In this sweeping biography, Robert K. Massie skillfully depicts the life of one of the most influential Russians -- Empress Catherine II, or, Catherine the Great. From her inauspicious beginnings as a German-born princess forced to conform to a new language, religion, and country, to her toleration and eventual overthrow of an unaffectionate, slightly addled husband, Massie follows her journey in exquisite detail. Although it contains well-researched history and a seamless interweaving of the personal and the political, both at home and abroad, this book reads like a novel. Readers will be fascinated by Catherine's slow but sure rise to power and the underlying ruthlessness with which she keeps it. It is sure to please even the most hesitant of non-fiction readers, and Catherine, on the page as she did in life, charms all.
-- Karen H. --