This superbly told story brings to life one of the most remarkable rulers––and men––in all of history and conveys the drama of his life and world. The Russia of Peter's birth was very different from the Russia his energy, genius, and ruthlessness shaped. Crowned co-Tsar as a child of ten, after witnessing bloody uprisings in the streets of Moscow, he would grow up propelled by an unquenchable curiosity, everywhere looking, asking, tinkering, and learning, fired by Western ideas.
We see Peter in his 20s traveling "incognito" with his ambassadors to the courts of Europe; as the victorious soldier proclaimed Emperor; as the simple workman at his forge; and as the visionary statesman who single-handedly created a formidable world power. Impetuous and stubborn, bawdy and stern, relentless in his perseverance, he was capable of the greatest generosity and the greatest cruelty.
©1980 Robert K. Massie (P)1991 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Enthralling.... As fascinating as any novel and more so than most!" (New York Times Book Review)
I was excited to read another book about Peter The Great and was disappointed with the story, delivery and historical facts. It would not be Peter the Great that Russians would recognize as in the A. Tolstoy book... granted Tolstoy's book is a work of fiction based on the historical character, while this book is more like a delivery of chronological events based on limited biased materials mostly emphasizing negative parts of Peter's life and focusing on his shortcomings. Even with the assumption that the author wanted to deliver historical picture of other countries and cultures at the time there was too much of that and too little of understanding of Russia... References to former Soviet Union and Lenin were totally out of place (yup I do hate communists too, but what that have to do with Peter the Great?)
The narration was boring and sleep-igniting, facts not interesting or accurate, story was not fluent. Do not recommend this one, it is waste of time unless you use it instead of sleeping pills :-)
Yes! So much fact and documentation, the reader will gain from a 3rd and 4th reading!
Kept my attention!
I really enjoyed this book. Robert Massie covers the history of everything going on that had any influence on Peter. I would recommend this book to anyone who knows little or nothing about Russian history. It's a good story and you get a picture of life in the 16th-17th century.
I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
How many times has someone asked, "If you could meet any historical figure . . ." and you had so many names flash before your eyes, you couldn't make a decision? Well, Peter the Great is Numero Uno for me after having listened to this book. He not only dragged Russia into the modern world, he was a wild man, with boundless curiosity, intelligence, and energy. He didn't care about society's dictates. He didn't care about ceremony, tradition, or rituals.He mocked courtly behavior and the Church. In many ways he was like an out-of-control fraternity boy. He drank too much and partied to the point where no one could keep up with him. At 6'7", he traveled throughout Europe "incognito," not wanting royalty to acknowledge him as he visited their country to learn all he could to improve the life of his countrymen.
This book does not limit itself to Peter the Great. It's about his era, and it was fascinating. I can't recommend it enough.
As for the narrator, is it possible this man lisps, and no one ever noticed?!
Semi-retired labor and delivery nurse, wife, mother and grandmother of 10. Love to read for pleasure. B&B owner in the Texas Hill Country.
Obviously from the headline, the narrator.
The details the author gleaned from so long ago gives the people of history life.
The affected, selective lisp. In many instances I could not even understand what word he was saying. Throughout the book, he occasionally said his s normally but usually tried real hard to lisp. It didn't even sound like a lisp sometimes but some childish rendition of a lisp. Leave your need for attention at home, Mr Davidson. Listeners are interested in what the author is saying, not in what you are saying. It is hard to believe that Blackstone didn't stop very early on in the process and get someone else. When he said his name at the end of the recording he pronounced his last name perfectly.
What? The book is about Peter the Great, not Robert Massie
This is somewhat like a history book but many personal details from letters written at the time brought it to a very interesting level. People definitely thought differently about many things. Some things haven't changed. Leaders of countries continue making huge decisions contrary to the welfare of the people supporting them.
I would recommend that this book be read in book form or as an ebook. It’s sad to say, but this reader has an irritating lisp that keeps jarring my ear, and requires me to constantly translate what I’m hearing.
I love the descriptive passages by Robert Massie, and want to read more of his histories.
I would defiantly not want another book read by him.
a good tour of a great man, great in the sense of large, powerful, world-changing, not in the spiritual sense!
The view of Russia at that point in time, and getting to know Peter's arch-nemesis Charles the 5th of Sweden. We need a good English-language bio of him, now!
We Will Be Modern (and have ships)
Yes. It's a cool story
Czar Peter. He was extraordinary.
He has a lisp that is difficult to get over.
No- it's like 40+ hours long...
I'm a retired librarian with a strong interest in religion, Russian history and biography, and the two world wars. Have been known to take a side trip to mysteries with a political angle.
Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie
I’m listening to Massie's bio of Czar Peter the Great (last part of1600s-first part of 1700s). Interesting how reading several biographies will cast events in different lights. Example: Other biographers describe in detail how he, as a child, put together a play militia, pulling in neighborhood boys. Massie mentions it frequently as his developing a cadre of boys, who as men often stepped in to support him, but he doesn’t describe it as vividly as some biographers do. (I especially noticed this when I read a dozen biographies of Catherine the Great and wrote comparative reviews They're on the internet.)
I'm impressed with how war-ridden Europe was across that time. The little city states were constantly sending armies into each other's domains, trying to grab land. The armies did immense damage along the way, and not only in trying to feed themselves. They also gratuitously killed people and/or burned whole towns and cities to the ground.
The author takes the reader on some unexpected side trips. He does mini-bios of other major figures of the day, such as King Louis XIV of France, whose love of opulence influences what we describe as elegant even today, and King Charles XII of Sweden, who was for many years Peter’s mortal enemy. He describes life in the Turkish sultan's harem. (Wonder how he learned that?) Torture was common; Massie does not spare us the details.
PG’s interests encompassed everything, practical as well as theoretical, and he wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty. Since he wanted very much to have a navy (he was pretty much the only person in Russia who did), we get a peek at the state of naval art at the time. To secure the area around St. Petersburg, he used galleys!
Massie not only gives a vivid bio of this influential historical person; he helps us understand Europe as it struggled to enter the modern era.
The quality of Frederick Davidson's reading is excellent; solidly professional. He needed to speak lines/ names that were Russian, German, and French, which many readers could not have done as well. I wish his voice would have been more modulated, but there was little soft about Peter the Great.
I really tried listening to this book. I probably lasted 2 1/2 hours or so listening on a long drive, but I finally had to give up. This narration is so dry and mono-toned that I finally had to give up. My apologies to the author, because based on the reviews on Amazon, I'm sure this is a great book, but I may never know.
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