Peter the Great

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Centuries after he ruled Russia from 1689 to 1725, Peter the Great remains one of the most revered and enigmatic leaders in world history. This penetrating study by noted Yale historian Paul Bushkovitch casts new light on Peter and his times, and demonstrates why it is impossible to comprehend the later course of Russian history without first grasping Peter's profound influence. Bushkovitch illustrates how Peter, during his thirty-six years as tsar, transformed his country into a modern nation—he strengthened the...

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Overview

Centuries after he ruled Russia from 1689 to 1725, Peter the Great remains one of the most revered and enigmatic leaders in world history. This penetrating study by noted Yale historian Paul Bushkovitch casts new light on Peter and his times, and demonstrates why it is impossible to comprehend the later course of Russian history without first grasping Peter's profound influence. Bushkovitch illustrates how Peter, during his thirty-six years as tsar, transformed his country into a modern nation—he strengthened the state, reorganized the army, established a navy, and conquered new territories. In addition to these momentous achievements, Peter changed the face of the Russian character by introducing European culture, scientific innovations, and political thought to Russia. His influence ultimately paved the way for liberalism, Western-style nationalism, and communism. In the end, neither his contemporaries nor generations of future historians can agree on how Peter should be remembered: was he a heroic reformer who brought Russia into the modern age, or a violent despot who valued the ideas of foreigners over Russian heritage?

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Editorial Reviews

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In this brief and easily digestible biography, Bushkovitch captures the essence of Peter's powerful personality—his physical strength, his ceaseless curiosity, and his indomitable will. Unlike several of Peter's earlier biographers, Bushkovitch downplays his subject's image as a lone-wolf modernizer; rather, he asserts that Peter often acted in concert with many of his supposedly reluctant nobles. This well-written survey of the life of an important, dynamic, and often frightening ruler should encourage general readers to delve deeper into the subject.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Paul Bushkovitch is professor of history at Yale University.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Russia at the End of the Seventeenth Century Chapter 2 Tradition and Westernization Chapter 3 A Quarter Century of Conflict 1676-1699 Chapter 4 The Era of Experimentation 1700-1716 Chapter 5 Crisis and Resolution 1716-1725 Chapter 6 Absolutism, Aristocracy, and Reform

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