ONLINE The March of Muscovy: Ivan the Terrible and the Growth of the Russian Empire, 1400 - 1648 by Harold Lamb read store amazon sale mobile

ONLINE The March of Muscovy: Ivan the Terrible and the Growth of the Russian Empire, 1400 - 1648 by Harold Lamb read store amazon sale mobile

ONLINE The March of Muscovy: Ivan the Terrible and the Growth of the Russian Empire, 1400 - 1648 by Harold Lamb read store amazon

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Book description

Book description
Up till now, my only experience with Harold Lamb was through the exciting and colorful (some might even say lurid) covers of his Ballantine paperbacks published in the fifties and sixties. These historical biographies of the great men of antiquity through the middle ages often took for their subject men who at first glance may not have been as familiar to Western readers--Babur the Tiger, Cyrus the Great, and Tamerlane: Conqueror of the earth, to name a few, though there were also other, household names (Genghis Khan: Emperor of All Men, Alexander of Macedon, and Hannibal: One Man Against Rome) as well. As a young fellow, I was fascinated by these titles (and their covers), but for whatever reason, I never got around to reading any of them, nor any of his other historical subject, such as the Crusades, or the City of Constantinople.MARCH OF MUSCOVY probably wouldnt have been my first choice of his catalog, but I found it at an estate sale, and the memory of all those splashy covers done in what passed for the epic style in the mid-fifties flashed through my mind, and I finally decided that it was time I gave Lamb a try.Lambs style (and Id bet dollars to doughnuts he stays fairly consistent throughout all his books) is straightforward--he isnt a scintillating wordsmith, but hes got a compelling story to tell, and his competent and workman-like prose is effective enough. Workman-like may sound like an insult but its not--I wish there were a lot of other non-fiction writers that could write at least that well. Besides, this was written in a time when it wasnt the historian we bought the book for, but the subject. MARCH OF MUSCOVY sets out to tell exactly the story that the subtitle refers to: IVAN THE TERRIBLE AND THE GROWTH OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE, 1400-1648. First, though, some background information is needed, and Lamb explores the makeup of the people and the terrain of what later became Russia, starting around 1200 CE, and then how the Muscovites were finally able to free themselves from Tartar control. The chapter concerning Ivan is about a third of the book; Ivan is important because he solidified the idea of a Tsar of all Russia, situated at Moscow, and initiated the drive East toward Siberia. The last chapters deal with the colonization of Eastern Russia and Siberia, up until the reign of Peter the Great. (Interesting how Russias expansion East mirrored Americas expansion West, to a certain degree.)This is an excellent general survey of the time and place, and of some of the more notable figures involved in the beginning of this empire. It is refreshing to me to read a history book with no axes to grind, no desire to correct previous interpretations, no blatant revisionism to serve an agenda. I would say that this is the specific sort of historical account that so many modern historiographers have rebelled against; but the problem with these newer accounts, to my mind at least, is that smaller events and more marginal populations can sometimes be given a greater role than they warrant by historians who want to provide fresh perspectives; or else in their desire to prove a point about our contemporary life, they highlight aspects of the past out of all proportion to their importance, in order to make a specific connection to our world today. I get lost, sometimes, in the minutiae--its important to me to have a grounding in the general arc of events before I dive into specifics, and books like MARCH OF MUSCOVY give me just that.This is an all ages account--it would have been perfect for me as that younger fellow, as I enjoyed history as much then as now. There is enough excitement and novelty in the account to keep interest from flagging, but I think it is important to note that this was written for people with reasonable attention spans. If Bill OReilly is your idea of an effective and entertaining historian, then Lamb is probably not for you. On the other hand, while he isnt quite as talented as she is, if youve enjoyed Barbara Tuchmans work before, then Lamb will surely satisfy. I look forward to reading more of his work, whether it be those with the splashy covers or no.
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