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Andrew Meier stood witness to the tumultuous final years of the USSR. But when many other journalists had taken leave of this vexed and beguiling land, believing it drained of stories. Meier returned, covering Russia and the former Soviet states as a Moscow correspondent for Time magazine from 1996 to 2001. In all, Meier reported from the lands of the former Soviet Union longer than almost any other Western journalist." Inspired by both Russophile American writers like Edmund Wilson and native geniuses like Anton Pavlovich Chekhov - both of whom had attempted to penetrate Russia's veils of secrecy and lore - Meier journeyed to the five corners of this resurgent and reputedly free land: newly rich Moscow, war-torn Chechnya, arctic Norilsk, haunted Sakhalin, and proudly crumbling St. Petersburg. Such a wide lens makes Black Earth perhaps the most insightful book on post-Soviet Russia written to date, one that captures its present limbo - a land rich in potential, yet its people ever fearful of staggering back into repression and tyranny.
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