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Ian Frazier’s Siberian Travels

The New Yorker writer travels across vast Siberia to bring back cold tales of the new Russia.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the foothills of Karatash, near Abakan, the capital of the Khakassia region in Siberia, 2010 (AP)

Siberia is so big, it’s almost more an idea than a place. Eight times zones. Desperate winters. Brutal history. Gulags. In Russia even now, says writer Ian Frazier, Siberia is as much a threat as a destination.

Frazier is a celebrated humorist and writer for The New Yorker. He’s written seriously about other big places — Indian reservation country, the Great Plains.

Now he’s taking on Siberia, in all its grand scale and grubby reality. Kamchatcka. Vladivostok. Ikutsk. Yakutsk.

We head to Siberia with New Yorker writer Ian Frazier.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guest:

Ian Frazier, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of the new book “Travels in Siberia.” You can read an excerpt in PDF format here or at Amazon.com.

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 20, 2015
A member of a bomb squad pulls something off of a small helicopter and throws it after a man landed on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, April 15, 2015.  A Florida postal carrier named Doug Hughes took responsibility for the stunt on a website where he said he was delivering letters to all 535 members of Congress in order to draw attention to campaign finance corruption. (AP)

We’ll take up the gyrocopter pilot’s complaint. Big money politics in America, on the road to 2016. And what to do about it.

Apr 20, 2015
New York Times columnist David Brooks explores a history of American moral character in his new book, "The Road to Character." Former US Labor Secretary Frances Perkins (R), is one of the subjects he profiles in his books. (David Burnett / AP)

New York Times columnist David Brooks on finding moral character in a self-preoccupied society.

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