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Five Empresses


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"A gem of wit and wisdom, and will help to combat any rumors of sexism in the field of Russian history." -- John T. Alexander, University of Kansas "Anisimov's latest book is a wonderfully entertaining collective biography of the Romanovs' colourful eighteenth-century empresses, who reigned 'when lovers ruled Russia.' Written with verve by one of Russia's more popular historians today, it is equally adept at chronicling the era's high politics and low bed-chamber antics." -- David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, author of Toward the Rising Sun: Russian Ideologies of Empire and the Path to War with Japan

Table of Contents

The Cinderella from Livland (Catherine I) The Poor Relative Who Became Empress (Anna Ioannovna) The Secret Prisoner and Her Children (Anna Leopol'dovna) Russian Aphrodite (Elizabeth) The Sovereign of the North (Catherine the Great)

About the Author

EVGENII ANISIMOV teaches at the Institute of History, St. Petersburg, Russia. He is the author of The Reforms of Peter the Great (1993).KATHLEEN CARROLL


"In a remarkable new volume, Anisimov studies the empresses who ruled Russia for a collective 68 years in the 18th century....The ingenious narrative provides the book's continuity, although taking all the empresses seriously as rulers may in itself constitute a new interpretation. Despite a certain quirkiness that may puzzle specialists, the translation reads well, and carefully selected notes reveal a substructure of serious scholarship relying on extensive evidence. This excellent introduction to 18th-century Russia is one of those rare books that will appeal to students of history at all levels of readership. Highly recommended. All levels/libraries." - Choice
"[T]hese are dramatic tales, stories that many more theory-oriented historians probably assume their readers will already know. Anisimov's book now makes acquiring that knowledge easy." - Biography
"With Five Empresses, the Anglophone world has access to Anisimov's marvelous narrative gifts, particularly given the excellent translation by Kathleen Carol....Anisimov tells a fast-paced, colorful, and nugget-filled story that should be especially popular among undergraduates." - The Historian
"[A] valuable contribution to a sparsely worked segment of the field....[a]n engaging work to read." - The Russian Review
"If the lives of Russia's 18th century empresses have been under-scrutinized to this point, compared with their more numerous male antecedents and descendants, then Asimov's book tips the scales back toward something like balance. In Five Empresses, he presents detailed, rich histories of these women's lives that are remarkable for being both readable and rooted in solid research....Russian history is scarcely more interesting that when it delves into the lives of the tsars and tsarinas. And with this book. Anisimov vaults to the front of the pack. One hopes that this will not be the last of his works we see published in English." - Russian Life
"Brimming with intrigue, scandal, mayhem, and murder, the drama of Russiam court life is unrivaled by any contemporary soap opera....Through these five digestible biographies of Catherine I, Anna Ioannovna, Anna Leopoldovna, Elizabeth, and Catherine the Great, the author shines a revealing spotlight on Russian history, culture, and society." - Booklist
"Evgenii Anisimov is one of contemporary Russia's finest historians....His new book is the first comprehensive history of the 18th-century Russian imperial matriarchy and is written with characteristic verve....Anisimov has written an engaging volume which deserves a wide readership." -

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