MI6 in the 1940s, this black comedy tells the story of a vacuum cleaner salesman, recruited by the British Secret Service, who makes up his reports and invents a fictitious network of agents, with increasingly absurd results. Greene also wrote the screenplay for the 1959 film of the same name.
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963) by John le Carré
John le Carré's critically acclaimed story of the amorality of both East and West at the height of the Cold War is widely considered to be the best spy novel ever written. Richard Burton starred in the 1965 film directed by Martin Ritt.
Six Days of the Condor (1974) by James Grady
James Grady's spy thriller is the story of Ronald Malcolm, a CIA employee who discovers everyone in his clandestine Washington, D.C., office killed when he returns from lunch. Grady co-wrote the screenplay of the film version starring Robert Redford, released as Three Days of the Condor in 1975.
These Foolish Things (2004) by Deborah Moggach
Published in Britain under its original title in 2004, this novel about a group of British senior citizens who move to a retirement home in India was made into the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and was printed in the U.S. under that title as a movie tie-in in 2012.
Due to overwhelming demand, the cruise is unfortunately sold out!
If you'd still like to join us, please email us to add your name to the waiting list and we'll get in touch if cabins become available. (Please include your name, phone number and cabin preference in the email.)