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

Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie
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Jul 12, 12

bookshelves: non-fiction

After all the dystopias and fiction I've been reading, I needed some good history. This was really fabulous. Catherine had a fascinating life. She had an unhappy (and unconsummated) marriage to Peter III, led a coup to dethrone him since he was quite unbalanced, and wholeheartedly embraced the Enlightenment that brought Russia to one of its most prosperous eras. There are apparently a lot of rumors about her "lusty" life, but Massie gives us the facts and artfully describes a real woman who became a legend. Even though it's over 600 pages, it was never boring. Now I need to fill in the gap of how Russia went from the height of wealth under Catherine's charge to its decrepit status in the 20th century.
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