Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

 

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman [Kindle Edition]

Robert K. Massie
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (732 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $20.00
Kindle Price: $11.16
You Save: $8.84 (44%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

Whispersync for Voice

Now you can switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible audiobook. Learn more or scan your Kindle library to find matching professional narration for the Kindle books you already own.

Add the professional narration of Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman for a reduced price of $12.99 after you buy this Kindle book.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $11.16  
Hardcover, Deckle Edge $22.79  
Paperback $11.75  
Audio, CD --  
Unknown Binding --  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $35.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
Kindle Delivers
Kindle Delivers
Subscribe to the Kindle Delivers monthly e-mail to find out about each month's Kindle book deals, new releases, editors' picks and more. Learn more (U.S. customers only)

Book Description

“[A] tale of power, perseverance and passion . . . a great story in the hands of a master storyteller.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure German princess who became one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history. Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into empress of Russia by sheer determination. For thirty-four years, the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution. Catherine’s family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers, and enemies—all are here, vividly brought to life. History offers few stories richer than that of Catherine the Great. In this book, an eternally fascinating woman is returned to life.
 
“[A] compelling portrait not just of a Russian titan, but also of a flesh-and-blood woman.”—Newsweek
 
“An absorbing, satisfying biography.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Juicy and suspenseful.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“A great life, indeed, and irresistibly told.”—Salon
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times • The Washington Post • USA Today • The Boston Globe • San Francisco Chronicle • Chicago Tribune • Newsweek/The Daily Beast • Salon • VogueSt. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Providence Journal • Washington Examiner • South Florida Sun-Sentinel • BookPage • Bookreporter • Publishers Weekly

BONUS: This edition contains a Catherine the Great reader's guide.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2011: Once upon a time, there was a minor German princess named Sophia. In 1744, at the age of 14, she was taken by her ambitious mother--removed from her family, her religion, and her country--to a foreign land with a single goal: marry a prince and bear him an heir. Once in Russia, she changed her name, learned the language, and went on to become the world's richest and most powerful woman, ruler of its then-largest empire. She is remembered as Catherine the Great.

There may be no better author than Robert K. Massie to take on the daunting task of documenting this most rare of human lives. Massie, a former president of the Authors Guild, is a seasoned biographer of the 400-year Romanov dynasty, most notably with Peter the Great: His Life and World, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1981 and remains one of the most arresting biographies I've even encountered.

In his page-turning chronicle of Catherine II, Massie (now 82) compiles the most complete and compelling narrative to date of this singular woman. Married to an incompetent man-child who was unwilling or unable to help her fulfill her primary role--giving birth to a son--she ultimately grew to become a trailblazer among monarchs: friend of philosophical giants, incomparable patron of the arts, prosecutor of multiple wars, pioneer of public health, maker of kings, and prodigious serial lover.

Indeed, her accomplishments and shortcomings as an autocrat and a woman make for a remarkable saga, but that's not to say that just any author could do justice to Catherine's lasting legacy. (Many have tried.) Massie situates Catherine's early life and three-decade reign as empress amidst the tumult of the European Enlightenment, enriching his own narrative with telling excerpts of her letters and rich discussions of her political environment and personal motivations.

Put simply, Massie is just the man to take this endlessly fascinating life and craft an utterly memorable book. Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman is a towering accomplishment, one of the year's best books in any genre. --Jason Kirk

Review

“Enthralling.”—USA Today
 
“Gripping.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman has it all: jealous mothers, indulgent eccentrics, greedy social climbers, intrigue, infidelity, murder, political coups, sex, war and passion.”—Bookreporter
 
“Exhaustively researched and dramatically narrated.”—The Boston Globe
 
“[Robert K. Massie] brings great authority to this sweeping account of Catherine and her times. . . . a compelling read.”—The Washington Post
 
“Meticulously, dramatically rendered.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Reads like an epic Russian novel.”—San Antonio Express-News
 
“Will transport history lovers.”—People
 
“Massie makes Catherine’s story dramatic and immediate.”—The Kansas City Star
 
“Graceful and engrossing.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
“A biography as captivating as its subject.”—MacLean’s

Product Details

  • File Size: 11712 KB
  • Print Length: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (November 8, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4X9L0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,306 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
545 of 563 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Massie Does It Again! September 25, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really enjoyed this biography of Catherine the Great. Like Robert K. Massie's other biographies, *Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman* is well-researched and well-written. His deep connection and understanding of the ways of Imperial Russia are strangely effortless. He steps into his subject's world and takes us there, too.

I was immediately struck by the way Massie made Catherine *accessible.* I felt empathy for her -- an empathy I didn't feel before. The story of her hideous marriage to Grand Duke Peter has been portrayed often in film and in print. All sources agree he was a monster who preferred his mistress to his wife, was scarred mentally as well as physically by small pox, and had he lived, would have gutted the Russian Orthodox Church -- and probably brought down an entire empire. *Portrait of a Woman* shows not only how badly Catherine was treated by her so-called "husband" but also how quickly she learned the *game* of the Imperial Court. Catherine was beautiful and intelligent -- and frankly, a better ruler than Peter could ever have been. She was well-read and well-educated in a time when most women couldn't read or write. In order to survive in the court, she spent years honing her skills in diplomacy. When her husband didn't produce an heir, she found a lover who would. I felt compassion for this Catherine, *because* she was resourceful and *because* she took action when it was needed. And some of those actions as Empress were taken with her subjects in mind.

Reading *Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman,* allowed me to rediscover a strong, intelligent woman who wanted to bring her Imperial Russia *forward.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
212 of 223 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Life Of A Woman And A Nation September 26, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Catherine the Great is second only to Peter the Great as a great modernizing ruler of Russia, a country which repeatedly falls behind the rest of the world, then races to catch up, at least on the surface, within a few years' time. Catherine's story is even more remarkable than Peter's, since she was not born in Russia and had not a drop of Russian blood, and her original name wasn't even Catherine.

Sophia Fredericka of Anhalt-Zerbst was an impecunious little princess in an insignificant prinicipality buried deep in Germany. In her early years she seemed destined to marry someone just as obscure as she and to remain unknown to the larger world. Her ambitious mother, who had the good fortune to be related by marriage to the Swedish and Russian royal families, had other plans. She kept in touch with the Empress Elizabeth of Russia, whose nephew and heir was just the right age for Sophia, for many years until Elizabeth sent word for mother and daughter to come to St. Petersburg for a visit. Shortly after they arrived, Sophia's mother and the Empress had arranged for a marriage between 14 year old Sophia and the 15 year old Grand Duke Peter, heir to the Russian throne. Sophia converted to Orthodoxy and had her name changed to Catherine, then married the future Emperor.

It sounds like a fairy tale, but it turned into a nightmare. Peter was a snivelling little wretch who hated Russia, his aunt, and Catherine. Covered with smallpox scars, mentally undeveloped and psychologically unbalanced, Peter refused to have anything to do with Catherine and spent night after night playing with toy soldiers. Catherine, tucked into bed beside him but completely ignored, spent her time reading and learning all she could about her new country.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
107 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive Catherine September 24, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Portrait of a WOMAN, not an empress, not an autocrat. In his own highly talented way, Pulitzer Prize winner Massie is going to tell us what made Catherine tick underneath the ermine. Massie feels a huge kinship to the House of Romanov, because his son, Robert K. Massie IV, has hemophilia, the disease that devastated many royal families, the most famous sufferer being Alexei, the only son of Tsar Nicholas II. If you've read "Nicholas and Alexandra" "Peter the Great" and other Massie biographies you know how beautifully he writes about Russian royalty and the reader feels that part of Massie's heart is in Russia. He understands and appreciates the handsome and captivating Catherine well as he brings her to life in this splendid biography.

We are going to see a fourteen year old unknown German princess, Sophia of Anhalt, the future Catherine, morph herself into a ship of state with enormous powers. If it is possible for a royal personage to pull herself up by her own bootstraps, Sophia did.

Sophia was ignored by her own mother, Johanna, who wanted a boy, until Johanna realized Sophia was marketable as a bride and peddled her around Germany and later Russia. Massie points out that Sophia-Catherine, denied love as a girl, had a psyche that was seriously wounded, and as an adult and empress she would demand both love and admiration perhaps to an excessive degree. Nevertheless, at fourteen years old Sophia was astonishingly mature and participated with relish in the search for a husband.

That husband would be Peter, nephew of the Empress Elizabeth. The Empress was the daughter of Peter the Great.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Catherine the Great - What a woman! Fascinating book!
I read this book several years ago and it was so good I decided to buy it as we are taking a trip to Russia this summer. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Elizabeth Gaidry
4.0 out of 5 stars A history lesson from the Russians
Not knowing anything about Russia before Stalin this was a very good read. The balance of chronological narrative of Catherine's personal story against historical context from... Read more
Published 1 day ago by James andrew Hinds Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
If you interesting and informative historical novels, this is a great book to read, very informative about the monarchies ot the early years, and how they related to each other..
Published 3 days ago by Mary T Higdon
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read!
As long as this book is, it is not long enough in that it is so very factual and entertaining.
Published 3 days ago by Jane Mosher
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing chronicle of a gifted woman
This biography is one of the best that I have read and that, in part, is due to the very capable storytelling talents of Robert K. Massie. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Jane Offutt
4.0 out of 5 stars As close to perfection as it can get.
When you think of enlightened monarchs in 18th century Europe, fingers will primarily point to Her Empress Catherine the Great (Catherine II). Read more
Published 6 days ago by RSX1327
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
I enjoyed this book very much! Extremely well-written and informative! I would highly recommend this book to anyone, and am proud to say that I read it!
Published 7 days ago by Katie Mears
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating portrait
Excellent loom at the life and achievements of a great monarch. Wonderful insights about her public and private lives and those who shaped it, and her unique contribution to... Read more
Published 10 days ago by JFK historian
5.0 out of 5 stars GRAND OPERA IN THE 17TH CENTURY
WONDERFULLY WRITTEN BIOGRAPHY BY SOMEONE WHO PROBABLY KNOWS AS MUCH ABOUT RUSSIAN HISTORY AS ANYONE AND WHO CAN CONSTRUCT AND WRITE SO THAT YOU WANT TO TURN THE PAGE. Read more
Published 11 days ago by DR H
5.0 out of 5 stars Great in-depth portrayal of a complicated woman
This is so well-written, so detailed without being boring, and carefully unravels the history of a complicated woman and her country. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Melanie Smith
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Book Extras from the Shelfari Community

(What's this?)

To add, correct, or read more Book Extras for Catherine the Great , visit Shelfari, an Amazon.com company.


More About the Author

Robert Massie is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, Dreadnought and The Romanovs: The Final Chapter. He lives in Irvington, New York.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

(What's this?)
#84 in Books > History
#84 in Books > History

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?



Forums

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Topic From this Discussion
Catherine the Great; Robert Massie
Since Random House was not part of the ebook price fixing, why is this bood more then $9.99?
May 15, 2013 by R. Streisand |  See all 4 posts
Massie's repute Be the first to reply
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 




Look for Similar Items by Category


ARRAY(0xa9339a98)