Peter the Great by Lindsey Grant. Published by Yale University Press 2002. Hardback with dust jacket. In very good condition.
Lindsey Hughes, provides a shorter biography of this dramatic, appealing and unconventional character. The work tells the story of Peter the Great (1672-1725) from birth to death in 12 chapters, including two final chapters on his legacy and posthumous reputation, with the aim of providing a vivid sense of the dynamics of his life and reign. The focus is firmly on Peter himself: his actions, deliberations, decisions, relationships, tastes and possessions, and includes the more bizarre aspects of his character, such as his interest in dwarfs, the use of disguises, clowning and vandalism. The main sources are his letters and papers, both published and unpublished, as well as other contemporary accounts and letters. The narrative comprises both the public and private life, the life Peter lived as well as his significant fantasy world. Hughes offers material on the "alternative" or "parallel" history of Peter's many disguises and pseudonyms, his deference to a number of mock superiors (Prince-Caesar, Prince-Pope, the mock Chief Surveyor), and his relationships with individuals such as his second wife Catherine and his favourite Alexander Menshikov. In each chapter she explores Peter's image in painting and sculpture, bringing the story up to the present day with a discussion of controversial monuments in Moscow and St Petersburg. The text aims to be readable and accessible, but also scholarly in the sense that it is firmly based on the primary source material and does not attempt to reconstruct Peter's life beyond the evidence. It seeks to provide insights into Peter's complex character.