Friday, 24 April 2009

New books: Biographies of Russian rulers

Yet another biography of the Empress Ekaterina II (called “the Great”) of Russia was published in Britain last month. Simon Dixon, who is professor of Russian history at University College London, is the author of Catherine the Great, which is published by Profile Books. The book focuses more on court culture, art and philosophy than on politics (the coup which brought Ekaterina II to power and ended in the murder of her husband is for example dealt with only briefly and in passing) and I was left with the impression that the author generally stays on the surface and rarely delves more deeply into things.

Another of the Romanov dynasty’s most remarkable rulers, Pyotr I, was also the subject of a British biography published last month. Peter the Great is written by Derek Wilson and published by Hutchinson.

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