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Behind Putin's Curtain

Friendships and Misadventures Inside Russia

Regular price $22.95 CAD
  • ISBN: 9781771643672
  • Tags: Current Affairs & Politics, Stephan Orth, Travel & Adventure,
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Published On: 05/04/2019
  • 304 Pages

An unconventional travelogue of a country that inspires both fear and fascination.

“In the late summer of 2016,” writes award-winning travel writer Stephan Orth, “a journey to Russia feels like visiting enemy territory.”

In this humorous and thought-provoking book, Orth ventures through that vast and mysterious territory to uncover the real, unfiltered Russia not seen in today’s headlines: authentic, bizarre, dangerous, and beautiful. Sidestepping the well-trod tourist path, he travels the country from Moscow to Vladivostok—across seven time zones and almost 9,500 kilometers—making stops in Chechnya, Saint Petersburg, Siberia, and beyond. Staying with an eclectic array of hosts, he bumps into gun nuts, Internet conspiracy theorists, faux shamans, and Putin fans; learns to drive in death-defying Russian style; and discovers how to cure hangovers by sniffing rye bread. But he also sees a darker side of the country, witnessing firsthand the effects of Putin’s influence in the run-up to the 2016 American election and the power of propaganda in this “post-fact” era.

Weaving everything together with thoughtfulness and warmth, Orth follows the acclaimed Couchsurfing in Iran with yet another complex, funny, and personal travelogue—a colorful portrait of a fascinating and misunderstood country.

Stephan Orth is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author. For nine years, he was online travel editor for Der Spiegel, one of Germany’s top news magazines, and he has contributed to National Geographic, the Courier-Mail, and Time Off, among other publications. He lives in Hamburg, Germany.


"Journalist Orth delivers a jaunty description of his travels...[that] armchair travelers will enjoy."
—Publishers Weekly

“Amazing reporting, generous pictures, and the author's sense of connection with the locals add up to a truly honest view of Russia today.”

"Who says people aren’t the same all over, even in the land of a fearsome oligarch like Vladimir Putin?"
—Winnipeg Free Press

Orth writes in a very engaging and witty style...a most enjoyable book.

Behind Putin’s Curtain is great fun to read, but also informative and important. With all the pernicious activities of Putin and his cyber warfare efforts around the world, it is a good thing to be reminded that Russia people are people, most of them good people, who want the same things we want of life. Stephan Orth is...the perfect traveler.”
—The Tonstant Weader

"Stephan Orth has a lot of nerve. First, he wanders heedlessly across Russia, stopping in places no tourist would dare to go. Then, he gets to know actual Russian people rather than merely sightseeing. Finally, he writes a funny, insightful, mind-bendingly entertaining book about them. I mean, who does this guy think he is? Do yourself a favor: Read this book and find out. Because Stephan is a fabulous tour guide to the real Russia and its people."
—Lisa Dickey
, author of Bears in the Streets: Three Journeys across a Changing Russia