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The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics)

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  220 Ratings  ·  28 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 January 1st 1955)
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Aug 30, 2015 umberto rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Reading this interesting memoir, I think, was a bit tough due to its length and innumerable important persons involved as narrated in her account; therefore, this extract should suffice to those keen future readers:

… Begun nine years after her accession, this is the apologia for her course of action leading to the coup d’etat in 1762 and the deposition of her husband. Her account contains the intimate revelations of a woman of astonishing complexity; a woman whose ruthless schemes for Russian wo
Oct 09, 2011 Hannah rated it it was ok
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
Natalia Sysoeva
Jan 06, 2016 Natalia Sysoeva rated it really liked it
"Вот так всегда: на самом интересном месте!"
Удивительно, конечно, читать воспоминания Екатерины Великой. Не могу не отметить, что у нее хороший слог и отличное чувство юмора. Автобиографию воспринимаешь как увлекательный роман о закулисной жизни русского императорского двора XVIII века.
Я не питаю никаких иллюзий на тему столь необычного автора. Понятно, что историю пишут победители, и все описанное в мемуарах - исключительно события ее глазами. Или такие, как она хочет нам представить. Вот, что
Oct 23, 2012 Lindsey rated it it was ok
Shelves: set-aside, meh
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.
Book covers years 1728 thru 1759. I think it was pretty dry and book really doesn't need prologue of 100 pages.
Jessica G.
Feb 21, 2016 Jessica G. rated it really liked it
A wonderful memoir! It is a truly honest work by a no holds barred woman. This work gives fine detail about court life in 18th-century Russia. Although Catherine was constantly surrounded by people at court, she often remarked about being bored and lonely (it didn't help that she had a childish and cruel husband who was a complete maniac) and usually kept to herself by reading and walking around in the garden. I was really surprised by how much the royal family moved around. They had summer and ...more
Feb 14, 2008 Danine rated it really liked it
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
Feb 20, 2013 Jeff rated it liked it
"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
Luis Delgado
Nov 24, 2015 Luis Delgado rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The memoirs of Catherine The Creta

El preámbulo demasiado extenso y sobre cargado de datos. La biografía vanal, propia de la frivolidad de las cortes europeas y por el periodo que abarca no contiene lomas importante que fue su reinado y que es lo esperaba leer.
Heather Blumentritt
Jul 22, 2014 Heather Blumentritt rated it really liked it
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
Jul 26, 2012 Skylar Hatfield rated it liked it
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
Jen Miller
Disappointing. Sometimes I had no idea what was going on at all. Hardly enough to begin to know Catherine The Great at all.
Lab Lover
May 16, 2015 Lab Lover rated it it was amazing
Russian history is a complex and fascinating tale!
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
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
Jun 01, 2012 Graeme rated it it was amazing
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.
Clare Sullivan
Quite fascinating insight into this woman. Now want to read the Romanovs
Aug 11, 2014 Eve rated it liked it
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.
Apr 11, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
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!
Oct 13, 2008 Polly rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 11, 2010 Breeze rated it it was amazing
Fell in love with 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.
Dec 12, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it
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!
Mar 13, 2014 Leslie rated it it was amazing
It's really good so far

Jun 19, 2007 Jason rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
A little to dry for me.
Dec 03, 2014 Keti rated it liked it
Shelves: russia-hist
She is obnoxious!
May 14, 2012 Fuschia rated it liked it
Nov 08, 2010 Brian added it
Kyndall marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2016
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Empress and Autocrat of All the Russia, the most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia. Her reign, the Catherinian Era, was called Russia's golden age. Russia was revitalized, growing larger and stronger than ever and becoming recognized as one of the great powers of Europe.
The Manifesto on Freedom of the Nobility, issued during the short reign of Peter III and confirmed by Cathe
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“Very early it was noticed that I had a good memory; therefore I was insistently tormented with learning everything by heart.” 2 likes
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