Beyond the Amur describes the distinctive frontier society that emerged in the Amur, a river region that shifted between Qing China and Imperial Russia as the two empires competed for resources. Official histories depict the Amur as a distant battleground caught between rival empires. Zatsepine, by contrast, views it as a unified natural economy populated by Chinese, Russian, Indigenous, Japanese, Korean, Manchu, and Mongol people who crossed the border in search of work or trade and who came together to survive a harsh physical environment. This colourful account of a region and its people highlights the often-overlooked influence of frontier developments on state politics and imperial policies and histories.
1 A River Runs through It
2 They Came from Everywhere
3 Fur, Gold, and Local Trade
4 Imperial Russian Expansionism
5 Chinese Migrants in Frontier Towns
6 A Railway Runs through It
7 Conflict and War
8 Fading Frontiers
Appendix A: Chronology
Appendix B: Chinese Terms
Notes; Bibliography; Index
Beyond the Amur offers a fresh and detailed look at the Amur frontier region and its rich history of environmental challenges, military conflict, and ethnic and political encounter.
Olga Bakich, University of Toronto, and author of Valerii Pereleshin: Life of a Silkworm
Victor Zatsepine’s history of the formation and environmental condition of the Amur River region, a frontier or meeting place between China and Russia, is essential reading for anyone who wants a better understanding of Sino-Russian relations.
Blaine Chiasson, Wilfrid Laurier University, and author of Administering the Colonizer: Manchuria’s Russians under Chinese Rule, 1918–29
By employing a cross-border perspective, Zatsepine's monograph is refreshing, as most previous studies have limited their scope to one side of the river.
Sören Urbansky, German Historical Institute
Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History
For those interested in Sino-Russian relations or Northeast Asia generally, Beyond the Amur provides considerable background on a huge, yet still largely undocumented, region. More generally, it serves as a reminder that our current world of highly securitised borders, with strict control of passage, is relatively recent and perhaps anomalous.
Asian Review of Books
Beyond the Amur is an enjoyable read, with stories of informal networks across the border, of the individuals whose life stories usually remain outside official narratives… The book will be of interest of historians of border zones and to historians of Russia and China as well as to the general reader.
Anna Belogurova, Freie Universität
Pacific Affairs, Volume 91, No. 4