Alecia's Reviews > Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie
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's review
Dec 01, 2011

really liked it

I read Nicholas and Alexandra many years ago,and loved it, and a few years ago read Peter the Great(Massie won the Pulitzer for that wonderful biography). I read Peter the Great right before I went to St. Petersburg, and it helped make all of the monuments and places I saw come alive. I also saw many places attributed to Catherine the Great. This new biography of her now makes me remember what I saw yet again. Robert K. Massie has the ability to turn eight years of research into an information-filled, enjoyable and readable biography, fleshing out the woman that was Catherine.

Born Sophia Augusta Fredericka to a minor noble family in Germany, Sophia's determined mother makes it her mission to arrange an ambitious marraige for her daughter. At the age of 14, she marries Peter, the only living grandson of Peter the Great. With this loveless, unconsumated marriage begins a tale of intrigue, sex and wonderful accomplishments. Sophia becomes Catherine when she converts to the Russian Orthodox religion, and her story unfolds through Robert K. Massie's exhaustive research and wonderful writing. Catherine and her era come alive.
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