Paul I of Russia: 1754-1801

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Oxford University Press, 1992 - Russia - 405 pages
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This is the first comprehensive modern study of Paul I, son of Catherine the Great and Tsar of Russia 1796-1801. Considered by some to have been a cruel despot verging on the insane, Paul has been seen by others as a progressive if flawed ruler who was overthrown because he challenged the privileged nobility. Roderick McGrew explores the influences which shaped Paul's value and behaviour, assessing the role played by Paul's upbringing, his relations with his mother and her court, and the powerful effect of the French Revolution. He examines Paul's insecure, unpredictable, and often violent character, and traces his gradual evolution into a committed autocrat who combined enlightened humanitarianism with a firm belief in military discipline and hierarchy. As Tsar, he aroused fear, hatred, and contempt among his nobles, which resulted in a coup d'etat which ended his brief reign and his life. Professor McGrew's intensively researched study not only offers a portrait of a complex ruler and his times, but also assesses the part played by Paul in establishing the deeply conservative political outlook which characterized Russia in the nineteenth century.

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