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Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by…

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

by Robert K. Massie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,0251275,073 (4.14)246
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.

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Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
I enjoy reading Robert Massie's biographies. His style makes it very easy to absorb all the information packed into a book like this.
Catherine the Great was an amazing, strong woman. It was a pleasure to read more about her. What drama she lived through-and sometimes was responsible for. I'd recommend this book to anyone, especially those not used to reading "dry" history. ( )
1 vote a1stitcher | Jun 22, 2019 |
I don't usually read non-fiction and a book of this length is particularly daunting, but this was my book club selection for April. I have to admit I found it rather fascinating and read more thoroughly (and skimmed less) than I expected. I certainly learned a lot about Catherine the Great and a period in Russian history that I knew little about. ( )
1 vote Thebrownbookloft | Jun 29, 2018 |
Worth reading, but while Caterine's life was certainly dramatic, the suthor sometimes writes as if a romance novel. ( )
  dasam | Jun 21, 2018 |
Catherine the Great was Empress of Russia in the mid- to late-18th century. This looks back at her entire life and reign.

I listened to the audio and there were parts that were ok and parts that I liked. I suppose (no surprise to me) I enjoyed the parts about her personal life more than about her reign. In fact, I probably enjoyed the first half better for that reason – the second half was after she became empress. I think I’ve read one other book about her, but had forgotten about her very childlike husband, Peter III (the grandson of Peter the Great). I thought it was a decent biography, though another friend who likes history was bored by it. In my opinion, though, it was much better than the author’s book on Peter the Great! ( )
  LibraryCin | Apr 30, 2018 |
Instant classic! What a fantastic book about the life of Catherine the Great. Massie is an historical writer of the highest order and this book truly meets the cliche that it reads like a novel. Massie is a master story-teller and this really was a book that was hard to put down. He manages the feat of examining, in detail (but not bogging the story down in it) Catherine's dealings with love, war, art, economics, politics, philosophy, etc... all aspects of her life are discussed. I also really enjoy how Massie takes the time to give a detailed yet concise background of the major characters that come in and out of Catherine's life. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in Russian history or simply a great read. ( )
  msaucier818 | Apr 9, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
Imperial biographer Robert K. Massie paints a satisfying portrait of Catherine the woman and Catherine the ruler, and her attempts to modernize and westernize Russia.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert K. Massieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Deakins, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"the best description of her is that she is a women as well as an empress." - The Earl of Buckinghamshire, British ambassador to Russia, 1762-65
For Deborah.

And for Bob Loomis. Twenty-four years, four books. Thank you.
First words
Prince Christian Augustus of Anhalt-Zerbst was hardly distinguishable in the swarm of obscure, penurious noblemen who cluttered the landscape and society of politically fragmented eighteenth-century German.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history.

All the special qualities that Robert K. Massie brought to Nicholas and Alexandra and Peter the Great are present here: historical accuracy, depth of understanding, felicity of style, mastery of detail, ability to shatter myth, and a rare genius for finding and expressing the human drama in extraordinary lives.

History offers few stories richer in drama than that of Catherine the Great. In this book, this eternally fascinating woman is returned to life.
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