TSAR NICHOLAS I by Constantin de Grunwald


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The present full-scale biography of Nicholas I- the first prepared in any language- places him as the last pure autocrat in Russian if not modern European history, ruling without political or philosophic ideals, reliant solely upon his profound sense of destiny and personal dynamism. Nicholas ascended the throne during the uprising of 1825, and by fearlessly walking among and shouting down the aroused masses, and capping his determination with cannon fire, set the pattern for his reign. Democratic in his efforts to emancipate the serfs, Nicholas acted as always from motives of maintaining absolute rule, and in the same spirit waged war and set up despotic censorship. The intensity of the Tsar's family feelings were a measure of his egocentricity; and his egocentricity spread to all his acts; his efforts as an architect, his supervision of fire-fighting, his decision that an eloping youth had committed ""theft and burglary"", his boundless Joy and utter anguish as the tide of battle rose and fell against him. The biography carries conviction and is especially impressive in its grasp of the ambiguities and contradictions within Nicholas' personality. It also has a definite bearing upon the evolution of contemporary Russia.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1955
Publisher: Macmillan