I owe Massie a huge debt as reading Nicholas and Alexandra was what caused me to fall in love with history. Here he has repeated the excellent and welI owe Massie a huge debt as reading Nicholas and Alexandra was what caused me to fall in love with history. Here he has repeated the excellent and well-researched process for another of Russia's rulers, this time Catherine the Great (who wished to be called Catherine the Second while she was alive).
I was struck by how unfortunate it was that the French Revolution happened in her reign, which caused her to reverse her course of enlightened ruling out of fear that the revolution would endanger her own standing as monarch. It was also sad how she treated her children the same way Elizabeth had treated her when she had just given birth, although perhaps to some degree less cruel. I think the image of her left alone only moments after childbirth in a cold and hostile room as Elizabeth whisked away her first child to rear on her own will stay with me a long time.
I think there was a good mix of information on her life and loves, as well as how her life shaped the history of Russia and it's legacy. It could so easily just be a bubble of gossipy soup of who shared her bedroom, but Massie shows who she was as a person and a complete picture of the country and her life. ...more
Well, I only kept at this one for as long as I did because it was Robert De Niro. But it was not well-written at all. I think that I'm going to have tWell, I only kept at this one for as long as I did because it was Robert De Niro. But it was not well-written at all. I think that I'm going to have to wait until he dies (hopefully for a long long long long time) before a decent biography comes out. I liked reading about how all his films came together and how he worked his craft, but it did things like, say, he took a class with an African-American (was the guy his teacher, his class-mate? I don't know), and this is the reason he hung out with black people for the rest of his life. What? Said absolutely nothing about the guy. Another one was that he had a pretty, vapid girlfriend at one point, said nothing about the relationship except that this was the reason he tended to marry trophy wives. Okaaay. Does anyone here know of a good biography on him? Cause I'm still interested. ...more