Beyond the Amur describes the distinctive frontier society that developed in the Amur, a river region that shifted between Qing China and Imperial Russia as the two empires competed for resources. Although official imperial histories depict the Amur as a distant battleground between rival empires, this colourful history of a region and its people tells a different story.
Drawing on both Russian and Chinese sources, Victor Zatzepine shows that both empires struggled to maintain the border. But much to the chagrin of imperial administrators, various people — Chinese, Russian, Indigenous, Japanese, Korean, Manchu, and Mongol — moved freely across it in pursuit of work and trade, exchanging ideas and knowledge as they adapted to the harsh physical environment.
By viewing the Amur as a unified natural economy caught between two empires, Zatsepine highlights the often-overlooked influence of regional developments on imperial policies and the importance of climate and geography to local, state, and imperial histories.