Ivan the Terrible – the name evokes the legend of a cruel and dangerously insane tyrant. Fearful Majesty explores that legend and exposes the man, his nature, and his time.
This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
Ivan IV oversaw huge conquests of neighboring lands, the creation of a national church, and Russia’s emergence as a world power.
Arrogant, handsome, a gifted orator and theologian, Ivan was well educated but cruel, profoundly egotistical yet cowardly, scarred by childhood terrors. He was also the Russian ruler whose policies first cast Russia in the role of “Evil Empire” to the West.
Throughout his reign, Ivan’s unbalanced genius erupted in a tyranny so violent that it threatened to destroy his bloodline, his court, his church, his country.
"A portrait of Ivan the Terrible as a figure of high tragedy rather than a madman or a villain. [A] lively.... biography of one of the most paradoxical and terrifying figures in Russian history."
— The New York Times
"The most objective and comprehensive analysis of Ivan which has ever appeared in English.... A fresh interpretation.... With this book, we gain a deeper understanding of the complex man who engineered simultaneously such powerful forces of both creativity and destruction."
— History Book Club News