Poltava: The Downfall of an Army

ORIGINAL TITLE: Poltava: Berättelsen om en armés undergång


AUTHOR: Peter Englund


GENRE: Non-fiction

On the night of 28 June 1709, Charles XII’s soldiers had gathered at the Ukrainian city of Poltava to take the Russian army of Peter the Great by surprise. Instead, the dawn surprises the Swedes, and the bloody end of the nation’s era as a great power begins. By the time the battle is over and the defeat is complete, 10 000 soldiers have been killed.

Poltava: the downfall of an army is one of the most widely read and discussed works of history in the Swedish language. By a captivating narrative art and a brilliant use of the diaries and letters of the Carolinians, Englund renewed the way of writing history. Recently, it’s been included in reference works like A thousand Swedish classics and 1001 books you must read before you die.

The book is 30 years old by now and has never been out of print, which is probably a record for Swedish non-fiction. It is therefore published in a revised edition, with newly engraved maps and a new preface by the author.