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Ivan the Terrible Paperback – September 25, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A simply brilliant book... a colossal achievement of magisterial scholarship, beautifully readable prose and superb characterisation... Professor Isabel de Madariaga remains the empress of Russian historians" Simon Sebag Montefiore, Evening Standard "Almost every page of de Madariaga's magnificent biography is illuminated by the wisdom gained by its author from a lifetime of learning and reflection about the place of Russia in the wider world." Orlando Figes, New York Review of Books "A significant biography of the 16th-century Russian czar... Likely to become the definitive work on Ivan for some time." Publishers Weekly (starred review) "De Madariaga addresses knowledgeable readers, but the beautiful prose of this great book will tempt all others. Highly recommended." Choice"

About the Author

Isabel de Madariaga is emeritus professor of Russian Studies in the University of London. She is the author of Russia in the Age of Catherine the Great, published by Yale University Press.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 526 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition Thus edition (September 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300119739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300119732
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joel Rubin on May 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is probably the best book ever written about Ivan IV. It is scholarly and well written and avoids the undocumented nonsense that is often found in most other biographies of him. For anyone seeking to know more about Ivan IV, I highly recommend this biography.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very good book on a difficult person in history to understand. Russian politics in this period is extremely complex, but the author explains it well. Ivan did have some issues with mental illness, but the bottom line is that he ruled for over 35 years and helped Russia become a world power. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I was so angry by the time I finally finished this book that I immediately started to reread Troyat's Ivan the Terrible before I could embark on Ivan the Terrible by Payne & Romanoff (which I am really excited about because it's supposedly going to be a "psychological biography"). I felt that Ivan was more of a footnote than the subject of this book, which focused more on foreign policy and wars than it did on Ivan. I realize that those were primary concerns, but I expected to learn more about Ivan - not everything else about Russia.

She only devoted 20 pages (!!) to his birth, childhood, coronation, *and* marriage; his wives are barely mentioned at all; the murder of his son is relegated to several paragraphs. I am really cursing the fire that destroyed so many valuable records; I realize that that's the main reason she leaves so much out, but come on! The jacket information claims that Ivan IV has "remained among the most neglected" but there have been multiple biographies written about him.

It's obvious that she's passionate about Russian history: in the notes section, she uses words like "excellent," "illuminating," "stimulating," "imaginative," and - my personal favorite - "delightful" when referring readers to sources they'll probably never have access to, let alone be able to read. I was really surprised when I realized that most of the words I looked up originated around Ivan's lifetime or before it - so she definitely knows her stuff.
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