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King of Vodka By: Linda Himelstein

1 rating: 4.0
Biography of Russian vodka King Pyotr Smirnov


Tags: Books, Biography, Vodka, Smirnoff, Smirno
Author: Linda Himelstein
Genre: Biography & History
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Date Published: May 12, 2009
1 review about King of Vodka By: Linda Himelstein

King of Vodka

  • Jun 11, 2009
  • by
Vodka is a wonderful drink, and learning about its history, especially that of premiere maker P.A. Smirnov is a joy thanks to The King of Vodka. Not only does one learn about Smirnov's beginnings as a serf and his subsequent freedom, we learn about how he began as a humble, low-rung merchant who, with cunning and craft, emerged as one of the leading businessmen of his time.

Smirnov's story is that of Russia's. He came at a time when Russia was on the brink of transitioning from an autocratic country to a Communist one. His family's fortunes depended upon this trajectory. His sons and daughters, raised in wealth, did not share his father's hard-nosed desire to build up and maintain a successful business; they were, instead, more interested in the myriad fittings associated with wealth and gentry. They were, for the most part, little prepared for adjusting to change: from Czar Nicolas' state monopoly on vodka production to the Bolshevik's taking over the government and the great Purges that occurred after they solidified their control over Russia.

What is a story of pride, of the lowest of the low finding success by working hard and passionately wanting to success becomes a sad story of a family fallen.

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