A sequel to The March of Muscovy (published in March- see P. 15)- this is further development of Russia's history, focussed on a period when, for the first time, Russia- in her ruler, Peter the Great, turned her face West. In its concentration on a relatively brief period, the book is easier reading than its predecessor. With brief backward glance to Alexis Romanov- and forward to the quarrels of the successors, the main body of the text highlights the new Russia formed in the years 1648-1772. The scene shifts from Moscow in its heyday, to St. Petersburg, whose geographical position called for foreign wars to open up Baltic ports,- and then back to Moscow. Peter was treated as a barbarian when he visited Western potentates, and made up his mind to show his might. He built a vast- for those days- fleet; he trained a vast army; he was the aggressor in an endless succession of foreign wars; he extended Russia's boundaries to the West and then, turning East again, was halted by the Manchus of China and the tribes. Here is Russia's history, and Peter's story too- the story of a man great in his age, whose stamp was put on his country for all time. A stormy period- but with a certain discipline taking shape. Don't sell as fiction- or easy reading-but serious history by one of today's authorities.