The King of Vodka (Hardcover)
The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of an Empire
HarperBusiness, 9780060855895, 416pp.
Publication Date: May 12, 2009
“A operatic tour-de-force.” —Tilar J. Mazzeo, author of The Widow Clicquot
“An impressive feat of research, told swiftly and enthusiastically.” —San Francisco Chronicle
From Vanderbilt and Rockefeller to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, America’s captains of industry are paragons of entrepreneurial success, and books about business history, from The First Tycoon to The Big Short, show exemplars of capitalistic cunning and tenacity…but just as American cocktail connoisseurs can mistake Absolut, Skyy, Grey Goose, or Ketel One for the quintessential clear spirit, so too has America’s vision of business history remained naïve to a truth long recognized in Eastern Europe: since the time of Tsar Nicholas, both vodka and commercial success have been synonymous in Russia with one name—Smirnoff. Linda Himelstein’s critically acclaimed biography of Russian vodka scion Pyotr Smirnov—a finalist for the James Beard Award, winner of the IACP and Saroyan Awards, and a BusinessWeek Best Business Book of 2009—is the sweeping story of entrepreneurship, empire, and epicurean triumph unlike anything the world has ever seen before.
About the Author
Linda Himelstein began her career in the Washington bureau of The Wall Street Journal before working at The San Francisco Recorder and Legal Times. In 1993 she joined BusinessWeek as legal affairs editor, writing about a wide array of topics, including the tobacco industry and Wall Street. One of her cover stories helped BusinessWeek win the National Magazine Award. Later, as the magazine's Silicon Valley bureau chief, she wrote about the infancies of eBay, Yahoo!, and other companies. She lives with her family in Northern California.
Praise For The King of Vodka: The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of an Empire…
“The book is an impressive feat of research, told swiftly and enthusiastically.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
“Himelstein brings thorough research and strong writing to bear on a fascinating subject.”
“Himelstein makes Russian history and even current politics come alive.”
— USA Today
“Linda Himelstein has pulled off a remarkable storytelling feat.”
— Julia Flynn Siler, author of The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty
“To follow the lives of members of the Smirnov family in this vivid account is to experience the flow of Russian history from the 1830s until the present. ”
— Professor Patricia Herlihy, Professor Emeritus, History, Brown University and author of The Alcoholic Empire
“The story of the Smirnov family is an operatic tour-de-force, and Linda Himelstein tells it with grace and passion.”
— Tilar J. Mazzeo, author of The Widow Clicquot
“An astonishing tale...”
— Miami Herald