Book Discussion on The King of Vodka
Linda Himelstein discussed the life of Pyotr Smirnov (1831-1898), a Russian serf whose vodka became world-renowned. Smirnov, barely… read more
Linda Himelstein discussed the life of Pyotr Smirnov (1831-1898), a Russian serf whose vodka became world-renowned. Smirnov, barely literate, built a fortune worth $130 million but incurred criticism from the likes of Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov who supported a Russian sobriety crusade. His life and his company’s ascent mirrored the ever-changing political and social landscape of pre and post revolutionary Russia. His company, Smirinoff, would adapt and persevere as the world’s political climate changed; during the Cold War the company would advertise itself as “White Whiskey” rather than vodka. Following her presentation, she answered questions from the audience.
Linda Himelstein is the author of The King of Vodka: The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of an Empire, published by HarperBusiness. She was formerly the legal affairs editor and later the Silicon Valley bureau chief for BusinessWeek. She has also worked for The Wall Street Journal, Legal Times, and the San Francisco Reader. close
*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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