A biography of Alexander II of Russia, the fourth of the series which includes Ivan the Terrible. Boris Godunof, Peter the Great. Through these biographies he paints a tremendous canvas of Russia, in different periods. This is the most modern, and is a revelation of the tremendous steps away from barbarism and mediaevalism Alexander II took, in his sweeping reforms. He freed the serfs, extended education, introduced all sorts of revolutionary measures for improving the conditions under which his people lived -- and died, a victim of a revolutionist's bomb. Interesting for those who want to delve deeply into the steps leading up to present conditions -- more modern in note than the other three books. A picture of Russia rather than of the man, himself -- though you build your own portrait through his interests and activities. Less fictionized than the average modern biography of figures of the past. One could wish for a somewhat more dramatic handling, and for a fuller picture of the intellectual renaissance in that age of Turgenieff, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy.