6 x 9, xviii + 262 pages, black & white photos, illustrations, appendices, index
Another solid, fully documented contribution to the Rasmuson Library Translation Series, which is making available important Russian works on North Pacific exploration and ethnography. Litke had a remarkable career as an explorer, hydrographer, and geographer that brought him international recognition and advancement in position and rank. He later became tutor of the Grand Duke Constantine, founded the Imperial Russian Geographic Society, and served as president of the Russian Academy of Sciences. . . . Alekseev's work is the only full-length biography of Litke available in any language. It is grounded on thorough research in Russian archival and manuscript collections and on careful analysis of Litke's own works. . . . Alekseev's biography has shown all the dimensions of this important and neglected historical figure of nineteenth-century Russia. It will no doubt be very durable, and this translation will give it the wider exposure it deserves.
(The American Neptune)
Anyone interested in the history of maritime exploration, of science, or of Russian America should find Alekseev's biography of Litke absorbing.
The author's style, the translator's diligence, and the editor's care have resulted in a welcome addition to the corpus on Russia's role in marine science and exploration.
Litke's story-his family life, exploration of the sea, intellectual connections, and role as teacher to the heir to the Russian throne-clearly leads to a better understanding of the scientific world of the 19th century and its inner workings.
(Pacific Northwest Quarterly)
Litke was a remarkable Russian scientist, navigator, statesman, and scholar who made significant contributions to world science. His life was filled with tireless scientific activity, including numerous ocean travels. He was known especially for his contributions to the history of Russian geographical science and to marine hydrography. Litke combined his scientific activities with tutoring when he was charged with educating the son of Tsar Nicholas I. He was first president of the Academy of Sciences and organized the Russian Geographical Society.