Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great

Portrait of A Woman

eBook - 2011
Average Rating:
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Presents a reconstruction of the eighteenth-century empress's life that covers her efforts to engage Russia in the cultural life of Europe, her creation of the Hermitage, and her numerous scandal-free romantic affairs.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781588360441
158836044X
Characteristics: 1 online resource : ill. (some col.), maps.
Additional Contributors: OverDrive

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debwalker Nov 08, 2011

Another great biography from Massie.


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PimaLib_JessicaP Feb 01, 2016

I had no idea.

Honestly, though I know I had to have learned about her at some point, there is SO MUCH I just didn't know about her, not just the secret pre-reign stuff, but her propulsion of artistic holdings in the royal Russian treasury and her humanist leanings. The writing was excellent (thus the Carnegie Medal, I guess). There were times when I would drift a little, but for the most part I was delighted with this book.

tiktok Jan 23, 2016

As one other reviewer stated this is a read with a lot of detail. Unfortunately I didn't have the patience to get all the way through it. Don't get me wrong, it's an excellent true story but maybe I can approach it some other time.

t
Thai5357
Dec 07, 2015

Fantastic read. This book took more focus for me to read because I had to keep track of foreign names, and there are a ton! It was great to have some context, as her reign and life was during the Enlightenment movement, and intersects with the birth of the United States. I learned so much about Russia's relation to the U.S., the French Revolution, the Enlightenment, and Poland's history. It would have been interesting to see if she had any conflicts with the Asian countries Russia boarders. There is no mention such nations.

h
hepfette
May 11, 2015

Needs a family tree and a full map of Russia and surrounding countries of the time. The chapters on the French Revolution didn't seem to belong. Otherwise, a very interesting book.

twinston781 Dec 04, 2014

Massie writes about Catherine as if she were a Kardashian. Though her life is well-known to history, Massie invites the reader into a world filled with lust, power, and intrigue that will have you flipping pages faster than a James Patterson novel. If all history were this accessible, I would read nothing else!

d
duffh
Jul 20, 2014

Well written and arranged. May be more detailed than the casual reader wants - even side characters get bios, and the guillotine is debated - but I enjoyed its thoroughness.

a
AlliGee
Oct 20, 2013

I'm going to have to disagree with some of my fellow commentators; if you approach the book with a great deal of historical Russia knowledge, perhaps this will seem shallow to you. But the book is called "CATHERINE the Great," not "RUSSIA the Great," and I think it provided a perfect amount of context needed to understand Catherine, her reign and her court. Additionally, while rumors and anecdotes ARE mentioned, they are not cited as authentic; it is made quite plain and transparent that what is being relayed to the reader IS a rumor or an anecdote, sometimes even multiple explanations for the same event are given with the disclaimer that the truth is not definitively known.

If you like historical fiction but generally shy away from historical non-fiction, this is an excellent crossover/gateway book. While it is a lengthy volume, it never gets droll or feels like you're reading a textbook; Massie tells a story, and doesn't just relay academic research and facts. I found it fascinating.

s
suzannehb
Oct 17, 2013

I found this book as enjoyable as Nicholas and Alexandria. The first 3/4 was certainly engrossing, the latter 1/4 was less well organized and felt rushed. However, if you enjoy historical fiction, I doubt you will be disappointed with this book.

dvschmidt Aug 29, 2012

NYTimes 2011 best

rioreta Aug 06, 2012

A very enjoyable read. Massie brings the people in all the European families to life with a down to earth style that makes you want to read on. Having visited St. Petersburg, it was easy to envision some of the places that are mentioned in the book.

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