Alexander I: The Tsar Who Defeated Napoleon
© NIU Press
Description: Alexander I was a ruler with high aspirations for the people of Russia. Cosseted as a young grand duke by Catherine the Great, he ascended to the throne in 1801 after the brutal assassination of his father. In this biography, Marie-Pierre Rey illuminates the complex forces that shaped Alexander's tumultuous reign and sheds new light on the ruler known to his people as “the Sphinx.”
Despite an early and ambitious commitment to sweeping political reforms, Alexander saw his liberal aspirations overwhelmed by civil unrest in his own country and by costly confrontations with Napoleon, which culminated in the French invasion of Russia and the burning of Moscow in 1812. Eventually, Alexander turned back Napoleon's forces and entered Paris a victor two years later, but by then he had already grown weary of military glory. As the years passed, the tsar who defeated Napoleon would become increasingly preoccupied with his own spiritual salvation, an obsession that led him to pursue a rapprochement between the Orthodox and Roman Churches.
When in exile, Napoleon once remarked of his Russian rival: “He could go far. If I die here, he will be my true heir in Europe.” It was not to be. Napoleon died on Saint Helena and Alexander succumbed to typhus four years later at the age of forty-eight. But in this portrait, Rey breathes new life into the tsar who stood at the center of the political chessboard of early nineteenth-century Europe, a key figure at the heart of diplomacy, war, and international intrigue during that region's most tumultuous years.
Place and publisher: Chicago: NIU
Date of publication: 2012
Number of pages: 504
This week’s book(s):
From the publishers:
".. When Queen Victoria died in 1901, she had ruled for nearly sixty-four years. She was mother of nine and grandmother of forty-two, and the matriarch of Royal Europe, through the marriages of her children. To many, Queen Victoria is a ruler shrouded in myth and mystique - an aging, stiff widow, paraded as the figurehead to an all-male imperial enterprise. But in truth, Britain's longest reigning monarch was one of the most passionate, expressive, humorous and unconventional women who ever lived, and the story of her life continues to fascinate.
A. N. Wilson's exhaustively researched and definitive biography includes a wealth of new material from previously unseen sources, to show us Queen Victoria as she's never been seen before. It explores the curious set of circumstances that led to Victoria's coronation, her strange and isolated childhood, her passionate marriage, Prince Albert's pivotal influence, her widowhood and subsequent intimate friendship with John Brown, set against the backdrop of this momentous epoch in Britain - and Europe's - history. Victoria is a towering achievement; a masterpiece of biography by a writer at the height of his powers..."
Place and publisher: London: Penguin
Date of publication: 2014
Number of pages: 624
See all books highlighted as This month's book