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The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – June 13, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
I think Catherine used these memoirs to sway the public's feelings about her. That's a nice way of saying I suspect the ol' gal fibbed a time or two. But so what? This is still an invaluable first-hand account of a time and place about which we might otherwise have known far less than we do, but for courtesy of her gifted prose. Sure, Catherine wasn't perfect but she wasn't a monster, either, as so many other Russian rulers have been. She had a good sense of humor, she liked to read and she made an art of political pragmatism. Catherine also tried to do what was right (especially what was right for her) and early in her reign, this German on the Russian throne brought about a number of amazingly liberal reforms that ended laws that were suffocating Mother Russia, even during the Age of Enlightenment.
I say, let historians debate all they want, Catherine deserved to have her say and her point of view is privileged. If for nothing else than the details of her era, this memoir is worth its weight in sable and caviar.
Durant also implies, though, that Catherine's memoirs fills many gaps, at least as material for further reading. No matter the partiality shown in the book, it is blindingly clear that Catherine was head and shoulders above almost all her contemporaries in intelligence, energy, curiosity, and shrewdness.
A word of personal annoyance with this book. It took more than three-quarters of the pages to run across the telling of her first non-husband love relationship. Even then the fateful paragraph was extra-long and in an unexpectedly different style, and had to be read twice to catch on. All that work for so little naughty information!
Catherine did a lot for the enlightenment in RUSSIA and was a true Russian in heart if not by blood and birth.
The book is easy to read and never boring especially if you are interested in history told by the people that made.
The events surrounding the birth of Paul are so pathetic that they are hilarious, even allowing for some self-pitying hyperbole.
If you want the story of the life of Catherine, this is not it. But it's good to see where her biographers got their ideas.
Now, I knew going in that the Empress Catherine wrote a self-justifying, self-serving memoir, based on comments from the majority of critics I had read about her. (I find most memoirs are self-serving.) Nevertheless, from an intellectual standpoint, I enjoyed the chance for Catherine to have her say.
Roberto Cortez Gonzalez, Ph.D.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The most comprehensive book about her life that I have read. Thank you for sharing it.Published 11 months ago by S. Good
Seems more an analysis of Catherine's memoirs and speculation about her inner motivations. I had no sense of reading anyone's "memoirs."Published 15 months ago by Nancy Jean Fatton
It is great to have the literary works of some of the ancient worlds greatest writers, and thinkers to have with us here today.Published on June 20, 2014 by Dante Devon Robertson
These memoirs cover the period of time from when Catherine first went to Russia until just before Empress Elizabeth passes away. Read morePublished on July 22, 2013 by RalphDaly28
I've read about every powerful woman in history. Elizabeth the First is my favorite. Catherine the second. Read morePublished on June 15, 2013 by Royanne Boyer