Established in 1703 by the sheer will of its charismatic founder, the homicidal megalomaniac Peter the Great, St. Petersburg's dazzling yet unhinged reputation was quickly cemented by the sadistic dominion of its early rulers. This city, in its successive incarnations—St. Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad and, once again, St. Petersburg—has always been a place of perpetual contradiction.It was a window to Europe and the Enlightenment, but so much of Russia’s unique glory was also created here: its literature, music, dance, and, for a time, its political vision. It gave birth to the artistic genius of Pushkin and Dostoyevsky, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, Pavlova and Nureyev. Yet, for all its glittering palaces, fairytale balls and enchanting gardens, the blood of thousands has been spilt on its snow-filled streets.It has been a hotbed of war and revolution, a place of siege and starvation, and the crucible for Lenin and Stalin’s power-hungry brutality. In St. Petersburg, Jonathan Miles recreates the drama of three hundred years in this paradoxical and brilliant city, bringing us up to the present day, when its fate hangs in the balance once more.
After a nomadic childhood in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, Jonathan Miles has been travelling ever since and currently lives in Paris. He studied at University College, London and received his doctorate from Jesus College, Oxford. He is the author of several books, including Medusa: The Shipwreck, the Scandal and the Masterpiece, Nine Lives of Otto Katz and St Petersburg: Three Centuries of Murderous Desire, which were all published to international acclaim.