Peter the Great of Russia: An English Historiography of the XVIII and XIX Centuries

Vast, ungovernable, intemperate and cruel these terms apply equally to Tsar Peter the Great and the sprawling empire he ruled. A fear-driven epileptic ogre, who deserted his army before battle and personally executed his son? Or an energetic reforming hero, the father of modern Russia? The author s great strength as a historiographer is his use of indigenous sources, including diplomatic texts Sborniki and his mastery of Russian and Polish. His dismissal of Voltaire and the British hagiographers is as convincing as his championing of Waliszewski and de Ségur. Lastly, his piece on Tsarina Catherine s Polish origins is ample testimony to painstaking research and scholarly care that informs all of this highly enjoyable work.