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Peter the Great 
By Robert K. Massie

Reviewed by Joseph M. Giardiello

Sweeping Biography the Reads like a Great Novel

Peter the Great is one of the most significant men in Russian history. The builder of the Russian navy, first leader to visit the great capitols of Europe, and the principle figure to bring western values to the empire, he also lead his nation to great military victories.

It was never certain Peter would even become Tsar of Russia. And once on the throne, he faced significant threats, most of all from Regent Sophia. He did make it to the throne and outlived his co-tsar, Ivan.

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Peter's military campaigns began with the attack of the Turks at Azov. Their success lead Peter to dream of an empire with secure borders and a navy that could protect its holdings from the sea. Then came the Great Northern War - a 20 year fight with the empire of Sweden that saw an invasion of Russia and the real possibility of the fall of Moscow. But Peter's military preperation and world events worked in the Tsar's favor. His sucesses against Sweden thrust Peter and his empire onto the worls stage as a major player. 

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But Peter's military victories were not his only sucesses. Against the will of the old aristrocracy, Peter lead the fight to reform many of the old ways of the empire, including those of the church. He also built the new city of St. Petersburg, which he made his new capitol.









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