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The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics)

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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  144 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Empress Catherine II brought Europe to Russia, and Russia to Europe, during her long and eventful reign (1762—96). She fostered the culture of the Enlightenment and greatly expanded the immense empire created by Czar Ivan the Terrible, shifting the balance of power in Europe eastward. Famous for her will to power and for her dozen lovers, Catherine was also a prolific and...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 13th 2006 by Modern Library (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Hannah
I used to admire Catherine the Great, Russia's first (and only) Tsarina. The strong women who fought the Ottomans and gained more territory for Russia. The brave woman who brought the Enlightenment to Russia. The attractive woman who radically used her sex to influence politics. In her memoirs, SHE IS SO ANNOYING. She was the only female Tsarina of Russia, and all she writes about is crying over something her mom did or a servant the Empress sent away. She described her what she had for dinner a...more
Lindsey
This was another of the books that I tried to read, didn't have a real objection to, but just couldn't get in to it. Not all books can captivate every reader, so I think it is one you shouldn't discard if you are interested in the Russian royalty. It just wasn't one that grabbed me.
Elysium
Book covers years 1728 thru 1759. I think it was pretty dry and book really doesn't need prologue of 100 pages.
Danine
Feb 14, 2008 Danine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Danine by: PBS
Though I enjoyed reading this memoir it took me a very long time to finish. The end of the memoir was pretty dry. The book covers the years of 1728 thru 1759.

I'm drawn to the life of Catherine the Great as I can relate to much of her life. She was cynical and sincere. "A Humanitarian and an enlightened ruler but ruthless." She believed that "human reason, common sense and tolerance could combat ignorance, tyranny and superstition to build an an enlightened better world." A graphomaniac who enjo...more
Jeff
"The Memoirs of Catherine the Great", edited by Dominique Maroger. 1961. Peter the Great set the stage that allowed for a string of powerful women to dominate 18th century Russia. Catherine, along with her predecessors, through art, architecture and fashion, bequeathed Russia with unique sense of style, a kind of femininity that had not before existed. But more than simply leaving Russia with great beauty, Catherine expanded her country's borders and dramatically strengthened her armies forcing...more
Heather Blumentritt
This was an very good portrayal of one of history's greatest leaders, Catherine the Great. Robert Massie was able to give a more personal look into Catherine's life via letters from friends and loved ones. Though Madariaga's biography was more concise, I liked this book better because it afforded me the opportunity to "see" what it was like to live in Catherine's 1700s. Massies' book really delved into Catherine's love life which always seemed related to her political life. All in all, a great b...more
Skylar Hatfield
This book illustrates the characteristics required of an empress, wisdom, grace, beauty, intelligence, loyalty, honesty, wit, patience, intuition, etc. The funny part of this book is that Catherine is described as having all these characteristics by...Catherine. I gave this book only a three star rating, because I found it difficult to keep up with all the characters and plots within plots detailed in this memoir. Also, this memoir ends abruptly at in integral point in Catherine's life. Therefor...more
Meredith
I read this right after a trip to Moscow, so I found it fascinating. If you just happened across it and didn't have Russian on the brain, maybe not. A warning--this was a memoir written for future publication, not a diary, so it was really Catherine's attempt to vindicate herself and doesn't go into much seamy detail. And it doesn't cover her reign at all, just the years from her marriage until right before her reign. But it was a good read for anyone wanting to know about the workings of the Ru...more
Velia
I liked this memoir. It was well written, but it wasn't what I was expecting. Maybe I've just heard too much of the salacious gossipy stuff about Catherine. I think I should have read a biography about her first and then made the attempt to read this memoir of hers. She ended this memoir sooner than I thought she would. She didn't even touch on her time as Empress. I feel like some essential pieces have been left out of the story, so I can’t really write a decent review. I will be reading her bi...more
Graeme
This edition is highly annotated and highly interesting. I am probably a little biased since the translator and annotator taught my university course in which this book was discussed, but I had read great things about this edition before I heard of the professor. The annotations are extremely helpful in understanding the aristocratic environment surrounding Catherine and helpful for the Russian cultural neophyte. Catherine had a brilliant mind and it shows in her clever memoirs.
Eve
Difficult to get through. I got about 3/4 of the way through and could not make another page. Interesting topic and the first half seemed to flow much better than the 2nd. I wanted to make it to the end, but it just got so brutally boring I stopped caring. I agree with some of the other posts I read, who wants to read page after page of whining or here some of the same details referenced again and again.
Jennifer
Love it! She's such a facinating person to me and her perspective on things is also interesting.

She might have been the Empress of all Russia but she was actually German.

I just LOVE that she wrote this herself nearly 300 years ago!
Polly
Fantastic. Very easy to read, once you get by all the Russian names. Also, there is a table of ranks and orders at the back that I suggest reading first.
Breeze
Fell in love with Catherine....like reading letters from a good friend. She felt
very close.
Ghislaine Gargaro
Very nice to refer to this book when reading Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massey.
Glorious.Clio
There is no end to my love for Catherine the Great. I got a lot out of this book.
Zero vi Britannia
Jan 06, 2014 Zero vi Britannia marked it as to-read
Guess who just bought this from his Library's Book sale for one dollar!
Leslie
It's really good so far

Jason
A little to dry for me.
Keti
She is obnoxious!
Brian
Nov 08, 2010 Brian added it
good
Jandag
Jandag added it
Sep 27, 2014
Heather
Heather marked it as to-read
Sep 23, 2014
Tamara
Tamara marked it as to-read
Sep 16, 2014
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Catherine II (Russian: Екатерина II Великая, Yekaterina II Velikaya), also known as Catherine the Great
More about Catherine the Great...
Katarina II Och Gustaf III: En Aterfunnen Brevv'axling Zapiski Imperatrit͡s︡y Ekateriny II Ekaterina II I G.A. Potemkin: Lichnaia Perepiska 1769-1791 Voltaire and Catherine the Great: Selected Correspondence Love and Conquest: Personal Correspondence of Catherine the Great and Prince Grigory Potemkin

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