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on 9 August 2013
I enjoyed this book very much. It is well written -with an empathic style but rich in language, making me feel as if Owen Matthews himself was right there, talking in all eloquence- and superbly interesting on both accounts of the title:

1. the story of Nikolai Rezanov is pricelss, a character of such contradictions which at times you simpathize with, at times makes you cringe in shock. Almost all qualities seemed to rush through his fast paced life.

2. For a reader with little prior background on Russia, it explains with both analysis and interesting anecdote the expansion of the Russian Empire towards the Wild East, as well as the intricacies of palace gossip and conspiracy. At times, it truly felt like an episode of Game of Thrones!

All in all, a very rewarding and accessible book.
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on 26 August 2013
Not only is this a story of Russia's lost eastern empire in America but it reads at times like a novel from the Wild West which also deals with the court at St Petersburg and the social hierarchy of the Russian Empire of the 18th century as well as life in colonial California. Very well written and keeps the reader's attention.
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on 14 February 2014
Absolutely fantastic book about Russia's attempts to build a colonial empire in the Pacific. The story centers on Nikolai Rezanov, a former provincial court clerk who manages to climb the social ladder at the St. Petersburg court; eventually making it to boss of the Russian American Company which exploits Russia's outposts on the Aleutian Islands. A fascinating job which not only confronts him with violent natives and perpetually drunk Russian colonists, but also brings him to Japan on a failed 'embassy', to Hawaii and even to California where he almost marries the beautiful daughter of the Spanish governer of San Francisco. Owens's writing is simply brilliant making what is already a great story absolutely epic. Can't recommend this one strongly enough.
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on 7 September 2013
The mass of facts could have been presented more chronologically and there should have been more skilful editing so that the huge achievements of these small bands of Russians would have been blazoned forth rather than revealed in fits and starts. Despite all of these negatives it was a book well worth the effort and opens up a field of interest to those who would wish to know more about discoveries in the eastern Pacific. The huge reach of the Royal navy even after the American war of Independence features as do the trade of Boston merchants round Cape Horn and to Japan and China in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
A rewarding read.
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on 28 March 2014
A little known slice of history presented in depth but with accessibly and often with real humour. Go buy it!
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on 2 January 2016
1st Class
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on 25 April 2014
Interesting, educational but stalled a bit in the middle. Possibly about half as long again as it needed to be.
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on 21 December 2014
Gift
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on 9 November 2013
Good price and look forward to reading this. Sounded very interesting upon reading the synopsis. Not got around to it yet but wanted to review the efficiency of the order and the competitive price on Amazon
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on 8 December 2013
Can only comment on the purchase of the item. It arrived on time and well packed. As it was a birthday gift I can only say that the recipient was delighted to receive it.
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