I'm giving away five copies of the new book The King of Vodka: The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of an Empire, by Linda Himelstein.
To win a copy sign up for Alcademics A-Plus (remember, this email list is only for giveaways and never any junk) and await instructions.
I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, but luckily Steve Weinberg of USA Today did. Here's what he has to say:
As a writer for BusinessWeek magazine during the 1990s, Linda Himelstein covered the story of a family with Russian roots, the Smirnovs.
Their ancestor, Pyotr Smirnov, dead since 1898, had accumulated wealth in 19th-centuryRussia against gigantic odds by rising from rural slavery (serfdom), finding his way to Moscow as a teenager, learning the commercial realm despite near illiteracy, producing vodka, then marketing the alcoholic beverage ingeniously.
After the death of the patriarch, his heirs fought relentlessly. Their inability to get along, combined with the Bolshevik Revolution in their native land and other upheavals around the globe, led to the demise of the family business.
The name Smirnov became attached to high-quality vodka again only after World War II, and only because a visionary marketer outside the family devised a plan.
When those in the Smirnov bloodline tried to wrest back their commercial heritage through the courts — the story that attracted Himelstein at BusinessWeek— they failed. Himelstein could not let the saga go, however.
There's much more to the review- you can read the full thing from USA Today here.