Until recently Siberia's Lake Baikal, the world's oldest and deepest lake, remained nearly pristine because of its great depth. The construction of a cellulose plant on its southern shore and the advent of other sources of industrial and agricultural pollution, however, seriously threaten the ecological balance of the lake, which contains about one-fifth of all the fresh water on the earth. In the summer of 1990, National Book Award winner Matthiessen ( The Snow Leopard ), composer Paul Winter and a group of Russian environmentalists traveled around Baikal, which had previously been off limits to foreigners as well as to most citizens of the former Soviet Union. During the journey, Matthiessen kept a journal describing the lake, its flora and fauna and the people who live on its shores. Together, the brief text and 50 of Norton's spectacular color photographs make an eloquent plea for the preservation of one of the earth's great natural treasures; the foreword by poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who was born in Siberia, is especially moving. The Sierra Club will donate a share of the book's proceeds to Baikal Watch, a nonprofit group dedicated to the preservation of Lake Baikal. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992 Release date: 10/01/1992 Genre: Nonfiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.