I spent today immersed in the History Channel's DVD, Russia: Land of the Tsars. Two of the leaders have been central to my research of Russia. These two leaders are Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. I have read numerous books of each of them, but the Land of the Tsars helps to pull all of these generations together. Two points in particular stand out to me. Peter the Great's lack of designating an heir mars a remarkable life and incredible achievement. Yet, it is understandable that one always thinks there will be time to handle the matter of inheritance. My fascination of Catherine the Great expands with each book and movie I encounter. Without her, I would have been the direct descendent of Luxembourgh and Germany without the unique history of the Germans from Russia. Her attempts at reform were outstanding by any standard.
Understanding the Tsars and Russia is tantamount to understanding how my ancestors survived during their 2 and half centuries living in the Volga River basin. Sweeping cinematography offers gorgeous views Russia's land and architecture. The artwork and portraits are exquisite and gives one a sense of the family's regal stance. Of course, the voice of Edward Herrmann phenomenally enhances the program. His strong voice heralds the beginning and the demise of each Romanov generation. I find it oddly comforting that my grandmother's maiden name was Herrmann.