Tiffoknee the 3rd Conner's Reviews > Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie
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's review
Mar 03, 2012

really liked it
Read in March, 2012

I have a soft spot for chicks who kick ass. Whether it's in action films or history, there's simply something quite savory about a woman who knows how to flex her muscle. It's even more tantalizing to read about such women before the dawn of what are the commonly accepted eras of major feminist transfomration. Even if there are moments when I read things in the news (or am embattled with my aching uterus) which threaten to make me feel otherwise, it's still a pretty rockin' time to be female and have a vagina. We're not just walking breeding machines any more! At least, not to most people.

If ever there was a woman who personified this notion, it is Catherine the Great. There is no shortage of knowledge about Elizabeth I, but Catherine doesn't always get her due. I blame Putin. I don't have any real reason, it's just convenient. Reading Massie's biography was effortless. The writing was never pedantic, but the subject matter remained compelling and the narrative involved many complexities. Heck, reading about succession lineages about the various monarchies was enough to make me shake my head in confusion on more than one occasion. That aside, this really was a book about a woman, an inspiring woman thrust into a less than ideal situation, but accepting of her destiny and determined to use that situation to raise her station in life. Was she perfect? No, not at all. She had some strange opinions (autocratic monarchies are NOT the best form of government, sorry), and she permitted the tumult of The French Revolution to rattle her a wee too much, but otherwise, there are lessons to be learned.

This was a good book. I would read more of Mr. Massie's work, and hope to do so.

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