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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Historical Biography I've ever read
This book is truly epic in scale, you not only get Peter, but Malborough, Charles XII of Sweden, The Sun King, William of Orange, Augustus Of Poland and the Ottoman Empire. The amazing thing is,this mass of information is pulled into a narrative that is so well written, that you scarcely realise that you've just ploughed through 850 odd pages. Fantastic
Published on 17 July 2001

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1 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Badly written book
This book is poorly written. The reader does not want to turn to the next page because the author does not know what he wants to tell.
Published 22 months ago by Adams


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Russian legend, 5 Mar 2012
This is a well-written book that tells the story of the legendary Russian Czar and an era in ways that few other books have been able to door. It is written with a deep appreciation of facts and flows smoothly.Peter The Great's personality is well describes, his travels well told, his goals well articulated and the challenges he faced trying to realize them well exposed. I ended up knowing more about Russia,its history, culture and mind set in ways that I never imagined before and set me on the path of looking for other works that explain Russia to a foreigner better. It led me to The Union Moujik,The Master and the Marguarita. What we see as divisions in Russia today, or the broader Eastern Slavs are well explained.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 12 May 2011
This is one of the finest books in the English language. Massey details the life of one of history's most magnificent characters in a thoroughly readable narrative. From spectacular anecdotes about the eccentric Tsar's personal life to an inspiring account of Peter the Great's domestic and foreign political achievements this splendid tome keeps the reader entertained from cover to cover. There is certainly a bias running through the book, in particular when addressing the rather dubious demise of Peter's son, Alexei. However, we can certainly forgive Massey for this, as for what we lose in Massey's rather forgiving analysis of some of the darker aspects of Peter's character, we amply gain from Massey's ability to delicately craft the complex personality of the man. The reader is left awestruck and inspired.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Biography, 27 Mar 2009
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P. Gallagher (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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I was concerned before reading this book that being over 800 pages it would start to drag. How wrong I was! This isn't just a biography of Peter the Great it's an account of the age he lived in and all the other remarkable characters that defined that age. William of Orange, Louis XIV of France, Frederick the Great, the Duke of Marlborough and Charles XII of Sweden are all encountered in this pacey narrative. There's informed discussion on everything from ship building and weaponry, to the Russian church and the position of women, to war and taxation, every element of Russian and at times European life is covered. A truly monumental book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 11 Mar 2013
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This is a superb book. The only reason I have given it four rather than five stars is that the illustrations are difficult to make out on the Kindle, and I suspect that the paper edition would have had pictures of the major characters which are not on the e-reader. If it doesn't, this would confirm a four star rating for the work as a whole.

Mr Massie paints a balanced picture of Peter, warts and all. We see the autocratic ruler, the reformer determined to drag his country into the modern world, the jovial seaman unwilling to stand on ceremony and the paranoid character who sees plots to depose him everywhere. Perhaps the most poignant event is the death of the Tsarevitch Alexis from torture ordered by his father. That Peter emerges from this event without appearing a monster is a tribute to the author's skill. We also have fascinating impressions of Peter's major contemporaries, especially Charles Xll of Sweden who emerges as a major protagonist in the book.

This is a major work conveying not just the details of Peter's life, but a sweeping observation of all aspects of Russian life. The style is eminently readable. I never thought I would find detailed analysis of an 18th century battle interesting, but in the skilled hands of Robert Massie, the description of Poltava is a real page-turner. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter the Great, 5 Mar 2013
By 
Elizabeth Roe (Chelmsford ,Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peter the Great: The compelling story of the man who created modern Russia, founded St Petersburg and made his country part of Europe (Kindle Edition)
Excellent history, very readable for those just interested or those serious about the subject. Only problem is that in kindle form military maps are just not big enough to be useful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bigger than life, 7 Dec 2012
By 
M. Baerends - See all my reviews
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If there ever was evidence that history is shaped by individuals and not by anonymous forces, it would be the story of Peter the Great. 'Such a bigger than life personality clearly deserves an epic book' is what Massie must have thought - and he really stepped up to the plate. What a fantastic book! Never a dull moment in 850+ pages. Of course, it must have helped that Peter led such a fascinating life, but Massie deserves full credit for this masterpiece. I did feel that he could have been slightly more critical of Peter & elaborate a bit more on the unpleasant sides of his character, but that does not detract at all from this great book. More importantly, there is a huge amount of 'bonus' material' on Peter's contemporaries (Louis XIV, Charles XII, the Prussians, the Ottomans) fully justifying the subtitle 'and his world'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book!, 23 Oct 2012
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Simply the best historical book I ever held in my hands. Could not put it down. My husband, who is not a big reader of historical books, said that it was a work of genius. What's more, it is written with such genuine warmth towards the subject, the culture, and this particular piece of history! I don't like impersonal writings, this one is very personal, written with such respect for Russian history and Russian people! I bought it in a very cheap, bad, paperback edition first, - very quickly realised that it was a unique and sublime piece of writing, and bought it properly published.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book about a fascinating character, 6 Nov 2010
By 
The Emperor (UK) - See all my reviews
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This is one of the best historical biographies that I have ever read. It is long but reading it is never a chore. It goes into an amazing amount of detail but is never boring. It does a great job of putting the events into context and providing just the right amount of historical background. The author does make some judgements but they always seem to be scrupulously fair.

It is almost worth buying the book just to hear the story of why Charles XII rarely drank.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter's Best Biography, 18 Aug 2010
Robert K Massie's biograrphy was the greatest I have yet read of a Russian Tsar. It highlighted Peter's life from beginning to end. It is not a sort read-well of 900 pages, but it is rewarding to the people who want to know more about Russian in the early modern period, and, at least in this reviewer's opinion, the greatest male Russian Tsar there ever was.

One thing I really loved is that, despite being published in 1980 for the first time, and given the 80s was usaully a time when academics wrote history for themselves. Massie did not write like that. He wrote for the general reader, highlighting the stuff they would want to know; things such as Tsar Alexis (Peter's father), and Peter's own daily routine. A very great read, I assure you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great biographies!, 19 Sep 2008
In a word... monumental!

I'm not a slow reader, in fact I'm known amongst friends and family for being a rather speedy text devourer ...but this book took me a couple of weeks to read ...and it proved a delightful and entertaining circa fortnight of reading!

Supremely well written ...it is a most extraordinary, precise and noble account of a truly legendary figure in the annals of history!

Can't be recommended enough!

LS
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