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Publisher's Summary

The story of the world's largest, longest, and best-financed scientific expedition of all time, triumphantly successful, gruesomely tragic, and never before fully told. The immense 18th-century scientific journey, variously known as the Second Kamchatka Expedition or the Great Northern Expedition, from St. Petersburg across Siberia to the coast of North America, involved over 3,000 people and cost Peter the Great over one-sixth of his empire's annual revenue.

Until now recorded only in academic works, this 10-year venture, led by the legendary Danish captain Vitus Bering and including scientists, artists, mariners, soldiers, and laborers, discovered Alaska, opened the Pacific fur trade, and led to fame, shipwreck, and "one of the most tragic and ghastly trials of suffering in the annals of maritime and arctic history."

©2017 Stephen R. Bown (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about Island of the Blue Foxes

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Vivid History of Russia's First Contact In Alaska

An excellent and detailed account of Imperial Russia's first expedition to Alaska (circa 1740). The author's depiction of the 10 years that it took to ready the exploration and the hardships faced by all is almost beyond belief. Although the book is interesting throughout, I found the efforts to find a cure for scurvy and the survival after a shipwreck to be truly sad and riveting.
The reader, Steven Crossley, is wonderfully clear and well paced in his performance.
A real insight into the ``unknown'' and first contact of Europeans with Alaska. Highly recommended to those listeners (and readers) interested in the exploration of North America.

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a fantastic story

this history is one I was never made aware of and it stands as interesting, important and daring as so many others. if you like historical adventure and exploration stories this is a must listen...

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They Almost Didn't Come Back

I knew nothing about Russian history before listening to this book. An amazing story of survival that could have never been told if not for hard work in harsh conditions after becoming castaways on an island. What would you do if you shipwrecked on an undiscovered island with no trees to make a raft to sail somewhere else? Something that still keeps me thinking after finishing the book is what happened to Chirikov's two missing launch boat crews after they reached the landing spot? We'll probably never know... But if not for Steller's ingenuity we probably would only know about Chirikov's voyage to Alaska.

I finished this book in about 2 days because it's so good.