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on 8 July 2013
Not just a compelling biography of one of history's major figures, but interwoven with it are insightful pen pictures other titans who bestrode the European stage in his era, e.g. Louis XIV of France, George I of England, the Sultans and Grand Viziers of Constantinople, and not least Peter's great antagonist Charles XII of Sweden. From the grand sweep of European diplomacy to the detail of court intrigue and of the battleground, this book has it all.
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on 12 August 2014
I simply could not put this book down. The author's genuine fascination with the topic and his sympathy for the main character, Peter The Great, is very apparent throughout the book thus making it a thoroughly enjoyable account of Russian history at its key point as emerging new empire. Just such a wonderful well written book about a great subject. Would recommend to anyone who wants to learn about Russian history and understand modern Russia.
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on 8 June 2014
I have not finished it yet as it is a very long book but find it extremely interesting and look forward to the rest.
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on 19 March 2013
I am enjoying it. Realised how little i/british population have been told about european history and how great all the other nations have been/are and that they have a past which shamfully we have never been told about. What do we ever get told about Sweden apart from Abba. Soo interesting, but sooo long. Feel guilty that I bought it so cheaply and Robert Massie put so much work into writing it.
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on 27 October 2015
I am only rating this book for 3 reasons. The first is that there were occasional errors with things like dates/ages not matching. The next was it reminded me of "war and peace" with a lot of what I found boring "war bits" which were very detailed but I was glad when I had finished these sections. Finally, I found Peter the Great an odious, hypocritical man. He married a peasant after mistreating his first wife and yet he felt superior to these peasants. He was a terrible father. The author seemed to treat him as either a hero or impartially which was his choice but this wound me up because I would have felt the author saw him as the bully that I saw him as. I appreciate it was a different time but I kind of felt he was portrayed as a hero. I felt so so sorry for Charles the king of Sweden.
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on 13 March 2015
Tremendous amount of information about the whole of peter the Great's life - warts and all. A lot of detailed information about life not just in Russia but also in other parts of Europe e.g. England, France, Holland, Sweden, during 17th & 18th century, useful background which informs about present day patterns of government, national/international relationship. Well worth reading.
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on 27 June 2013
I sat through 2 years of A level history in the 1980s and Peter the Great was one of the areas of study. I learned more about Peter the Great from reading this book than those 2 years of listening to Miss Shear droning on. This book can be read as a serious study or simply as a good biographical read. The author hits each audience... oh and at 99p on Kindle it was a bargain.
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on 27 January 2015
A wonderfully scholarly but truly accessible book. I am loving it and have been recommending it to friends and family. It is a long book but each chapter is so enthralling and the characters, not of individuals but the whole nation, are written with sympathy, humour and clarity. I will most certainly be seeking out more books by this author.
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on 14 January 2013
I tried this book after a trip to St Petersburg last year, although I have never been able to complete a serious history book before. This book is lively, factual and informative and well constructed without getting bogged down in issues and theorising and I can honestly say, entertaining, to someone who is a scientist and not a historian.
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on 13 May 2013
I read Catherine the great first, and I thought she was a special one, but Peter is even more so. It's a long read, but it rolled by, and I was disappointed to end the book. A tribute to both subject and author.
Also because Peter travelled so widely it doubles as a history lesson on the whole of Europe.
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