"Travels in Siberia" by Ian Frazier
Ian Frazier is one of those writers who you want to be a completist with. You read one thing, and you'll need to take in his collected works. That's why with a bibliography as strong as his, you'd think it would be difficult or even impossible to find one title that stands out above the rest, one book that could be called his definitive work that you should buy for your friends.
This exploration of the place that most people consider one of the absolute last places on the planet anybody would want to go to, combines history and Frazier's own experiences exploring the part of Russia that's usually considered the harshest part of a country known for brutal conditions. [$13, amazon.com]