The Man Who Sold Alaska By Michael Dunham
Alexander II ruled Russia from 1855 to 1881. History praises him as the Tsar who emancipated the serfs but condemns him for genocide. His battles changed the face of Europe. His reforms brought Russia out of the Middle Ages. His scandalous affair with a schoolgirl shocked society. His harrowing encounters with assasins terrified world rulers. His mistakes set the stage for the Communist revolution.
But there is one act for which Russia has still not forgiven him - the sale of Alaska to the United States. To this day the deal executed in the middle of the night is barely mentioned in Russian language books about the Tsar.
The Man Who Sold Alaska is the first general biography of Alexander II to be written in English in recent times and first to be written by an Alaskan. As such, it is also the first in any language to focus on the sale of Russian America in the context of the other major events of his life.
Alexander II was many things - warrior, despot, exterminator, liberator. But he was not a fool. The decision to sell the Empire's North American colony to an upstart democracy was difficult, but he had his reasons. The reader will determine whether those reasons were justified.