Using original research and documentation, master storyteller Jacob Abbott once again weaves his magic to transform dry history into an intensely readable and action-packed epic, this time turning his attention to the story of Peter the Great.
Starting with the family intrigues which led to his ascension to the throne, this narrative tells of his military and political adventures which successfully expanded the czardom into an empire and ultimately a major European power.
By personally visiting western Europe—often in commoner’s disguise—Peter identified the necessary social, technological, and cultural reforms needed to jolt Russia into the Age of the Enlightenment—even if he, as Abbott shows too clearly, very often used medieval methods against his personal opponents.
The reader is provided with many of the sometimes grisly details of palace intrigues and subversion, but also of the military victories Peter achieved in the Great Northern War with Sweden, and in the Crimea against the Turks. In addition, the story of the incredible efforts to build the metropolis of St. Petersburg, his marriage to the Empress Catherine, and Peter’s ultimate end, are told with the detailed and customary flair and style which Abbott fans will know all too well.
“Thus was brought to an end the earthly personal career of Peter the Great. He well deserves his title, for he was certainly one of the greatest as well as one of the most extraordinary men that ever lived.
“Himself half a savage, he undertook to civilize twenty million people, and he pursued the work during his whole lifetime through dangers, difficulties, and discouragements which it required a surprising degree of determination and energy to surmount.
“He differs from other great military monarchs that have appeared from time to time in the world’s history, and by their exploits have secured for themselves the title of The Great, in this, that, while they acquired their renown by conquests gained over foreign nations, which, in most cases, after the death of their conquerors, lapsed again into their original condition, leaving no permanent results behind, the triumphs which Peter achieved were the commencement of a work of internal improvement and reform…”
Chapter I: The Princess Sophia
Chapter II: The Princess’s Downfall
Chapter III: The Childhood and Youth of Peter
Chapter IV: Le Fort and Menzikoff
Chapter V: Commencement of the Reign
Chapter VI: The Emperor’s Tour
Chapter VII: Conclusion of the Tour
Chapter VIII: The Rebellion
Chapter IX: Reforms
Chapter X: The Battle of Narva
Chapter XI: The Building of St. Petersburg
Chapter XII: The Revolt of Mazeppa
Chapter XIII: The Battle of Pultowa
Chapter XIV: The Empress Catherine
Chapter XV: The Prince Alexis
Chapter XVI: The Flight of Alexis
Chapter XVII: The Trial
Chapter XVIII: The Condemnation and Death of Alexis
Chapter XIX: Conclusion
About the author: Jacob Abbott (1803–1879) was a native of the state of Maine who was a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy, a minister, and founder of two schools (the Mount Vernon School for Young Ladies in Boston and the Mount Vernon School for Boys, in New York City). He wrote more than 180 books and became famous for his easy-to-read style of historical storytelling, stripped of the dry dustiness which characterized other texts.