Rowan University Professor Featured on History Channel ProgramThe Philadelphia Inquirer
May 26, 2003
"It was the largest nation in the world, run by lunatics. A genius. And a harlot," shouts the History Channel's fancy advertising campaign for its big-deal, four-hour Russia: Land of the Tsars.
But my favorite ruler is the impostor. Some dude blew into Moscow from Poland in the early 1600s, saying he was the long-lost son of one of the lunatics, Ivan the Terrible. OK, said the Russians, and they made him tsar. It took them a year to find out he was a fake.
Then, says narrator Edward Herrmann, "he was sent home, Russian-style. They killed him, burned his corpse, stuffed the ashes in a cannon, pointed it at Poland, and lit the fuse.
Herrmann and the usual group of authors and professors (local guy James Heinzen of Rowan University has a big part in the second night) provide the facts. Producers Don Campbell, Peter Schnall and Hilary Sio illustrate them with old paintings, icons, and, late in the game, photos and film.