Cover image for Peter the Great
Peter the Great
Bushkovitch, Paul.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, MD : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, [2001]

Physical Description:
xii, 187 pages ; 23 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DK131 .B897 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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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 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?

Author Notes

Paul Bushkovitch is professor of history at Yale University. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Peter the Great was Stalin's "favorite" czar. Like Peter, Stalin saw himself as an instrument of history, destined to drag his backward country, kicking and screaming, into a modern era. In this brief and easily digestible biography, Bushkovitch, professor of history at Yale University, 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. The author is clearly an admirer of Peter, and he chooses not to emphasize his less attractive qualities, including his near megalomania and his inability to control his towering rages. Still, 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. --Jay Freeman

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Forewordp. vii
Chronologyp. xi
Introductionp. 1
1 Russia at the End of the Seventeenth Centuryp. 13
2 Tradition and Westernizationp. 45
3 A Quarter-Century of Conflict, 1676-1699p. 77
4 The Era of Experimentation, 1700-1716p. 107
5 Crisis and Resolution, 1716-1725p. 139
6 Absolutism, Aristocracy, and Reformp. 169
Indexp. 175
About the Authorp. 185