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Extended Audio Sample Peter the Great: His Life and World Audiobook, by Robert K. Massie Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,390 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert K. Massie Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2010 ISBN: 9781455170012
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This superbly told story brings to life one of the most remarkable rulers––and men––in all of history and conveys the drama of his life and world. The Russia of Peter’s birth was very different from the Russia his energy, genius, and ruthlessness shaped. Crowned co-Tsar as a child of ten, after witnessing bloody uprisings in the streets of Moscow, he would grow up propelled by an unquenchable curiosity, everywhere looking, asking, tinkering, and learning, fired by Western ideas. We see Peter in his twenties traveling “incognito” with his ambassadors to the courts of Europe; as the victorious soldier proclaimed emperor; as the simple workman at his forge; and as the visionary statesman who single-handedly created a formidable world power. Impetuous and stubborn, bawdy and stern, relentless in his perseverance, he was capable of the greatest generosity and the greatest cruelty.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Enthralling...As fascinating as any novel and more so than most!”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “By taking an enormous canvas and filling every inch of it with action and description...[Massie] has shown...precisely why this 6’ 7” epileptic was hailed as Petrus Magnus Imperator.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “Written in a style that combines vigor, clarity, and sensitivity...should be the envy of historians and novelists alike.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “This award-winning biography remains a classic study of a quite remarkable character in Russian history…Peter the Great provides the biographer with very rich pickings. Where Massie's volume triumphed over other predecessors, however, was in its extreme breadth of vision…[It] has all the components of a gripping novel, and is a must for all history buffs and biography fans, as well as all those who appreciate the rich diversity of Russian culture.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Biography/Autobiography

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol Snow | 2/20/2014

    " This book has excellent details, allowiing you an in-depth look at Peter and the Russia of his time period. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adam | 2/14/2014

    " What a boundlessly energetic, iron-willed juggernaut this man was! A terrifically engaging and thoroughly insightful read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Natascha Hood | 2/9/2014

    " I loved it. Well written biography of an exciting individual. I read it after,'Catherine the Great' and before a trip to St. Petersburg. It helped make the city so much more complex and interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Johan | 2/4/2014

    " Interesting, though slightly dated biography. You can only admire the accomplishments of Peter the Great; I had more trouble admiring the man, as a matter of fact I thought his adversary Charles XII of Sweden much more interesting, both as a politician and as a human being. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lans Hobart | 1/31/2014

    " Very LOOONG book that went out of Peters immediate circles for a lot of back story. I loved the read! The only reason I don't give it 5 stars is that there was a little too much battle strategy that was detailed. Those particular parts drug out just a little. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ketsugami | 1/29/2014

    " Some of the best history I've ever read. Massie is wonderful, as usual. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom Haynes | 1/8/2014

    " So much History most Americans don't know. This history is far more interesting than most fiction. Massie makes the reading be effortless. Although it's hard to imagine the effort this author put forth to research the story of this man Peter the Great. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christan | 12/27/2013

    " Exhaustive account of the life and times of a very ambitious ruler. At times as tiring as a trek across the Russian steppes, it is still well worth the effort. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joie Switzer | 12/20/2013

    " Loved it! Great read, learned so much!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ro | 12/8/2013

    " Fascinating... I hope to visit St Petersburg... the Venice of the North! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Briapedia | 11/30/2013

    " Such an interesting and deep picture of Peter The Great, Csarist Russia, and Charles XII of Sweden- who really steals the show. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jan Millard | 11/19/2013

    " the story of peter the great is exceptional as is robert massie's depiction of not only peter but europe in the 18th century. this book shows how determination can conquer anything. if you only read one book in your life, make Peter The Great the one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patrick | 11/13/2013

    " Excellent....highly recommended for people interested in history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charles Robbins | 2/22/2013

    " Maybe the most compelling political biography I've ever read, with the possible exception of Lieling's "The Earl of Louisiana." Vivid, gripping, memorable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Arnold | 1/18/2013

    " Massie is an excellent author. His style is almost novelesque, and definitely brings all the people in this biography alive. The 800+(?) pages just melted away. Very good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annette | 1/3/2013

    " Fascinating book of Peter the Great and everything he did to "modernize" Russia. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 8/13/2012

    " One of my favorite books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ezra Hood | 6/17/2012

    " This is the most gripping biography I've ever read. A tour de force, though it ends with a whimper. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Noor Wazwaz | 3/11/2012

    " I enjoyed this book because it felt like Peter the Great was brought to life. It shows how stubborn, generous, cruel, tender, and unforgiving he was. I really enjoyed the style it was written as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 RJ | 1/14/2012

    " Perhaps Massie's best historical narrative. Very readable from start to finish, "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) | 1/7/2012

    " A thick and exhaustive biography of the Quixotic modernizer and dogged warmonger Czar of all the Russias. Massie has a way with narrative that makes it seem like a novel more than a stodgy history lesson. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathryn | 8/19/2011

    " Reading this one aloud, and it will take quite a while to finish, but it's a highly enjoyable way to get educated about Russia's past. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jerry | 7/24/2011

    " A very enlightening book about the man who founded the modern Russia and who is still praised as an almost god like figure. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Simon | 7/6/2011

    " Im not into bios but this one really hit home. I did not know the man who broght Russia into the modern world. I felt as if I realle got to know this great man of history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sera | 4/7/2011

    " A truly incredible read. Peter the Great is one of the most interesting leaders in Russian history, and perhaps all history. This book is very long, but it gives such tremendous insight into Peter's character and how he brought Russia into the progressive age that it was worth every minute. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daryl Thompson | 3/9/2011

    " A great review of the Russia history and rise. Enjoyed very much "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sherri | 1/7/2011

    " I liked the book but it did drag a bit with building of St.Petersburg "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 12/14/2010

    " Long, but well worth a read--insight into one of the most amazing men to have ruled Russia. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 11/30/2010

    " Enjoyed learning about all the sailboats that Peter built. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 11/14/2010

    " Massie tells this amazing story in vivid detail. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew | 10/16/2010

    " Such a great book, I'm re-reading it. Probably the best book I've ever read. Won a Pulitzer prize. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Loki | 6/12/2010

    " I developed a life-long admiration for Peter the Great after reading this book. His vision, drive, and tenacity were unparalleled in Russian history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 5/9/2010

    " I had a difficult time rating this one. Half of the book was very interesting, and I learned a lot. But I have to say that about 400 pages was military campaigns that bored me to death. If it weren't for the time spent on military campaigns, I would have rated it a 4 star book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert | 4/18/2010

    " An epic and engrossing account of the Tsar that brought Russia out of the dark ages. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lily | 3/16/2010

    " I love Robert K. Massie's work and have read all his books on Russia. They move fast and the pages are packed with information. "

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About the Author
Author Robert K. Massie

Robert K. Massie was born in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1929. He studied American history at Yale University and modern European history at Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes scholar. Peter the Great won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1981. 

About the Narrator

Frederick Davidson (1932–2005), also known as David Case, was one of the most prolific readers in the audiobook industry, recording more than eight hundred audiobooks in his lifetime, including over two hundred for Blackstone Audio. Born in London, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for many years in radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company before coming to America in 1976. He received AudioFile’s Golden Voice Award and numerous Earphones Awards and was nominated for a Grammy for his readings.