St Petersburg: Three Centuries of Murderous Desire by Jonathan Miles review – a brilliant history

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This political and cultural study of a city built on dreams, and a swamp, expertly distils its blend of high culture and toxic corruption

So fluent, so textured is Jonathan Miles’s ease with prose and argument that his vivid dissection of 300 years of St Petersburg’s history should be devoured in captive sittings.

The cultural, and sometime political, capital of Russia, St Petersburg, built on a drained swamp by pitiless and homicidal tsar Peter the Great, mixes romantic fancy with vile reality. Cultural historian Miles skilfully forges and exposes the tangled character of what he calls this “absurd” city in which “dreams are big and information and truth are in short supply”.

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Link : St Petersburg: Three Centuries of Murderous Desire by Jonathan Miles review – a brilliant history

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