Download The King of Vodka: The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of an Empire Audiobook

The King of Vodka: The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of an Empire Audiobook, by Linda Himelstein Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Linda Himelstein Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2011 ISBN: 9780062136107
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (116 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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“A operatic tour-de-force.” —Tilar J. Mazzeo, author of The Widow Clicquot

“An impressive feat of research, told swiftly and enthusiastically.” —San Francisco Chronicle

From Vanderbilt and Rockefeller to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, America’s captains of industry are paragons of entrepreneurial success, and books about business history, from The First Tycoon to The Big Short, show exemplars of capitalistic cunning and tenacity…but just as American cocktail connoisseurs can mistake Absolut, Skyy, Grey Goose, or Ketel One for the quintessential clear spirit, so too has America’s vision of business history remained naïve to a truth long recognized in Eastern Europe: since the time of Tsar Nicholas, both vodka and commercial success have been synonymous in Russia with one name—Smirnoff. Linda Himelstein’s critically acclaimed biography of Russian vodka scion Pyotr Smirnov—a finalist for the James Beard Award, winner of the IACP and Saroyan Awards, and a BusinessWeek Best Business Book of 2009—is the sweeping story of entrepreneurship, empire, and epicurean triumph unlike anything the world has ever seen before.

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Listener Reviews

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  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Holly | 2/10/2014

    " Though not particularly well-written, it's an easy read and a quick brush-up on Russian history for those who want to talk about dead people at parties. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 1/14/2014

    " Good Russian biography and history, especially related to.....vodka. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tony | 1/10/2014

    " a compelling story about the rise of the Smirnov vodka empire amidst the turmoil of revolutionary russia. fascinating with much detail and history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stefanie | 1/9/2014

    " compelling review of russia's affair with vodka, including government monopolies and temperance/prohibition initiatives. pyotry a smirnov was an inspirational character and marketing genius. his sons were, ultimately, disappointments to his legacy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meg | 12/7/2013

    " Fascinating family and book. Learned so much about pre- and post-revolutionary Russia, now feel compelled to only drink Smirnoff. Only complaint: no photos; would have loved to see the family and old advertisements. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Josh | 8/22/2013

    " Interesting read, too journalistic of writing style to really enjoy though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 8/3/2013

    " Just okay, a little more technical in spots and quick to "guess" at characters feelings at the time. But considering the lack of resources of available documentation, no doubt well researched and author's guess is as good as any. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 7/21/2013

    " Interesting look at the history of the Smirnoff family and brand. You get family history, industry history, Russian political history, and a good story all in one. Slow at times, but an interesting read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adam | 7/13/2013

    " this history of vodka and this epic family was interesting to learn, but it was pretty horribly written "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 12/6/2012

    " Readable and informative. Interesting tidbits of economic history served up in a way that people who twitch at hints of economic discussion can digest readily. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 10/7/2012

    " Pretty good, but at times dry. Kind if ironic for a book about alcohol. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 9/9/2012

    " A good, not great, book. Lots of interesting information about both the Smirnov family, Russia and its move from the tsars to communism to glasnost. Worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Betsy | 9/5/2012

    " Fascinating 19th century Russian history along with the history of the smirnov vodka business. My friend Linda from college is the author too - a bonus! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 8/2/2012

    " The story is interesting, but this could have used a better editor. I find myself thinking "vary your sentence structures!" as I read. Sigh. Can't get the English teacher out of me. I'm only a few chapters into this at the moment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jackie-lee | 12/7/2011

    " Very interesting read. I found there to be a lot of hearsay at the beginning of the book which disappointed a bit. "

About the Narrator

Arthur Morey has won three AudioFile Magazine “Best Of” Awards, and his work has garnered numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and placed him as a finalist for two Audie Awards. He has acted in a number of productions, both off Broadway in New York and off Loop in Chicago. He graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. His plays and songs have been produced in New York, Chicago, and Milan, where he has also performed.