Czar Ivan IV (1530-1584), the first Russian ruler to take the title czar, is known as one of the worst tyrants in history, but few people among the general public know how he got such an infamous reputation. Relying on extensive research based heavily on original Russian sources, this definitive biography depicts an incredibly complex man living in a time of simple, harsh realities. Robert Payne, the distinguished author of many historical and biographical works, and Russian scholar Nikita Romanoff, describe in vivid and lively detail Ivan's callous upbringing; the poisoning of his second wife and the murder of his son; his obsession with religion and sin; his predilection for mass murder, evidenced by his massacre of 30,000 citizens of Novgorod; yet his remarkable intelligence as a ruler, supporting the growth of trade and expanding Russia's borders.
Robert Payne (1911-1983) was a distinguished historian and author of The Life and Death of Lenin, The Rise and Fall of Stalin, and The Dream and the Tomb. Nikita Romanoff, grandnephew of Nicholas II of Russia, is a world-renowned scholar of Russian history.