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Frederick the Great: A Life in Deed and Letters
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Frederick the Great: A Life in Deed and Letters

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  49 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Piet and soldier, misanthrope and philospher, Frederick the Great was a contradictory, almost unfathomable man. His conquests made him one of the most formindable and feared leaders of his era. But as a patron of artists and intellectuals, Frederick re-created Berlin as one of the continent's great cities, matching his state's reputation for military ferocity with one for ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published February 24th 2001 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1999)
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Nov 24, 2014 Arminius rated it really liked it
Frederick the Great was an interesting character. Since his youth he wanted glory as a battle field commander. He read books voraciously as well. In fact, he divided his books into read, to read and to read again sections. He also wrote poetry to relax. He became friends with the great French philosopher Voltaire and they shared many letters both being skeptical of religion. Frederick considered the Catholic Church superstitious and even had doubts about his Lutheran church. He ridiculed his own ...more
Lauren Albert
Oct 04, 2010 Lauren Albert rated it really liked it
An interesting man with an interesting life. And complex, very complex. Going in disguise at times as an "ordinary man" he was annoyed when people recognized him. Yet he was an autocrat who loved war. Treated badly by his father as a child--his father had his best friend executed for helping him run away, and forced him to watch--he didn't have children and had a loveless marriage. A poet, a philosopher, a musician, he did many of these things badly. But he was that much more interesting for his ...more
Jeff Jellets
Jan 15, 2017 Jeff Jellets rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history

“What about a flute busting Prussian?”

So I jumped on Giles MacDonogh’s lavishly detailed biography of Frederick the Great after a bit of inspiration from one of ERB’s amazingly good Epic Rap Battles of History (seriously … watch it … right now … at Old Fritz is pretty great in the video and, after digesting his biography, the real-life Frederick certainly lives up to his pedigree. Enlightened monarch, prolific author, accomplished musician and a fair militarist, Fred
Scott Jeffe
Jan 18, 2016 Scott Jeffe rated it liked it
This was an odd book. An incredible amount of information that no one needs when there could have been so much more written about this very interesting character. Whether it be play by play of battles, or minutiae about his diet this book just didn't hit the bells for me. I actually couldn't wait to finish and move on to something else.
Cynthia Karl
Dec 14, 2010 Cynthia Karl rated it it was ok
Biographies and history are my favorite reading genres and I hoped this book would fill in a lot of holes in my knowledge about Frederick the Great and this time period. Unfortunately, I found the writing choppy and the organization of the book disjointed. The one tidbit I did come away with was that Voltaire was a real prima donna and pain in the ass.
Sep 01, 2014 Aleksandra rated it liked it
An interesting and engaging, multi-faceted biography of Frederic the Great. The Polish translation which I've read is rather mediocre and at times flawed, but the book as such is well worth reading for those interested in the period.
Jan 05, 2008 Peter rated it really liked it
A great and fairly unbiased biography of Frederick the Great. I highly recommend this book.
Sep 10, 2010 Bookworm1858 rated it liked it
Shelves: school, read-2010, own
Read for school, not for pleasure so no formal review. While this is packed with information about Frederick, it was pretty boring and I fell asleep twice while reading it.
Maria Marinas
Jul 12, 2011 Maria Marinas rated it it was amazing
If you want to have a good account of Frederick the Great, this is the book to read. As usual with Mcdonough, the writing is easy, precise and witty.
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Giles MacDonogh (born 1955) is a British writer, historian and translator.

MacDonogh has worked as a journalist, most notably for the Financial Times (1988–2003), where he covered food, drink and a variety of other subjects. He has also contributed to most of the other important British newspapers, and is a regular contributor to the Times . As an historian, MacDonogh concentrates on central Eur
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