Julie's Reviews > Peter the Great

Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie
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's review
Aug 13, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: own, non-fiction, romanov
Read in August, 2010

I can understand why this incredible biography was a Pulitzer Prize recipient. Having read two of Massie’s Romanov books, I was familiar with his thoroughness, but the scope of Peter’s life story was far greater than I anticipated. Massie addresses every detail of Peter’s life, Russian culture, and a myriad of other aspects of the late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century. Massie effectively weaves all of the characters in Peter’s circle with the events that shaped his world. This book successfully illustrates the “phenomenal energy” that was Peter, from his military campaigns and his fascination with all things naval to his insatiable curiosity about all things western. Though some of the details about the very long war with Sweden were somewhat tedious, any omission of these exploits would have detracted from the overall big picture. Peter’s establishment of St. Petersburg and his exposure to European culture was a major influence in his reign and enabled him to achieve so much. This gave me a better understanding of how isolated and superstitious Russia was prior to Peter’s era. His contributions to the changes in Russian government, policies, diplomacy, geography, and society were impactful, though often resisted. Basically, this book is the authority on Peter the Great and I consider this a must-read for anyone interested in Russian history.

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Reading Progress

05/27/2010 page 400
08/11/2010 page 828
86.0% "Technically, I'm 94% done with this book because the last 60 pages or so are bibliography and additional material."
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