Blessed with a beautiful voice, Praskovia began her training in Nicholas’s operatic company as a young girl. Like all the members of Nicholas’s troupe, Praskovia was one of his own serfs. But unlike the others, she utterly captured her master’s heart. The book reconstructs Praskovia’s stage career as "The Pearl” and the heartbreaking details of her romance with Nicholas--years of torment before their secret marriage, the outrage of the aristocracy when news of the marriage emerged, Praskovia’s death only days after delivering a son, and the unyielding despair that followed Nicholas to the end of his life. Written with grace and style, The Pearl sheds light on the world of the Russian aristocracy, music history, and Russian attitudes toward serfdom. But above all, the book tells a haunting story of love against all odds.
This updated edition includes additional wolf profiles, newinformation on the effects of climate change and disease, and a retrospective on what the scientists have learned during this extended study of the Yellowstone wolves.
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A hundred years after his murder, Rasputin continues to excite the popular imagination as the personification of evil. Numerous biographies, novels, and films recount his mysterious rise to power as Nicholas and Alexandra's confidant and the guardian of the sickly heir to the Russian throne. His debauchery and sinister political influence are the stuff of legend, and the downfall of the Romanov dynasty was laid at his feet.
But as the prizewinning historian Douglas Smith shows, the true story of Rasputin's life and death has remained shrouded in myth. A major new work that combines probing scholarship and powerful storytelling, Rasputinseparates fact from fiction to reveal the real life of one of history's most alluring figures. Drawing on a wealth of forgotten documents from archives in seven countries, Smith presents Rasputin in all his complexity--man of God, voice of peace, loyal subject, adulterer, drunkard. Rasputin is not just a definitive biography of an extraordinary and legendary man but a fascinating portrait of the twilight of imperial Russia as it lurched toward catastrophe.
In the early 20th century, during the days of the dreadnaughts, innovators in Europe and North America began to fly contraptions made from wood, canvas, wire, and a small combustion engine. Naval officers soon wondered whether these rickety bi-planes could be launched from the deck of a surface vessel. Trials began from jury-rigged wooden platforms built upon the decks of colliers. The experiments stimulated enough interest for the navies of the world to begin building better aircraft and better aircraft carriers. The novelty of a ship that could carry its own airstrip anywhere on the world's oceans caught fire in the 1920s and helped induce a new arms race. While the rest of the world viewed carriers as defensive weapons, Japan focused on offensive capabilities and produced the finest carrier in the world by 1940. World War II would see the carrier emerge as the greatest surface ship afloat. Since then, no war has been fought without them.