Peter the Great (1672-1725), tsar of Russia for forty-three years, was a dramatic, appealing, and unconventional character. This book provides a vivid sense of the dynamics of his life-both public and private-and his reign. Drawing on his letters and papers, as well as on other contemporary accounts, the book provides new insights into Peter's complex character, giving information on his actions, deliberations, possessions, and significant fantasy world--his many disguises and pseudonyms, his interest in dwarfs, his clowning and vandalism. It also sheds fresh light on his relationships with individuals such as his second wife Catherine and his favorite, Alexander Menshikov. The book includes discussions of Peter's image in painting and sculpture, and there are two final chapters on his legacy and posthumous reputation up to the present.