The lives of tsars famous and infamous are covered in a lively series of biographical portraits stretching from the late fifteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Discover the facts behind the reputations of rulers such as Ivan the Terrible, whose reign of terror was unparalleled in Russian history until Stalin; Catherine the Great, the determined young German princess who usurped power; and the last tsar, Nicholas II, vainly endeavoring to cope in a period of devastating change. Here too are the less familiar but equally intriguing personalities who occupied Russia’s imperial throne: the pious but feeble Feodor I and the Empress Anna, with her taste for cruel practical jokes.
With its comprehensive timelines, data files, and quotations, the book is at once an absorbing narrative history and an essential work of reference that brings to life a powerful empire and distinctive civilization.
Very accessible and bright with color and interest.
While the superbly organized text is geared toward general readers, specialists will find considerable value here; Warnes' speculations on the causes of Russian eastward expansion and on the actual relations between church and state are both provocative and credible. Lavish illustrations and instructive maps supplement the text… a valuable resource.
— Library Journal
David Warnes is the author of Russia: A Modern History. He lives in England.