Sacred Sea

Sacred Sea : A Journey to Lake Baikal

3.73 (34 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Absoliutno blagopoluchnoe ozero Baikal!" the Russian scientist looking out over the great lake says. "Lake Baikal is Perfect!" And humans can never harm it. For a man cut loose from his life in the U.S., Lake Baikal-Siberia's sacred inland sea-becomes a place of pilgrimage, the focal point of a 25,000-mile journey by land and sea in search of connection, permanence, restoration and hope. Following a difficult divorce, veteran environmental journalist Peter Thomson sets off from Boston with his younger brother for one of nature's most remarkable creations, in one of the farthest corners of the planet. Lake Baikal, a gargantuan crack in the Siberian plateau, is the world's largest body of fresh water, its deepest and oldest lake, and a cauldron of evolution, home to hundreds of unique creatures, including the world's only freshwater seal. It's also among the most pristine lakes on earth, with a mythical ability to protect itself from the growing human impact-a "perfect," self-cleansing ecosystem. A trip halfway around the world by train, cargo ship and rubber raft brings the brothers to a place of sublime beauty, deep history and immense natural power. But at Baikal they also find ominous signs that this perfect piece of nature could yet succumb to the even more powerful forces of human hubris, carelessness and ignorance. They find that despite its isolation, Baikal is connected to everything else on Earth, and that it will need the love and devotion of people around the world to protect it. On their trek to and from Siberia the author and his brother also encounter a stream of people who are also lonely, displaced and yearning for something beyond the limits of their own lives, but many of whom are also big-hearted and deeply connected to their own communities and the world around them. What begins as a search for restoration in nature becomes as well a discovery of the restorative power of trust, faith and human more

Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 154.94 x 238.76 x 22.86mm | 589.67g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 20 halftones & 40 line illus
  • 0195170512
  • 9780195170511
  • 1,098,600

Review quote

"A critical race to save the lake is on, and Thomson's travelogue will help the effort." Moscow Times 2007 ...beautifully written...BBC Focus Magazine, 2007 '...a compelling diary of personal discovery that reads like a manifesto about travel as a blessing in itself.' New York Times, November 2007 Peter Thomson and his brother left their native Boston on a journey to this remote wilderness. Thomson's passionate and beautifully written account of what they found there combines travelogue with natural history and memoir. London Review Bookshop more

About Peter Thomson

Peter Thomson is Founding Producer and Senior Editor of NPR's "Living on Earth" and recipient of 19 awards for excellence in broadcast journalism; currently freelance environmental journalist and member of Executive Committee of Society of Environmental more

Table of contents

Author's Note ; Prologue: Blagopoluchnoe ; Part One: The Sacred Sea ; 1. A Flash of Blue Light ; 2. Songs and Whispers ; 3. The Earth Splits, Water Rushes In ; 4. Into the Lake-Shallow ; 5. Into the Lake-Deep ; 6. Buryatia, in Black & White and Color ; 7. On the Trail with Pod Boy and Monkey Mind ; 8. Bad Roads are Good for Baikal ; 9. Traveling and Staying Home ; Part Two: 180@ ; 10. The Long Way Home ; 11. The Great Circle ; 12. Zigzag to Russia ; 13. Power in the East ; 14. Across the Sleeping Land ; 15. Angels & Ghosts in Irkutsk ; Part Three: Baikal, Too, Must Work ; 16. One of the Best Enterprises in Russia ; 17. Righteousness, Uncertainty and the Point of No Return ; 18. Connecting the Dots ; 19. Dr. Hope and Dr. Despair ; 20. Blind Love is a Dangerous Thing ; 21. 360@ ; Epilogue: The Great Baikal Chain ; Acknowledgments ; Illustration Credits ; Source Notes and Further Readingshow more

Rating details

34 ratings
3.73 out of 5 stars
5 21% (7)
4 38% (13)
3 35% (12)
2 6% (2)
1 0% (0)
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