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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An “absorbing” (Los Angeles Times) biography of one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in Russian history—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs
“[A] compelling portrait not just of a Russian titan, but also of a flesh-and-blood woman.”—Newsweek
ONE OF ESQUIRE’S BEST BIOGRAPHIES OF ALL TIME • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Salon, Vogue, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Providence Journal
Robert K. Massie returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure German princess who became Catherine the Great. Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into empress of Russia by sheer determination. For thirty-four years, the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution. Catherine’s family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers, and enemies—all are here, vividly brought to life. History offers few stories richer than that of Catherine the Great. In this book, an eternally fascinating woman is returned to life.
About the Author
Robert K. Massie was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and studied American history at Yale and European history at Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. He was president of the Authors Guild from 1987 to 1991. His books include Nicholas and Alexandra, Peter the Great: His Life and World (for which he won a Pulitzer Prize for biography), The Romanovs: The Final Chapter, Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War, Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea, and Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. Robert K. Massie died in 2019.
“What Catherine the Great offers is a great story in the hands of a master storyteller.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Dense and detailed, enriched by pages of full-color illustrations, Massie’s latest will transport history lovers.”—People
“What a woman, what a world, what a biography.”—USA Today
“[Massie] hasn’t lost his mojo. . . . A consistently nimble and buoyant performance. . . . [Massie] has always been a biographer with the instincts of a novelist. He understands plot—fate—as a function of character, and the narrative perspective he establishes and maintains, a vision tightly aligned with that of his subject, convinces a reader he’s not so much looking at Catherine the Great as he is out of her eyes. . . . Juicy and suspenseful.”—Kathryn Harrison, The New York Times Book Review
“A meticulously, dramatically rendered biography.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“[A] rich, nuanced examination of Russia’s lone female leader.”—The Daily Beast
“What a woman!”—Elle
“Massie once again delivers a masterful, intimate, and tantalizing portrait of a majestic monarch.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[A] meticulously detailed work about Catherine and her world. . . . Massie makes Catherine’s story as gripping as that of any novel. His book does full justice to a complex and fascinating woman and to the age in which she lived.”—Historical Novels Review