Russia in the Age of Peter the Great

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9780300082661: Russia in the Age of Peter the Great
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Peter the Great, often known as the Tsar Reformer, initiated a program of modernization and Westernization that affected the lives of all his subjects. He founded a new capital, St. Petersburg, which became a symbol of cultural change, and a navy, which signaled Russia’s emergence as a maritime power. He also reinforced the old institutions of serfdom and autocracy. This magisterial book a history of Peter and the Russia he governed examines the impact of a man who was both acclaimed as the architect of the New Russia and condemned as a crude despot who sacrificed cherished traditions for the sake of international success.
Drawing on previously unavailable sources, Lindsey Hughes provides an engrossing account of one of the most significant periods in Russian history. She proceeds thematically, discussing Russia’s foreign policy, the army and navy, economy, governing institutions, society, arts, education, and religion. She explores the experience of women and investigates the life of the court (including Peter’s All-Drunken Assembly”), feasts, entertainments, and popular culture. Although the book is not a biography, Peter is a vivid presence throughout a six-foot-seven-inch giant who enjoyed the company of dwarfs and ordinary people, adopted disguises and pseudonyms, married a peasant, and had a passion for cultural reform. Hughes recounts the events that shaped Peter’s youth, provides an intimate character sketch, and explores his complex family relations (including the tragic conflict with his eldest son Alexis, whom he condemned to death). Her account closes with a reconsideration of the Petrine legacy from Peter’s time to our own, as his name and image become harnessed to sell beer and cigarettes and the erection of his statue provokes recent controversy.

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Like the luckless hero of Pushkin's "The Bronze Horseman," driven mad by St. Petersburg floods, all of Russia is in some sense pursued by the ghost of Peter the Great. Literally larger than life at six foot seven inches, the country's alternately revered and reviled monarch was a man of intense contradictions: famous for introducing Western modes of speech, custom, and thought, he also strengthened the dubious Russian traditions of autocracy and serfdom. Present-day Russians are similarly divided over the Petrine legacy. Admirers point to his striking imperial achievements as well as his success in promoting learning, science, and clerical and legal reform. Critics see in his harsh totalitarian rule the antecedent for despots like Stalin. Either way, it's clear that he was the single person most responsible for dragging Russia from the Middle Ages into the Enlightenment. In Lindsey Hughes's massive, meticulously detailed history, Russia in the Age of Peter the Great, the tsar is depicted warts and all. It's a balanced view, presented in lucid, jargon-free prose and supported by impeccable research. Hughes delves into not only the familiar territory of Peter's military and naval innovations, but also previously underexplored topics such as the changing role of women under his rule. Most intriguingly, she cites the tsar's fondness for masks, role-playing, and disguise. The chapters detailing the peculiarities of Peter's psychology make for perhaps the most absorbing reading in a book full of insights and surprises. Sufficiently rigorous for scholars yet eminently accessible to the general reader, Russia in the Age of Peter the Great is an invaluable addition to the literature surrounding this complicated and fascinating man. --Mary Park

About the Author:

Lindsey Hughes is professor of Russian history at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London.

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. This magisterial book is a history of Peter the Great and the Russia he governed. It not only investigates Peter s life and legacy but also explains the impact of the Tsar Reformer on Petrine Russia s foreign policy, economy, governing institutions, society, culture and educational system. The most comprehensive study of Petrine Russia available in English. Richard Pipes, The New Republic Thanks to Hughes s beautifully written book, for the first time the English-speaking reader is provided with a sufficiently full and just account of the events and institutions of Peter s reign . Her work will without doubt long remain the standard text. Nikolai Tolstoy, Literary Review A balanced and absorbing account of Peter and his times. Robin Buss, Independent on Sunday A superbly comprehensive survey of the Petrine era . Hughes writes in a crisp, factual, scholarly manner . She has a fine eye for significant detail, as well as grand themes. George Walden, The Daily Telegraph Hughes has produced such a comprehensive, scholarly and fluently written study of this horrific, complex man and his fascinating times that no one will need to revisit the subject for decades to come. Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday. Seller Inventory # AAV9780300082661

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.This magisterial book is a history of Peter the Great and the Russia he governed. It not only investigates Peter s life and legacy but also explains the impact of the Tsar Reformer on Petrine Russia s foreign policy, economy, governing institutions, society, culture and educational system. The most comprehensive study of Petrine Russia available in English. Richard Pipes, The New Republic Thanks to Hughes s beautifully written book, for the first time the English-speaking reader is provided with a sufficiently full and just account of the events and institutions of Peter s reign . Her work will without doubt long remain the standard text. Nikolai Tolstoy, Literary Review A balanced and absorbing account of Peter and his times. Robin Buss, Independent on Sunday A superbly comprehensive survey of the Petrine era . Hughes writes in a crisp, factual, scholarly manner . She has a fine eye for significant detail, as well as grand themes. George Walden, The Daily Telegraph Hughes has produced such a comprehensive, scholarly and fluently written study of this horrific, complex man and his fascinating times that no one will need to revisit the subject for decades to come. Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday. Seller Inventory # AAV9780300082661

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Book Description Yale University Press. Paperback. Condition: New. 640 pages. Dimensions: 9.1in. x 6.2in. x 1.8in.This magisterial book is a history of Peter the Great and the Russia he governed. It not only investigates Peters life and legacy but also explains the impact of the Tsar Reformer on Petrine Russias foreign policy, economy, governing institutions, society, culture and educational system. The most comprehensive study of Petrine Russia available in English. Richard Pipes, The New Republic Thanks to Hughess beautifully written book, for the first time the English-speaking reader is provided with a sufficiently full and just account of the events and institutions of Peters reign . . . Her work will without doubt long remain the standard text. Nikolai Tolstoy, Literary Review A balanced and absorbing account of Peter and his times. Robin Buss, Independent on Sunday A superbly comprehensive survey of the Petrine era . . . Hughes writes in a crisp, factual, scholarly manner . . . She has a fine eye for significant detail, as well as grand themes. George Walden, The Daily Telegraph Hughes has produced such a comprehensive, scholarly and fluently written study of this horrific, complex man and his fascinating times that no one will need to revisit the subject for decades to come. Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780300082661

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