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Sunlight at Midnight: St. Petersburg and the Rise of Modern Russia Paperback – June 4, 2002
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Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first three chapters are primarily a cultural history of imperial Russia following Peter the Great's reign. They deal mostly in court affairs and architects, neither of which are particularly interesting. Next come descriptions of Petersburg's literary and musical history, which are spotty and do not compare well with the detail of Solomon Volkov's "St Petersburg".
The tone changes abruptly when we reach the late nineteenth century, and the reliance on artistic sources gives way to a more popular account of the revolutionary period. Events are well presented but the story is told too quickly. The months between abdication and Bolshevik takeover, for example, pass in a single paragraph. I would have gladly exchanged twenty early pages on the styles of palace facades for some details of the provisional government's failure and the October coup.
The chapter on the Leningrad siege is a masterpiece of narrative history, but the book unfortunately returns to cultural matters and Soviet repression of artists in the postwar period. This is interesting stuff, but not remotely as gripping as the events of the previous decades and written in a cursory style more suited to a review for a knowledgeable reader.
However, as a previous reviewer has noted, the emphasis Lincoln puts on the events of the city are a bit skewed. The tremendous expense Catherine and Elizabeth invested in object d'art is interesting, as are the details of the construction of the Winter Palace and (numerous) other royal dwellings in and around the city. But to spend such an inordinate amount of time discussing this while only briefly addressing the two decades between the wars seems out of balance. Similarly, the post-war history of the city was addressed in really a cursory manner compared to the amount of detail given during its growth in the early and mid-19th century.
These criticisms aside, the history of St. Petersburg makes for a fascinating narrative of broader events in Russian history, from the failed Decembrist revolt in 1825, to the revolutions of 1905 and 1917. This is a book I would certainly recommend for those traveling to St. Petersburg, given the detail and connections between landmarks and larger events in Russia (and the Soviet Union.) I do wish Lincoln had addressed the unique - odd may be a better word - place St.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book about St. Petersburg. Gave me many insights about the city and an excellent overview of Russian history. I highly recommend it to anyone about to visit the city.Published 9 months ago by jenna
A very interesting and detailed book on the history of St petersburgPublished 13 months ago by Kevin Marshall
Book gives you a lot of information about St Petersburg, but the organization of the information led to a lot of repetition. Worth reading if you are headed to St Petersburg.Published 22 months ago by Marimichael O. Skubel
Wonderful, colorful history of 19th century Russia. Moving, impressive account of the Seige of Leningrad. Also rich cultural details (especially archetecture).Published on February 25, 2014 by MARDI SWORDS
A great read, and very informative. Extremely well written. A great story. I'm traveling to Russia and St. Read morePublished on December 19, 2012 by Philip Hamrock
I visited St. Petersburg in Sept. and was so taken with the beauty of all the historical buildings but also the layout of the city. The visit made be curious of the city's history. Read morePublished on December 15, 2012 by Catherine OBrien
I read this book for a history class and was easy to read and obtain material for the class. Not a difficult read like other history text books can be.Published on November 9, 2012 by Breana Thompson
If you're interested in the history of St. Petersburg and its development, particularly from an architectural and artistic perspective, this is a very good book. Read morePublished on April 25, 2012 by John S.