By Robert K. Massie
The Pulitzer Prize–winning writer of Peter the nice, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with one other masterpiece of narrative biography, the extreme tale of an imprecise younger German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to turn into the most striking, strong, and attractive ladies in history.
Born right into a minor noble family members, Catherine remodeled herself into Empress of Russia via sheer selection. owning a super brain and an insatiable interest as a tender girl, she gobbled the works of Enlightenment philosophers and, while she reached the throne, tried to exploit their ideas to steer her rule of the mammoth and backward Russian empire. She knew or corresponded with the preeminent historic figures of her time: Voltaire, Diderot, Frederick the good, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette, and, unusually, the yankee naval hero, John Paul Jones.
Reaching the throne fired through Enlightenment philosophy and decided to turn into the embodiment of the “benevolent despot” idealized through Montesquieu, she came across herself constantly contending with the deeply ingrained realities of Russian lifestyles, together with serfdom. She endured, and for thirty-four years the govt., overseas coverage, cultural improvement, and welfare of the Russian humans have been in her palms. She handled household uprising, overseas wars, and the tidal wave of political switch and violence churned up by way of the French Revolution that swept throughout Europe. Her recognition depended completely at the viewpoint of the speaker. She was once praised via Voltaire because the equivalent of the best of classical philosophers; she was once condemned through her enemies, usually overseas, as “the Messalina of the north.”
Catherine’s kinfolk, pals, ministers, generals, enthusiasts, and enemies—all are the following, vividly defined. those incorporated her bold, endlessly scheming mom; her susceptible, bullying husband, Peter (who left her mendacity untouched beside him for 9 years after their marriage); her unsatisfied son and inheritor, Paul; her loved grandchildren; and her “favorites”—the parade of younger males from whom she sought companionship and the recapture of teenybopper in addition to intercourse. right here, too, is the large determine of Gregory Potemkin, her most important lover and attainable husband, with whom she shared a passionate correspondence of affection and separation, by means of seventeen years of remarkable mutual achievement.
The tale is beautifully advised. the entire unique traits that Robert ok. Massie dropped at Nicholas and Alexandra and Peter the Great are current right here: historic accuracy, intensity of figuring out, felicity of fashion, mastery of aspect, skill to shatter delusion, and a unprecedented genius for locating and expressing the human drama in awesome lives.
History bargains few tales richer in drama than that of Catherine the nice. during this publication, this perpetually interesting lady is back to existence.
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Additional resources for Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
Kinder schenken ihren Vätern normalerweise Schraubenschlüssel und ihren Müttern elektrische Dosenöffner. Wenn Sie also beschließen, sich auf der Erde als Mann zu geben, brauchen Sie Werkzeug. Elektrowerkzeuge sind besonders beliebt (sie sind groß, schwer, unhandlich und gefährlich), aber auch mit einem Sortiment von Schraubenziehern und Schraubenschlüsseln läßt sich schon etwas anfangen. Vergessen Sie nicht: Sie werden sie im Regelfalle nicht benutzen müssen; es reicht, wenn sie nur herum liegen.
Wenn Sie also vorhaben, eine gewisse Zeit auf dem Planeten zuzubringen, müssen Sie nicht nur in der Lage sein, stundenlang im Stau zu stehen, ohne die Nerven zu verlieren, Sie müssen auch die Reden von George Bush ertragen, der immer wieder erklärt, er habe Präsident werden wollen, um der Welt Frieden zu bringen. 9. Die Fähigkeit zu lügen. Menschen sind nicht nur fast grenzenlos belastbar, es ist ihnen auch nahezu unmöglich, die Wahrheit zu sagen. Das macht sie natürlich ein wenig unglaubwürdig.
Und Menschen sind gefährliche Feinde, denn sie gehen von der Theorie aus, daß sie sich besonders wohl fühlen, wenn jemandem, den sie nicht leiden können, etwas Schreckliches zustößt. 10. Die Fähigkeit, »im Kosmos zu wandeln« – das heißt, die Schön heit des Universums zu sehen, egal, wo Sie sich aufhalten. « Oder die pulsierenden Lichter einer Disko zu sehen und an die Sternenhaufen der äußeren Nebel zu denken. Oder fünf Menschen dabei zu beob achten, wie sie versuchen, die Restaurantrechnung aufzuteilen, und sich davon »zutiefst rühren« zu lassen.
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie