The Romanov dynasty has dazzled, intrigued, and confused the world for more than three centuries. These extraordinary monarchs wielded absolute power over the vast, violent lands of Russia. Savagery and kindness, asceticism and opulence, piousness and cruelty existed side by side in the royal courts.
New York Times bestselling historian Ian Grey threads his way through these turbulent centuries, his focus on the private lives of the tsars themselves, the rulers whose personal histories are entwined with the history of the empire. He brings to life the passions, rages, intrigues, and greatness of the remarkable men and women who guided the destiny of Russia and changed the world.
Catherine II of Russia was the most remarkable monarch of the eighteenth century. New York Times bestselling historian Ian Grey paints an illuminating portrait of an enigmatic woman of compelling charm and elegance. She had a prodigious appetite for work, great curiosity, and boundless ambition and vanity, and she was notorious for the number of her lovers. Her prodigal expenditures and patronage of the arts made her reign an era of splendor while her foreign policy and conquests carried Russian power and prestige to new heights. She cast a spell over most of her contemporaries in Russia and in Western Europe, and the spell has lingered. Here, in this book, is the dramatic story of an obscure German princess, without beauty or special advantage, but with courage, charisma, and determination, who became one of the arbiters of the affairs of Europe and renowned in history. "Ian Grey's Peter the Great reads like a novel . . ."
- Louis Fischer
The first modern Russian was Peter the Great. In this enthralling biography of that remarkable ruler, award-winning historian Ian Grey paints an illuminating portrait - clear, objective, and without malice or sentimentality. Here we have, life-size, not only the great czar, but the man who fell in love with a peasant girl and made her his empress; the father who was betrayed by his son; the giant who carried all his life the scars of a childhood terror; the soldier, sailor, laborer, innovator, and architect of a nation.
Joseph Stalin was one of the most frightening figures of the twentieth century. His name brings to mind brutal terrorism and ruthless oppression. Yet, as New York Times bestselling author Ian Grey shows, at the core of the Man of Steel was a humble, puritanical Georgian peasant. What set him above others was his intelligence, discipline, perception, indomitable will, and above all, a messianic determination to lead Russia to a grand destiny.
Grey's comprehensive biography portrays Stalin as a complex, paradoxical figure - a leader whose power was rooted in the tsarist traditions he abhorred and whose tyranny was based on an ambition to ensure the strength of his party. In his single-minded dedication to the growth of Russia under communism, Stalin was able to disregard all sense of morality. Yet, through his magnetism, he commanded the respect of his colleagues and the adulation of his people. Even Winston Churchill held him in awe.
Stalin is a powerful history of Russia's evolution from backward nation to world power, as well as a dramatic portrait of a man who was called both "The Implacable" and "Beloved Father."
No tsar of Russia has been more widely known by name than Ivan the Terrible. He has exercised a sinister fascination but remained a nebulous figure, seen through a haze of blood and savagery.
In truth, Ivan was extraordinarily complex, extreme in conduct and in speech. His personality was vivid and powerful. He inspired legends and passionate conflicts. But from earliest childhood, he suffered terrors, calamities, and personal tragedies that would have unhinged most people. Fear, betrayals, and desperation made him suspicious and liable to flashing storms of anger, and his punishments were harsh. Indeed, he revealed many of the symptoms of a manic-depressive. His sense of sin, his obsessive anxiety for his dynasty, and his bouts of inhumanity brought him close to insanity.
But he was also capable of affection, kindness, generosity, and tolerance, and where the affairs of the Tsardom were concerned, he remained always the practical and dedicated sovereign.
An imperious man of great intelligence and ability, Ivan was a natural leader, and as the first crowned tsar of Russia, he claimed the loyalty and devotion of his people who saw in him the center and epitome of the nation. Here, from New York Times bestselling historian Ian Grey, is Ivan's extraordinary story.
Here, from New York Times bestselling historian Ian Grey, is the true portrait of Russia’s tragic tsar, Boris Godunov.
Depicted by most chroniclers as ruthless and ill-fated, he supposedly resorted to deceit, violence, and crime in his lust for power.
Grey methodically and credibly refutes these historical accounts, which were written expressly to discredit Godunov. He unveils a new picture of the tsar as a man of high intelligence and ability, concerned for the welfare of his people and the nation. He acted humanely and honestly, pursuing sound policies in his attempts to bring Russia to the level of Western societies. Though he deserved the respect and gratitude of all Russians, the struggle for power after his untimely death left Godunov, until now, a victim to the authors of history.