"In this meticulously researched and nicely written study, Martin (Westminster College) examines a little-known ritual in early modern culture. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above."
“Russell Martin’s new book is a beautifully written and thoroughly researched examination of the monarchical politics of marriage in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Russia.”
—The Journal of Modern History
"Although Martin intends his book for specialists in premodern Russian history, it is accessible to readers whose knowledge does not exceed that of an undergraduate textbook. Moreover, he tells the story engagingly. Consequently, readers might not realize the complexity involved in reconstructing even the bare factual narrative, or the difficulty in gleaning usable information from laconic sources consisting of little more than names and dates. Three appendixes contain examples of such sources, in the original Old Russian. Readers who consult these sources cannot help but admire the careful research and imagination Martin brought to fruition with this monograph."
"A monarcy is not just a form of government but also a family, and Russell Martin's pioneering study of marriage politics in early modern Russia reflects precisely that understanding."
—Canadian-American Slavic Studies
“Martin has tracked down all possible sources regarding weddings in the ruling family from about 1500 to the early eighteenth century, and with such rich and detailed information, he is able to paint a dramatic picture of the individuals and families who battled over the tsar’s weddings. One of the great contributions of this book is that it looks at Muscovite wedding rituals in a broader context—Byzantine, medieval Europe, even ancient China—and reveals that bride-shows were used in many pre-modern monarchical settings, to suit a range of political needs.”
(Nancy S. Kollmann, William H. Bonsall Professor in History at Stanford University)
“The author displays a thorough mastery of the historiography, deep familiarity with the evidence, and a unique perspective through which to view early modern Russian politics. A Bride for the Tsar is splendidly written, and uses the fairytale images of modern opera to focus attention upon interesting and important historical processes.”
(Daniel H. Kaiser, Joseph F. Rosenfield Professor of Social Studies at Grinnell College)
About the Author
Russell E. Martin is professor of history at Westminster College and codirector of the Muscovite Biographical Database in Moscow.