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Peter the Great Audiobook

Peter the Great: His Life and World

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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

4.3 (636 )
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4.0 (529 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lector Curiosus New York 12-20-14
    Lector Curiosus New York 12-20-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Massive Massie work spottily read."
    Would you be willing to try another one of Frederick Davidson’s performances?

    I have been ambivalent ever since I heard his first narration. His diction in this book is rather poor with him swallowing the end of almost every sentence.


    Was Peter the Great worth the listening time?

    I'm finding it a rather tough go.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Tuscola, IL, United States 11-08-14
    Dan Tuscola, IL, United States 11-08-14
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    "Not for everyone........"
    What did you love best about Peter the Great?

    It is a wonderful book about Peter the Great, if you're into the 17th and 18th centuries. But be for warned this is about russia and there's a lot of russian names. I say this because the narrator pronounces them (I'm assuming correctly) and keeps on going, whether you have had to time to digest them of not. I read several of the the reviews stating they couldn't understand the narrator. I have no idea where they get that. I have listened to well more than half of the book and have had no difficulty with the narration. The time Massie took doing research must have been incredible. Especially when you consider this was written during the USSR days. It's truly incredible! Great book if you like in depth detailed historys!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katie Sullivan 09-01-14
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    "Wonderfully researched and detailed"
    Would you listen to Peter the Great again? Why?

    I would gladly reread Peter the Great, and intend to read more of Massie's works. I thoroughly enjoyed the organization, style, and tone of the entire text.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This story used strong historiography and told a full, illuminating story of Peter, as well as everyone around him. I feel as if I've also read a biography of Alexis I of Russia, Charles XII of Sweden, Peter Menschekov, and Catherine I of Russia, all at the same time. This provides wonderful context and leaves one completely immersed in Peter's world. I found myself rooting for Peter's friends and foes alike, feeling in awe at his achievements and those of his rival Charles, and overall enjoying Russian history, which has not typically been among my favorite subjects. I have a new found love for the topic, and will soon be reading Massie's more recent work on Catherine the Great.


    Have you listened to any of Frederick Davidson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have also listened to Southey's biography of Horatio Lord Nelson, read by Davidson, and have resolved to read no other audiobook unless it is narrated by Davidson. His cadence, tone, and voice cues made listening all the easier. If a book is not narrated by Davidson, I'll as soon carve out time and read it myself.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I found myself volunteering to run every little errand in order to get in the car alone and listen to this book. I listened in the shower, while mowing, and every other time in which I had 'mental liberty' to apply to the text.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janne 08-16-14
    Janne 08-16-14 Member Since 2017
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    "So disappointed"
    What disappointed you about Peter the Great?

    Of all his books, this turned out to be my least favourite. There is a missing narrative and at the end I feel that I learned very little about Peter the Great. To make up for this there are long description of both important and irrelevant battles. The few facts about the Tsar are repeated, such as wanting to travel incognito, being tall, working on boats.<br/>When I first heard the narrator, it made me laugh a little. The extreme English accent almost seem put on. (I am sure it's not) I got used to it, but never enjoyed the narration.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert FRESNO, CALIFORNIA, United States 02-03-14
    Robert FRESNO, CALIFORNIA, United States 02-03-14
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    "Excellent!"
    Would you listen to Peter the Great again? Why?

    Yes! So much fact and documentation, the reader will gain from a 3rd and 4th reading!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Kept my attention!


    Have you listened to any of Frederick Davidson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Brackettville, TX, United States 01-28-14
    Linda Brackettville, TX, United States 01-28-14 Member Since 2008
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    "This is one I'll listen to again"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Windham, NH, United States 07-08-13
    Elizabeth Windham, NH, United States 07-08-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Crazy and brilliant"
    If you could sum up Peter the Great in three words, what would they be?

    a good tour of a great man, great in the sense of large, powerful, world-changing, not in the spiritual sense!


    What did you like best about this story?

    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!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    We Will Be Modern (and have ships)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edna M. Boardman Bismarck, ND 02-25-13
    Edna M. Boardman Bismarck, ND 02-25-13

    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.

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    "Peter the Great Wrests Russia from Backwardness"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs. Debra E. Humm-bremser 02-11-13 Member Since 2013

    I decided to use my time being laid up to get smarter! In 18 months I've listened to over 200 books, mostly history, literature & biography.

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    "Russian history is just the beginning. . ."
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Peter the Great?

    Saint Petersburg's founding


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    There's too much to digest.


    Any additional comments?

    Massie takes the time to fully introduce the peers of Peter The Great along with their countries and how interconnected they were. I never knew how powerful Sweden was or how influential Dutch merchants were. I wanted to delve into Russian history and now my favorite European historical figure is Peter because he was tireless in his effort to make his country a leader in trade, navy, and power. His curiosity in how everything worked was refreshing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lindsey New York, New York, United States 01-30-13
    Lindsey New York, New York, United States 01-30-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Fascinating biography"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you are interested in history, this is a great read because peter the great is a fascinating character. The book is extremely well researched and balances creating a narrative and relating history very well.


    What about Frederick Davidson’s performance did you like?

    The narrator has a very clear voice that is easy to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    Great value!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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