By Robert K. Massie
The Pulitzer Prize–winning writer of Peter the good, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with one other masterpiece of narrative biography, the extreme tale of an imprecise younger German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to turn into some of the most notable, robust, and pleasing ladies in history.
Born right into a minor noble kin, Catherine reworked herself into Empress of Russia by way of sheer choice. owning a super brain and an insatiable interest as a tender lady, she wolfed the works of Enlightenment philosophers and, while she reached the throne, tried to exploit their rules to steer her rule of the large and backward Russian empire. She knew or corresponded with the preeminent historic figures of her time: Voltaire, Diderot, Frederick the nice, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette, and, unusually, the yank naval hero, John Paul Jones.
Reaching the throne fired via Enlightenment philosophy and made up our minds to turn into the embodiment of the “benevolent despot” idealized by way of Montesquieu, she discovered herself continually contending with the deeply ingrained realities of Russian existence, together with serfdom. She endured, and for thirty-four years the govt, international coverage, cultural improvement, and welfare of the Russian humans have been in her arms. She handled household uprising, overseas wars, and the tidal wave of political swap and violence churned up via the French Revolution that swept throughout Europe. Her acceptance depended totally at the viewpoint of the speaker. She used to be praised by means of Voltaire because the equivalent of the best of classical philosophers; she was once condemned by way of her enemies, generally international, as “the Messalina of the north.”
Catherine’s relatives, buddies, ministers, generals, enthusiasts, and enemies—all are the following, vividly defined. those integrated her formidable, endlessly scheming mom; her vulnerable, bullying husband, Peter (who left her mendacity untouched beside him for 9 years after their marriage); her unsatisfied son and inheritor, Paul; her loved grandchildren; and her “favorites”—the parade of younger males from whom she sought companionship and the recapture of youngster in addition to intercourse. the following, too, is the large determine of Gregory Potemkin, her most important lover and attainable husband, with whom she shared a passionate correspondence of affection and separation, through seventeen years of exceptional mutual achievement.
The tale is beautifully advised. the entire designated features that Robert okay. Massie dropped at Nicholas and Alexandra and Peter the Great are current the following: ancient accuracy, intensity of figuring out, felicity of favor, mastery of aspect, skill to shatter delusion, and a unprecedented genius for locating and expressing the human drama in amazing lives.
History bargains few tales richer in drama than that of Catherine the nice. during this e-book, this forever attention-grabbing girl is lower back to existence.