Return to Book Page. Preview — Catherine the Great by John T. One of the most colorful characters in modern history, Catherine II of Russia began her life as a minor German princess, until the childless Empress Elizabeth and Catherine's own scheming mother married her off to the Grand Duke Peter of Russia at age sixteen.
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By thirty-three, she had overthrown her husband in a bloodless coup and established herself as Empress of the mult One of the most colorful characters in modern history, Catherine II of Russia began her life as a minor German princess, until the childless Empress Elizabeth and Catherine's own scheming mother married her off to the Grand Duke Peter of Russia at age sixteen. By thirty-three, she had overthrown her husband in a bloodless coup and established herself as Empress of the multinational Russian Empire, the largest territorial political unit in modern history.
Portrayed both as a political genius who restored to Russia the glory it had known in the days of Peter the Great and as a despotic foreign adventuress who usurped the Russian throne, murdered her rivals, and tyrannized her subjects, she was, by all accounts, an extraordinary woman. Catherine the Great , the first popular biography of the empress based on contemporary scholarship, provides a vivid portrait of Catherine as a mother, a lover, and, above all, an extremely savvy ruler. Concentrating on her long reign , John Alexander examines all aspects of Catherine's life and career: the brilliant political strategies by which she won the acceptance of a nationalistic elite; her expansive foreign policy; the domestic reforms with which she revamped the Russian military, political structure, and economy; and, of course, her infamous love life.
Beginning with an account of the dramatic palace revolt by which Catherine unseated her husband and a background chapter describing the circumstances of her early childhood and marriage, Alexander then proceeds chronologically through the thirty-four years of her reign. Presenting Catherine in more human terms than previous biographers have, Alexander includes numerous quotations from her reminiscences and notes.
We learn, for instance, not only the names and number of her lovers, but her understanding of what many considered a shocking licentiousness. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 9. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Catherine the Great , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews.
Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jan 01, Ray rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Obscure German princess becomes Empress of all the Russias. Story about the horse is fake news.
ALEXANDER, John T. - Catherine the Great. Life and Legend.
Aug 03, Greg rated it liked it. If you're looking for an introduction to the Empress Catherine, this book by John T. Alexander is not it. It is incredibly well researched and, in my estimation, was probably much longer before the editors got done with it. If you're looking for a "what-made-her-do-it" psychoanalysis of the Empress Catherine, this is not it.
Legends of Catherine the Great
It is understood that analyzing the motives of a living person are difficult, and that analyzing the mind of a subject long dead may be impossible. This book is very light on If you're looking for an introduction to the Empress Catherine, this book by John T.
This book is very light on examining Catherine's personality and personal motivations, leaving the reader feel that much of the book is simply a listing of events. Not surprisingly, the events are very Russo-centric.
Many of the book's pages are devoted to very important policies and happenings that contributed significantly to Russia's development, such as the conquest of the Crimea and the access to warm-water ports on the Black Sea. But Alexander offers little insight as to why this was important and does not put it into international conquest or historical perspective.
He does a good job describing her personal relationship with her predecessor, the Empress Elisabeth, but he intimates that Catherine's real interest was to be on a par with Pyotr the Great nearly a half-century earlier. Perhaps that information was in the original manuscript but was edited out later. Instead, we are left with many, many Russian names; lists of men on Catherine's councils.
Many of these names are visited only once, and it leaves a tedium with an English-speaking reader. Finally in the epilogue does John T. Alexander deal with Catherine's legacy and that pesky urban myth.
These final few paragraphs may be the most interesting of the entire work. Aug 12, Sandra Wagner-Wright rated it really liked it. Few women have been able to rule vast empires in their own right. Catherine the Great was one of these. Catherine achieved her status by removing her husband, Tsar Peter III, in a coup after which she initially justified her position in the name of her underage son. Catherine ruled from She corresponded with philosophes, expanded Russian boundaries and influence, and introduced a number of refor Few women have been able to rule vast empires in their own right.
In her free time, Catherine had a succession of lovers.
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She has fascinated historians and popular culture. His need to share everything understandable. The book is well worth reading. But I suggest reading it in small doses. I started it in January and have now finished in August.
ALEXANDER, John T.
Sep 11, Kerry rated it liked it Shelves: russia , royalty , incredible-women. Because life is too short to read boring books, I've had to stop reading this one after a month of trying to agonize my way through it. Having read several books about Catherine the Great, I was eager to add one more to my repertoire. Unfortunately, this book, besides being dry, offers little new information to the Catherine the Great research.
The subtitle "Life and Legend" misrepresents this book because it is more a superficial take on the events surrounding Catherine II than a treatment of Because life is too short to read boring books, I've had to stop reading this one after a month of trying to agonize my way through it. The subtitle "Life and Legend" misrepresents this book because it is more a superficial take on the events surrounding Catherine II than a treatment of her life experience. The author is more interested with military maneuvers, political chess, and other highly objective factors.
Rarely does the author let Catherine speak for herself or get inside her head. When he does attempt to talk about Catherine's personal experience, he makes odd choices, fixating on her sexual frustration and showing an embarrassing lack of ability to understand a female perspective. While I am sure that some readers will appreciate the more stereotypically masculine approach of this book, I found it to be disappointing, the style of writing and information contained unworthy of a historical figure with such an interesting rise to power, a well-documented inner world, and the added trials of being a woman in a male-dominated world.
Aug 01, Spiderorchid rated it really liked it.
This is the perfect book about Catherine the Great if you're looking for a detailed description of her life, reign and politics. But be warned that this is definitly an academic book: Alexander does discuss her private life, but mostly in connection with her political decisions or the motivation of her political enemies to circulate "scandals" in order to descredit her - there's no gossip, no romance and not much about her feelings.
belgacar.com/components/enlever/surveiller-iphone-non-jailbreak.php The author is a historian who writes in fascinating detail abou This is the perfect book about Catherine the Great if you're looking for a detailed description of her life, reign and politics. The author is a historian who writes in fascinating detail about Catherine's reforms, wars and political writings but someone looking for an easy read and some basic information will probably be bored to death. The book gives an excellent picture of the times and how Catherine, despite her relatively obscure origines and beeing a woman in an era dominated by men, managed to rule and expand a vaste empire.
We do get some idea of her personality, character and emotions too, but - as probably was the case in her life too - this is always overshadowed by Catherine as a ruler and political figur. Jan 27, Christopher rated it really liked it. I am interested in learning about the lives of the rulers of Russia; who they were, what they accomplished, how their reign has affected things in today's world, etc. So, I decided to read this book. This book was an in-depth exploration of the life of one of Russia's most famous and powerful rulers.
Events convered start when Catherine arrives in Russia, includes all of her reign, her lovers, legislative commission which is quite boring , reforms, etc.
The biography concludes with her death. Included are several paintings of Catherine and her family, as well as photographs of Catherine as portrayed in various films. This book was good; a bit long, but overall very good. It is well written, and had interesting anecdotes. I would highly recommend this book for history buffs, people interested in Russian history, and anyone in search of a good biography.
It still happens today just as easily as it happened to Catherine the Great. Perhaps even easier, see below. However, in recent years another myth has emerged. Take a quick look around the web, and you'll find pages debunking the idea of Catherine with the horse while stating that the great Empress of Russia died while on the toilet. Indeed, some sources quote this from John Alexander's marvelous biography of Catherine:. If you take 'closet' to mean water closet, another name for a toilet, the quote seems fairly conclusive. Unfortunately, this 'fact' isn't true but the product of a desire for belittling humor.
The toilet is a common enough location of death to be true, but still intrinsically humiliating, especially for a great Empress. Much the same process is behind the spreading of this myth; it's just a little bit nicer and easier for the storyteller to be polite about. The truth is in the next section of Alexander's book. Catherine may have never recovered full consciousness after her collapse, but she wasn't yet dead.
Alexander's book goes on to explain in paragraphs rarely quoted how Catherine was laid in her bed as doctors tried to save her body and priests made rites to save her soul. Throughout she was racked with pain, her convulsing appearance causing great distress to her consorts. It was over twelve hours after Zotov found her, well past nine o'clock at night, that Catherine finally died of natural causes, in bed and surrounded by friends and carers. She could have been remembered internationally for many things, but sadly most people know her for horses and toilets.