- Hardcover: 592 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (February 6, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312328877
- ISBN-13: 978-0312328870
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.8 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This lengthy biography of Russia's greatest female ruler is by no means as salacious as the subtitle suggests, but this sympathetic portrayal certainly focuses on Catherine's private life. British scholar Rounding (Les Grandes Horizontales) relies on memoirs, private letters and previous monographs as she details how, after dissolution of the unhappy marriage that brought Catherine (1729–1798) to Russia from Germany, the empress juggled her relationships with men as she attempted to thrust Russia into the modern era and make it a European power. Indeed, Rounding offers an intriguing (and partially convincing) thesis that Catherine was most effective as a ruler when she was satisfied in her private life. That life was never dull: Catherine's final lover was 40 years her junior, helping to give rise to wild but untrue rumors about her sexual appetite. Rounding's prose matches the excitement of its subject, with vivid portrayals of the late 18th-century Russian court and the machinations of Catherine and those around her. Readers looking for more scholarly and analytical treatments of Catherine's policies and Russia during this time might want to look at biographies by Isabel de Madariaga and John T. Alexander, but Rounding's work will appeal to Catherine-philes and those interested in women's history. 16 pages of color photos. (Feb.)
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“An engrossing bio . . . Is it possible Sofia Coppola picked the wrong historical heroine?” ---Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A)
“The book is so readable because it brings Catherine alive, and not least in her relations with the men she drew to her side.” ---Foreign Affairs
“An attractive account of the reign of a most remarkable woman . . . Strongly recommended.” ---Library Journal
“A great thumping triumph of a book.” ---London Telegraph (UK)
Top customer reviews
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From this book I got to know Catherine. That's what I was hoping. Through ample research examples; letters from Catherine and from her peers, historical accounts...I really trusted Rounding as capable and also fair conveyor of Catherine's world (to the best of her ability!). She was committed to FACTS, yet facts are not always boring...in fact, most of these facts are quite entertaining! Some facts in the book were better than fiction. Some things in Catherine's life were so amazing that I had to call a friend in the middle of the book just to express my AWE. Some surprises I found were how poorly Catherine was treated at times...the state of her marriage...The state of Russia.
Still, as a casual reader, some of this book does get dense at times. I personally have trouble navigating through all the Russian names and some of the politics. That being said, I learned so much more from this book than I anticipated. It was worth the commitment to the book to get through the challenging parts.
This book is not sensationalism, although it is...at times Sensational. Catherine was a much more brilliant and focused woman than I could have hoped. A true leader! Certainly she put in her dues to acquire so much experience and respect. The romantic escapades really take a back seat to the basis of Catherine's true power and expertise, but I wasn't upset by this at all. Lot's of interesting characters in this book besides Catherine too. This will get your imagination going.
Do read this book.
manipulator full of ambition and guile. Her sexual appetite is unabated, and her mastery of diplomacy
is unparalleled. I would greatly recommend it for the lovers of history.
Most recent customer reviews
This was either the fourth or fifth biography of Catherine the Great I have read over the...Read more