Authors Moller and Lind examine the family life of explorer Vitus Bering through his personal letters and those of his wife, Anna Christina. Bering led two historic expeditions to the Russian Far East and Alaska under the patronage of Tsar Peter the Great. His wife Anna Christina, youngest son Anton and little Anoushka accompanied him to Okhotsk. In a matter of a few days in February 1740, husband and wife and young Anton wrote sixteen letters to friends and family in Vyborg and Reval (present-day Tallin, capital of Estonia) and even to high-ranking members of the Imperial Court in St. Petersburg. These letters, written shortly before Bering left on his last voyage, which took him to Alaska, offer intimate glimpses of family relationships and the concerns of daily life, as well as insight into eighteenth-century mores.
Each letter is translated with the originals reproduced on the facing page. Also included are several lists of items brought by Anna Christina back to Moscow in 1742, after the death of her husband. These inventories tell us about what items were considered valuable, as well as about the sort of trade goods were available to early settlers in the Russian Far East.
Vitus Bering's native Denmark has honoured the book in the following way:
The translation and publication was sponsored by:
The Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik Foundation; King Christian X Foundation, Royal Danish Geographical Society (first time ever they have sponsored something they have not published themselves); Danish Arts Foundation; Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Denmark and the Carlsberg Foundation.
Christopher Follett, former Denmark correspondent to The Times, reviewed the book in the prestigious English magazine, History Today, November 2008 (pp. 64-65).
Peter Ulf Møller is Emeritus Professor of Slavic Studies at the University of Aarhus and now Adjunct Professor at Copenhagen University, Institute for Cross-cultural and Regional Studies. He has published extensively on Russian literature, culture and history.
Natasha Okhotina Lind is a Research Fellow in Russian History at the University of Copenhagen, Institute for Cross-cultural and Regional Studies. She has published works in the areas of Medieval and Early Modern Russian history.
Anna Halager, is based in Copenhagen and is a literary translator of fine Danish literature into English, including the forthcoming travelogues of Hans Christian Andersen, 5 volumes in all. She was educated at the Universities of Copenhagen, North Wales, and York, England. She is a member of the Danish Bering Family.
Marvin Falk is professor and curator of rare books emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is editor of the Rasmuson Library Historical Translation Series.