Monday, March 26, 2012

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie

625 pages, 2011

Catherine the Great isn't just great, it's fantastic! As a fan of good biographies and Russian history, this book immediately appealed to me. What I did not expect was that it would be impossible to put down. Robert Massie is, in my opinion, one of the greatest biographers ever and has this amazing ability to write biographies that read like novels. It is very easy for biographers to get bogged down in the politics of the time, particularly with biographies concerning heads of state. Don't get me wrong, Russian politics play a very crucial role in Catherine's story as well, but Massie has an incredible ability to weave politics into the narrative of the individual's story. Another great quality of Massie is his ability to bring in other characters, effectively describe them and their influence but not lose sight on the major player. If you typically look past biography, this would be a great one to pick up with compelling history, good writing and the story of one of the most fascinating monarchs of all time.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to read the new book; her reputation goes before her. She looks a very imperious women but with a sense of playfulness about her. Her fantastic hair styling and decoration puts todays hair fascinators in the shade!