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St. Petersburg was commanded into existence by Peter the Great, and its inherent artifice has made it one of the world's most storied cities, the stage for political and artistic dreamers. This comprehensive, award-winning narrative history chronicles what is perhaps the greatest story of any modern city anywhere, from its foundation in a swampy war zone in 1703 to its leading role in overthrowing Soviet power and bringing Russia into the twenty-first century. As the author notes, 'No modern city has experienced such excruciating upheavals, violence, losses of its people, and suffering as Petersburg/Petrograd/Leningrad experienced in the first half of its 20th century.' Extensively researched and documented yet entertaining and accessible for general readers, the book covers Petersburg's political, social, economic, architectural, cultural and intellectual history, recounting events of world importance, and the extraordinary and often tragic lives of the city's many great citizens such as Catherine the Great, Fedor Dostoevsky, the poets Alexander Pushkin and Anna Akhmatova, and the city's late mayor Anatoly Sobchak. The book focuses on the city's key role as a link to the West and in modernizing Russia and encouraging the growth of civil society, and brings to life a St Petersburg steeped in a tumult of war, revolution and aesthetics. In December 2005, in Russia, the book was awarded the prestigious Antsiferov Prize for the best book by a foreign author about St. Petersburg.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780750938044
ISBN-10: 0750938048
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 156mm x 10mm)
Pages: 672
Imprint: Sutton Publishing Ltd
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Publish Date: 9-Dec-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » Peter the Great founded St Petersburg on a swamp, for which many people thought him mad. What neither they nor Peter knew was that over the next 300 years this would become one of the greatest cities in Russia, known by various names before reverting to its original. Russians themselves have always had a slight distrust of St Petersburg, thinking it 'not quite Russian'. As Arthur and Elena George show, the city has indeed gone its own way for much of the time and led trends that the rest of Russia has often been slow in following. Here is a great centre for the arts and culture, a place of heroism (best known for its siege, when known as Leningrad, during the Second World War) and of romance and violence. The Georges write engagingly of the city and its development, and of the characters who have made it a lure for many Westerners. This is truly a biography of a great city - one that is still evolving and leading the way into a new future for Russia. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - George Demidowicz

Arthur George is an internationally recognised expert and authority on Russia. He studied in the USSR in 1980 where he met Elena, whom he married the following year. He is the author of several specialised books and articles on law, business and politics in Russia.

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