Catherine the Great: Life and Legend and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $24.95
  • Save: $2.49 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by hippo_books
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Item qualifies for FREE shipping and Prime! This item is used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Catherine the Great : Life and Legend Paperback – November 9, 1989


See all 16 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$22.46
$4.98 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$11.78


Frequently Bought Together

Catherine the Great : Life and Legend + Louis XIV and Twenty Million Frenchmen + The Age of Religious Wars, 1559-1715 (The Norton History of Modern Europe)
Price for all three: $72.32

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Oxford University Press Paperback
  • Paperback: 460 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (November 9, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195061624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195061628
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,224,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Was Catherine the Great, the German princess who became Empress of All the Russias, a murderer and tyrant, or an enlightened shepherd of Russia's expanded role in Europe? Historian Alexander avoids an either/or approach in this workmanlike, evenhanded yet ultimately frustrating biography. Born Sophia Fredericks, Catherine saw herself as a female Peter the Great without his miitarism, yet she subjugated Poland, plunged Russia into war with Turkey and crushed the Pugachev uprising of 1773. During her reign she also abolished state monopolies, codified chaotic laws and encouraged industry in the provinces. Alexander, professor of history at the University of Kansas, paints a sympathetic portrait of a strong-willed woman who had to cope with loneliness, isolation and conspiratorial plots. Arguing that her alleged nymphomania is largely a myth (she had 12 documented lovers over 44 years), he explains her succession of male "favorites" in terms of a need to compartmentalize her life; he also speculates that she may have been secretly married to her adviser Grigorii Potemkin. Illustrations.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Far outranks the ancient efforts of G.P. Gooch, Zoe Oldenbourg and Gladys Scott Thomson....Good on high-political crises."--History

"A most readable and historically accurate biography of the greatest of the Romanov rulers of Russia."--Frank V. Barchard, East Texas State University

"An extremely well researched, well organized, and judiciously balanced political portrait of Empress Catherine II."--Marc Raeff, Columbia University

"[Alexander] shows his abilities as a storyteller by delving into the psyche of this woman, who lived a life of celebrity, isolation, and loneliness."--The Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Alexander's biography is the best there is and likely to remain so....Factually reliable, informative, lively, and frequently provocative."--Times Literary Supplement

"An intelligent history and an imaginative biography."--Newark Star Ledger

"The best English-language biography of Catherine in some time."--The Dallas Morning News

"Informed, provocative, and, above all, fair....A major achievement. It succeeds in its goal of bridging the gap between popular biographies and scholarly studies."--The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Alexander's carefully researched political biography at last gives Catherine her due as 'the overburdened ruler of an immense and turbulent Empire.'"--W. Bruce Lincoln, The Chicago Tribune

"Alexander fathoms his subject completely, and he writes a most compelling narrative."--Booklist

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Caterpillar Girl on January 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
Alexander does a marvelous job retelling history without sensationalizing it. Many past biographers undertaking the job of writing about Catherine the Great have often focused too much on her sexuality, rather than her political prowess. John T. Alexander, however, thoroughly examines the political and cultural context of her life, and refuses to insult the reader's intelligence by dishing gossip or repeating long-held opinions. Having read four other biographies of Catherine the Great, I can assure you this one is probably the best. Impartial, informative, and interesting.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Michael Samerdyke on December 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a good book to read to get a handle on the reign of Catherine the Great and late 18th C. Russia. Alexander covers the court intrigues, the attempts at reform, the complexities of foreign policy. He also avoids treating Catherine's personal life in a sensationalistic way.
So if you read this book, you will learn a lot. On the other hand, the book doesn't really come to life in the way Massie's "Peter the Great" or Avrich's "Russian Rebels" did. It is recommended only to those with a serious interest in the time of Catherine, such as students, and not the casual reader.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 1998
Format: Hardcover
First of all, contrary to the review now on line, this book was not written by John T. Williams, whoever he is, but by John T. Alexander. This biography is a much more serious and learned biography than Henri Troyat's, which I read in 1987. This book has dull parts, but the story it tells is an incredible one. Catherine had an amazing career, and of course her parade of favorites is legendary. I found this book to be good academic history and it well deserves reading.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William K. Dearth on March 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
As some of the other reviewers have opined, this book is somewhat of a difficult read. It waxes and wanes at holding the reader's interest. Some sections of the book are truly exciting while others become tedious from excessive lists of names and mundane details.

On the other hand, if you are a student of Russian history, there will be a significant gap in your knowledge if you don't struggle through it.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Some political leaders of the past continue to suffer from disparaging images which were unjustly created about them during their lifetimes. One such polictial leader was Catherine II Czarina of the Russian Empire from 1762 until her death in 1796. Her supposed sexual appitite has been much discussed and bantied about by later historians who should have known better. Some of the most outrageous rumors have been taken as absolute fact regarding the life of Catherine. History as a discipline and area of investigation and study has been the worse for this tendency.
John T. Williams has successfully chased down the source of many of the rumors that surround Catherine II. Many times he finds that the rumors were intentionally started by British intelligence services of that day. Prior to the Napoleonic Wars, the Russian Empire was a traditional ally of France. Because of the rivaly between Britain and France, Russia was often at odds with British interests. Moreover, Russian expansion in Asia brought Russian and British interests into conflict over India, Afganistan and Turkey. Consequently, she being the head of a competing empire, Catherine was the natural target for rumor mongering by the British government. However, for an accurate historical record, William's book does a great service.
Historians have a duty to history as a discipline, to investigate sources. Catherine's life has long needed a worthy study to take on the emmense task of sorting out fact from fiction. John T. Williams has done a very fine job in performing this task.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CFH, Meridian, ID on March 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is no point in trying to give this book a quick read. You have to tackle it as if you were taking a semester class on Catherine the Great: take good notes, study the vocabulary, familiarize yourself with the important characters, and do some research outside of class. Or, you could skip it all together and find a different book on the subject. I learned a great deal, but I'm glad the semester is over.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?