Peter the Great: His Life and World PDF ¿ the Great:

Peter the Great: His Life and World There is plenty of five star material in this When the author gets into Peter s head through his dealings with his expectations for his son or his intimate, playful banter with his wife, his writing is really special When he backs up to put Peter in the context of the 18th century by comparing him to other rulers who were also autocratic and even brutal when necessary but get better press because their homelands aren t as mysterious as Russia, his writing is special Peter bolts off the page a There is plenty of five star material in this When the author gets into Peter s head through his dealings with his expectations for his son or his intimate, playful banter with his wife, his writing is really special When he backs up to put Peter in the context of the 18th century by comparing him to other rulers who were also autocratic and even brutal when necessary but get better press because their homelands aren t as mysterious as Russia, his writing is special Peter bolts off the page as a curious, energetic, even frenetic, willful, nation changing presence.But rare indeed is the writer who can maintain a five star level for THIS long unless the subject he or she is undertaking is already at the core of the reader s interest That wasn t the case for me, so I think Robert Massie might have found some streamlining beneficial The wars over Poland seem to go on forever at least for this reader This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here view spoiler Bettie s BooksThe rating, any status updates, and those bookshelves, indicate my feelings for this book hide spoiler view spoiler Bettie s BooksThe rating, any status updates, and those bookshelves, indicate my feelings for this book hide spoiler Against the monumental canvas of seventeenth and eighteenth century Europe and Russia, unfolds the magnificent story of Peter the Great, crowned at the age ofA barbarous, volatile feudal tsar with a taste for torture a progressive and enlightened reformer of government and science a statesman of vision and colossal significance Peter the Great embodied the greatest strengths and weaknesses of Russia while being at the very forefront of her developmentRobert K Massie delves deep into the life of this captivating historical figure, chronicling the pivotal events that shaped a boy into a legend including his incognito travels in Europe, his unquenchable curiosity about Western ways, his obsession with the sea and establishment of the stupendous Russian navy, his creation of an unbeatable army, and his relationships with those he loved most Catherine, his loving mistress, wife, and successor and Menshikov, the charming, unscrupulous prince who rose to power through Peter s friendship Impetuous and stubborn, generous and cruel, a man of enormous energy and complexity, Peter the Great is brought fully to life Robert K Massie won my heart with his book about Catherine the Great, so I definitely had to read the one about Peter as well I cannot believe that I postponed it for so long This will be one of the best books I ve read this year Massie writes in a clear and concise manner, spicing up the story with ample details which nonetheless never burden the line of narration The book is perfectly suited both for serious history students as well as those of us who simply enjoy reading history Indeed Robert K Massie won my heart with his book about Catherine the Great, so I definitely had to read the one about Peter as well I cannot believe that I postponed it for so long This will be one of the best books I ve read this year Massie writes in a clear and concise manner, spicing up the story with ample details which nonetheless never burden the line of narration The book is perfectly suited both for serious history students as well as those of us who simply enjoy reading history Indeed this huge tome was so well written, compelling, suspenseful and dramatic at certain points, that it reads like a real page turner What I mostly enjoyed in the book was the fact that not only was Peter s portrayal as true and extensive as possible, but also that the author took great care to represent the bigger picture, including extended depictions of many other major and minor players of the era, both in Europe and in Russia We really do get to learn all about Peter s world, from the life of the average Russian peasant to the role of the Holy Roman Empire in European politics Massie has the amazing ability to handle the intertwined paths of European diplomacy with stunning balance and evenhandedness He neither turns his protagonists into saints, nor fails to find the deeper reasons underneath seemingly irrational behaviors The description of Peter s relationship with his son and heir Alexis was blood chilling, and I had to admire the author s decisiveness to not take parts in a very messed up situation Peter has been idealized, condemned, analyzed again and again, and still he remains essentially mysterious One quality which no one disputes however is his phenomenal energy He was a force of nature, and perhaps for this reason no final judgment will ever be delivered And while no final judgment may exist, this exquisite book will be a true treasure for all those who wish to learnabout Peter and his world Robert Massie s Peter the Great His life and World has been a wonderful book to listen to, for me The book is well researched and offers what is likely an accurate picture of an important figure in the History of Western Civilization Before I get to deep into my romantic vision of what Massie has done here, let me say that this is first and foremost a text of history It is almost 38 hour narrated as an audiobook and covers Peter s life in three segments, his rise to power, wars mostly wit Robert Massie s Peter the Great His life and World has been a wonderful book to listen to, for me The book is well researched and offers what is likely an accurate picture of an important figure in the History of Western Civilization Before I get to deep into my romantic vision of what Massie has done here, let me say that this is first and foremost a text of history It is almost 38 hour narrated as an audiobook and covers Peter s life in three segments, his rise to power, wars mostly with Sweden and Charles the 11th and his radical and sweeping reforms of Russian government and monarchy If you are not someone who enjoys history, and understands that history often involves a dizzying number of characters, names, nations and dates then you ll be fine here, this is better than most at getting the story out and keeping the minutia managed It s still a non fiction tome of history I will talk about Massie s wonderful ability to tell Peter s story without fictionalizing soon The only warning with this is this You do not have to be a student of history, an associate professor, or even a avid historical hobbyist to read this It is understandable, complete and detailed enough for anyone to understand Massie s Peter the Great and the world around him It is not a great novel of fictionalized history, or a historical novel so praise of Massie s ability to tell Peter s story should not be confused That makes him a wonderful historian to read He s not the second coming of Tolkien So, why five stars What Massie has done created a wonderful tableau of Peter s life Peter the great was a very complex man He lived in a very difficult time full of war Massie managed to capture the complexity that surrounds the reign of the man who built Russia, but he also captured the essence of what it meant to be a Russian in the time of Peter the Great As Peter rose to prominence, so did Russia As the Czar learned to wield power, so did Russia As the man, Peter, learned to love, so did the people he surrounded himself with In this book are wonderful stories and anecdotes about the events that shaped peter s life Perhaps the most wonderful among these is the love he shared with his third wife Kathrine, who succeeded him as the first Empress of Russia Sophia was regent, and Kathrine the Great was actually the third Empress Cathrine Peter s love was a simple Flemish serving girl who caught Peter s eye and developed into one of the most interesting warm women in history Though it comes near the end of the book, and it is a well known story, I loved the story about how Peter had accused tried and convicted a member of the Russian court of being corrupt Most of his court and his loving wife believed the man to be innocent They begged the Czar to reconsider over and over until, in anger he ordered them to stop and never mention it to him again So, Kathrine, wrote another appeal for the man s pardon and signed it Lissette then fixed the note to the collar of Peter s favorite dog, an Italian Greyhound named, Lisette When Peter came back from the Senate, which was likely a very trying time for him at any point in his life, the dog, as dogs can be, was very excited to see him Greeting the dog, Peter saw the note and picked him up as he read it Then he chuckled and sighed telling the dog Well, since this is the first time you ve asked anything of me, perhaps I should reconsider And the man was pardoned Saved by the grace of miniature greyhound and a cunning and determined wife, whom he loved.Massie also manages to capture the boyish nature of Peter that never left him The educated, genius barbarian savage I suppose you can take the Cossack out of the off of the steps but you can never wash the steps off of the Cossack Why this story has not been turned into an Oscar wining movie about the life of the czar is beyond me Peter is no prize, yet, after all of the stories of war, torture, murder, love, laughter, lots and lots of drinking VODKA , parties that last weeks and explosions, blunders, brutality it becomes impossible to separate the evil wicked side of the Czar who ruthlessly pursued those he thought were plotting against him and dealt with them mercilessly from the tragic figure who struggled between being a tyrant father with an estranged son, and the State which must be preserved And thent here was the good Peter who fought corruption in his government and actually wanted to lift his people from the dark ages into the modern world An example of the complexity one of many facets is how, after many years of war with Sweden and Charles the 11th, when he hears of Charles s death he orders Russia into a state of mourning for a week Another might be how, whenever he could get away with it, he posed as a common laborer or journeyman even placing himself under the command of others at least one of whom called his bluff who enjoyed hard work with his hands It is not a metaphor to say that Peter built the Russian Navy Every chance he got he was at St Petersburg with hammers and tools working I could go on Lets just say, I liked this book It s not for those with a passing interest in history, but you don t have to be an educated scholar to get something from Massie s book Recommended Sorry to rattle on If you complain about today, you should read about then You were considered a bitch if you ate with a fork, just for starters Men might prefer to live back then cause they inherited a whip from their father in law to whip their spouses when they got out of line The only person I know today that practices this form of discipline is Snoop Dogg You gots to control your ho Peter was great for many reasons The russians in this day were like the geico cavemen of their time Peter was the first If you complain about today, you should read about then You were considered a bitch if you ate with a fork, just for starters Men might prefer to live back then cause they inherited a whip from their father in law to whip their spouses when they got out of line The only person I know today that practices this form of discipline is Snoop Dogg You gots to control your ho Peter was great for many reasons The russians in this day were like the geico cavemen of their time Peter was the first ruler to travel amongst Europe and bring some culture back to Russia Peter was highly intelligent and you could compare him to the great Thomas Jefferson Integrating with many countries as Jefferson did with the indians to use as an advantage with networking and pursuing bigger business Nemesis, Charles XII King of Swedes was however the hater towards Peter as they fought and battled for the seas and ports along the black sea Peter brought many great things to his country and he did not try to take over his halfbrothers legacy, eventhough his half sister Sophia was power hungry and made an attempt on his life He was interested in knowledge and bettering himself as he built a powerful navy for Russia By the way, he did tax his people for having a beard, so if you got one, you then must pay me some roubles, noon, or off with your head Can one man raise a country from mud to glory Yes, if its Peter, Tsar of Russia.Can one book capture the complexity of the people, the country and their first truly great leader who dragged the country kicking and screaming into the heart of European geopolitics Yes This is the book One of the best works of narrative history ever This is how history should come alive. This was a very long book about an exceptional leader The author, Robert Massie, won a Pulitzer Prize for this work of art It reads like a novel.Certainly earning the name Peter The Great must have meant he performed some exceptional deeds He did He pushed Russia to modernize He fought a successful war against, at the time a world power, Sweden At the same time making Russia a formidable country militarily Peter tolerated all religions and points of views Also, he expanded Russia s borde This was a very long book about an exceptional leader The author, Robert Massie, won a Pulitzer Prize for this work of art It reads like a novel.Certainly earning the name Peter The Great must have meant he performed some exceptional deeds He did He pushed Russia to modernize He fought a successful war against, at the time a world power, Sweden At the same time making Russia a formidable country militarily Peter tolerated all religions and points of views Also, he expanded Russia s borders However, Peter had a dark side too.He did not have a very good relationship with his son from his first marriage He couldn t understand why his son Alexis was not like him in personality As bold and outgoing as Peter was, his son was the opposite He eventually sacrificed his son for his country.What I liked most about the book was the historical references in the book He talked about life in England in the late 1600s The various forms of torture used at the time The Hapsburg dynasty history.All in all a very good book about a great leader Why do we have such poor leaders today This lengthy biography of Russian Tsar Peter the Great is thoroughly entertaining with all the strengths and weaknesses of a blockbuster No prior knowledge of the period required.Maybe because it is a biography it doesn t give much attention to the extent of the terror and suffering caused by the massive mobilisation and movements of population caused by his military and civil policies Anisimov s book The Reforms of Peter the Great Progress Through Coercion in Russia is great on this even if t This lengthy biography of Russian Tsar Peter the Great is thoroughly entertaining with all the strengths and weaknesses of a blockbuster No prior knowledge of the period required.Maybe because it is a biography it doesn t give much attention to the extent of the terror and suffering caused by the massive mobilisation and movements of population caused by his military and civil policies Anisimov s book The Reforms of Peter the Great Progress Through Coercion in Russia is great on this even if the title does sum up the argument Nor is there a rich study of his inner circle The oddities of his reign don t get a full mention either as for example visible in the collection in the Kunstkammer in St.Petersburg, although the giant penis that Peter collected from one of his soldiers was removed, allegedly out of a concern for public morality, already in soviet times view spoiler the jars of picked babies with deformities are still there though, along with the sheep with eight legs hide spoiler.Massie s book takes, in contrast to the Anisimov, a deeply traditional view of Peter which was that he single handedly pulled Russia out of barbaric backwardness view spoiler rather like the story of the giant turnip view spoiler except with far fewer people involved hide spoiler hide spoiler and steered it into the European mainstream The problem is the easy and disturbing assumption that military power determines the place of a state in the world and that whatever measures are taken to achieve military success are acceptable, there s an implicit acceptance that military dominance is the be all and end all of being a country that one may not want to accept uncritically Taking a longer view the role and in particular the glorification of the use of violence in bringing about sudden, and in many cases unsustainable change, was a precedent that was to have a lasting impact on Russian politics both in terms of internal policy and foreign policy, and one that the little man of Pushkin s The Bronze Horseman and his really life equivalents would not appreciate, nor is there much appreciate of how Peter was not his own creator but following in well established footsteps for example Klyuchevsky s golden oldie view that Peter never succeeded in anything apart from projects that his father Tsar Aleksei had also attempted Generally weak on context, poor on Peter s circle and on his impacts or the lack thereof But on the plus side it does mention how Peter and his wife, Catherine, had their hair shaved off and made into wigs while on campaign in Dagestan which they would take off during the day to keep cool and put on at night to stay warm, as well as the buckets of grain liquor doled out to invited revellers at the Summer Palace Best read and appreciated as entertainment rather than history But as readable and a massive a narrative biography as one canor less easily get in English If you read just one book on Peter the Great, this should be it If you read two books on Peter the Great, let me know how the other one turns out just kidding, there are probably other good books on Peter the Great, but none likely as well written as this one This book succeeds not just because it deals with a fascinating person in a time where the landscape of the world was ever changing, but it succeeds because the author, Robert Massie, is a fantastic and engaging writer Seriously, to ma If you read just one book on Peter the Great, this should be it If you read two books on Peter the Great, let me know how the other one turns out just kidding, there are probably other good books on Peter the Great, but none likely as well written as this one This book succeeds not just because it deals with a fascinating person in a time where the landscape of the world was ever changing, but it succeeds because the author, Robert Massie, is a fantastic and engaging writer Seriously, to make 850 dense pages of Russian history read like a novel, you have to be doing something right, and Massie clearly is so don t be intimidated by the size or weight of the book as it is well worth the read.Massie doesn t just do a terrific job of following the life of Peter the Great, but he paints a detailed picture of late 17th century and early 18th century Russia, he delves in to the intrigue of Europe and the Ottoman Empire with substantial portraits of other leaders such as Charles the XII of Sweden and note to readers, apparently Sweden kicked a lot of ass back then, who knew , The Sun King Louis the XIV, Augustus of Poland, Frederick William of Prussia, and numerous others In fact the bulk of the book focuses on the 20 year Baltic War between Russia and Sweden which lasted for most of Peter the Great s reign and established Russia as a new power in Europe where the role of Charles the XII is as integral to the story as the role of Peter So while this section involves a deep look at Peter the Great, it also spends almost as much time on Charles the XII.Anyway, this is a lively, engaging, and expansive look at Peter the Great who changed the thinking and the standing of an entire country Peter turned an isolated and backward Russia that was an afterthought to most of Europe, in to a world power simply by the drive of his own will He had no role model for what he did which was essentially bringing European culture to Russia and catapulting Russia out of the dark ages Whether it was his desire for a Russian navy which he built from nothing to a formidable power by his demise, and quick spoiler, but Peter does die at the end of the book , to have Russians adopt European dress and standards, or to gain land to push Russia s influence further in the world, Peter never stopped, even if the toll was great the taxation on Russians was immense, not to mention all of the torture, killings, and deaths associated with putting down rebellions, waging war, and building the entire new city of St Petersburg To be honest, the amount of torture and death back then really was overwhelming, heck, Peter even had his own son killed for discussing a rebellion and fleeing Russia rather than choosing to follow in Peter s footsteps.Through all of the uncertainty and limited information, Peter refused to accept defeat and in the end created a new power So if you have a free week or twenty, I highly recommend reading this book as it is well written, informative, and doesn t just provide great insight in to a fascinating historical figure, but provides an expansive look at Europe and its leaders at the beginning of the 18th century


About the Author: Robert K. Massie

Robert Kinloch Massie was an American historian, writer, winner of a Pulitzer Prize, and a Rhodes Scholar.Born in Versailles, Kentucky, Massie spent much of his youth there and in Nashville, Tennessee He studied American history at Yale University and modern European history at Oxford University on his Rhodes Scholarship Massie went to work as a journalist for Newsweek from 1959 to 1964 and then took a position at the Saturday Evening Post.After he and his family left America for France, Massie wrote and published his breakthrough book, Nicholas and Alexandra, a biography of the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra of Hesse, and their family and cultural political milieu Massie s interest in the Tsar s family was triggered by the birth of his son, the Rev Robert Kinloch Massie, who suffers from hemophilia, a hereditary disease that also afflicted the last Tsar s son, Alexei In 1971, the book was the basis of an Academy Award winning film of the same title In 1995, in his book The Romanovs The Final Chapter, Massie updated Nicholas and Alexandra with much newly discovered information.In 1975, Robert Massie and his then wife Suzanne chronicled their experiences as the parents of a hemophiliac child and the significant differences between the American and French healthcare systems in their jointly written book, Journey.Massie won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for Peter the Great His Life and World This book inspired a 1986 NBC mini series that won three Emmy Awards, starring Maximilian Schell, Laurence Olivier and Vanessa Redgrave.


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