We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Peter the Great Audiobook

Peter the Great: His Life and World

Regular Price:$34.96
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

"Enthralling.... As fascinating as any novel and more so than most!" (New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (581 )
5 star
 (310)
4 star
 (157)
3 star
 (75)
2 star
 (19)
1 star
 (20)
Overall
4.4 (472 )
5 star
 (292)
4 star
 (105)
3 star
 (53)
2 star
 (11)
1 star
 (11)
Story
4.0 (478 )
5 star
 (223)
4 star
 (125)
3 star
 (65)
2 star
 (31)
1 star
 (34)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Adam IRVING, TX, United States 10-26-11
    Adam IRVING, TX, United States 10-26-11 Member Since 2016

    Adam

    HELPFUL VOTES
    95
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    31
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good"

    This is a very good book. It covers a critically important topic in history that is often neglected, and does it in good detail with great prose. One thing in particular I liked about it was that on several occasions it discusses some other events going on in Europe at the time, and is thus even more informative than it would be otherwise.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abby Seattle, WA, United States 08-08-11
    Abby Seattle, WA, United States 08-08-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Engaging, easy to follow, and well narrated."

    Mr. Massie's book is very engaging and flows with an easy narrative. The scenes and people are very well described, giving the reader a rich visual and psychological picture of Peter the Great's Russia. He does a great job of detailing not only great events but also such things as interior and exterior architecture, hairstyles, crime statistics, the different materials shoes were made of, what contemporary maps looked like, food eaten by peasants and at court, and etc. He also does great service to describing the situation of women in general but also the specific details of women whose lives came to bear on the story of Peter and current events. The many characters and parties are easy to keep track of, and all in all this book is a clear picture of the life and times of Peter the Great. The narration was clear and engaging - though I find that British accents can be sometimes hard to understand, I had no such problem with this audiobook. I would recommend this for any person, not only Russophiles or history buffs.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan poplarville, MS, United States 11-06-11
    Susan poplarville, MS, United States 11-06-11 Member Since 2011

    work as an artist and art restorer. read at least 48 books a year, because I can listen while I work.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "detailed history"

    this was one of those books I'd read many years before, and found it to be wonderfully interesting, and got me started liking history in general. Peter was such an intriguing character - and I was glad to see it offered in audible form. It is, however quite detailed, and if you are not interested in how military battles commence, then maybe this is not for you. I do recommend it however, for its insight into not just Peter, but Russian life at the time.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Houston, TX, United States 09-08-13
    David Houston, TX, United States 09-08-13 Member Since 2008

    Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2311
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    565
    169
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    400
    17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Accurate title"

    His life and WORLD indeed. This is much more than a detailed biography of a fascinating man. Massie includes extensive character studies of every major figure on the European scene during Peter's rule, with major digressions into the social and political landscape in which they operated. The result is a sweeping appraisal of the age in Russia and its European and Ottoman environs, filled with evocative detail which brings it all to life. I found it most convenient to listen in fairly small bites over a long period of time and enjoyed the book extremely. Some of this history was fairly new to me, and following the peripatetic and much larger than life Peter through his extraordinary life was a great way to get to know it.

    There is a good deal of military and campaign narrative in the book for which it is helpful to have some maps close at hand. The writing is of such a high caliber, however, that even those who are bored by military history will likely find enough colorful detail, along with glimpses of a plethora of intriguing characters of all stripes, to maintain interest. And in the end this is definitely not a book dominated by battles. Even in a narrative which is so wide ranging and all encompassing, only one subject dominates--the towering personage of Peter.

    My only regret about this huge book is that so much of it will pass out of my memory in short order. Perhaps in a few years I will listen again, and that is high praise about so long a book from a person who almost never rereads.

    Finally, though the book is decades old, written before the end of the Soviet Union, it still stands up very well, even read by Frederick Davidson in his sometimes irritatingly mannered style. I recommend it highly to any fan of well written popular history.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Moore Bay Area, CA USA 05-11-14
    Michael Moore Bay Area, CA USA 05-11-14 Member Since 2005

    mcubed33

    HELPFUL VOTES
    415
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    120
    66
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    93
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "My Favorite HIstorian!"

    Here is another example of a masterful storyteller and historian at work. The Massie histories read like personal biographies—amply supported by contemporary letters and memoirs, they furnish memorable and personal accounts of the time. You will be much enriched by this book, as well as all others that Massie has authored.

    Here one learns a number of unforgettable and vivid stories about Peter the Great. For example, his frequent habit of traveling abroad “incognito” in order to satisfy his insatiable curiosity about the technology and culture of the lands he visited without the waste of time and needless formality that he would have encountered on an official visit as Czar of Russia. A man of restless energy and great ambition, he recognized early on that Russia must learn from the West, rather than stay isolated in its own traditions (a lesson the current leader, Mr. Putin, might well ponder anew). We also learn that Peter was a man of good luck. His great victory over the Swedish King Karl XII was nearly thrown away two years later when the Ottoman Turks in loose alliance with the Swedes were in a position to destroy the bulk of Peter’s army and likely would have had Karl been on the scene. Instead, a very mild peace was agreed by a Turkish commander who did not fully understand the strength of his position.

    You will enjoy this book for the many great insights on the period brought alive by personal stories, apt descriptions, and extremely well informed commentary of Mr. Massie, all supported by meticulous research and a very rare talent for interesting and engaging writing.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph 07-19-11
    Joseph 07-19-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    99
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent Book!"

    This audio version of a fantastic book is perfect. The narrator is grand, capable of pronouncing russian names without a problem, and keeping the right rythm, not reading to slow or to quickly.
    The book is written, grouping the events and actions surrounding certain persons or places, or stages and attitudes of Peter's life, into chapters. It does not progress chronologically from event to event, be they unrelated, that the reader would soon feel themselves asking "who is he? and how does he relate?" It is excellently structured, it reads well. I give it a top notch rating.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    laurie 01-20-14
    laurie 01-20-14

    I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    167
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    98
    62
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    26
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Let's Invite Peter for Dinner"

    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?!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Winding Cove 08-26-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Most annoying narrator ever."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narration was so terrible, I had to steal myself before returning to the book each time. It's unfortunate, as the story itself is well-written, engrossing, and informative of this period in history.


    What other book might you compare Peter the Great to and why?

    I loved Catherine the Great by this same author and narrated by Mark Deakins. I was hoping to derive similar enjoyment from this book.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The author has the most nasally voice imaginable. Little to no variation in his inflection and words run together and fade off at the end of sentences making it a chore to understand what he's even saying.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CC 08-14-15
    CC 08-14-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    28
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Terribly unclear narrator. Don't waster your money"
    What disappointed you about Peter the Great?

    There are many parts where I can't fully understand the narrator's words, even after rewinding his speech is still incomprehensible.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Robert K. Massie? Why or why not?

    I love Robert Massie, but this book is ruined by the horrible audible narrator.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Should consider refund or re-recording.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Esther Philadelphia, PA United States 05-08-15
    Esther Philadelphia, PA United States 05-08-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Narrator ruins a great book"

    In distinction to all of my other Audible purchases, where it was more pleasant to listen to the narrator read the book than to actually read it myself, Frederick Davidson ruins this excellent book. Mr. Davidson speaks as if he has nothing but disdain for the reader and the subject matter Both my husband, who had read the book previously, and I were unable to listen to the audio version. I am sorry to speak ill of any person dedicated enough to read an entire work aloud, and I am sure Mr. Davison is an excellent actor in the right niche (perhaps portraying evil, Machiavellian, thoroughly unlikeable characters), but as the narrator of a history book, he just sounds like he is talking down his nose at the subject and the poor listener. It is a very poor fit between narrator and book. VERY disappointing!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.