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Penn Yan Public Library (Polaris)
Catherine the Great : portrait of a woman 1st ed.
    Massie, Robert K., 1929-
Publisher: Random House,
Pub date: c2011.
Pages: 625 p. :
ISBN: 9780679456728
Item info: 10 copies available at Elmira - Central (Steele) Library, Bath - Dormann Library, Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library, Dundee Library, Hector - Elizabeth B. Pert Reading Center, Hornell Public Library, Penn Yan Public Library, Watkins Glen Public Library, Wellsville - David A. Howe Public Library, and Whitesville Public Library.
Bath - Dormann Library Copies Material Location
B CATHERINE 1 Adult NonFiction Book Biography
Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library Copies Material Location
B CATHERINE 1 Adult NonFiction Book Biography
Dundee Library Copies Material Location
B CATHERINE 1 Adult NonFiction Book Biography
Elmira - Central (Steele) Library Copies Material Location
BC363M 1 Adult NonFiction Book Biography
Hector - Elizabeth B. Pert Reading Center Copies Material Location
B CATHERINE 1 Adult Fiction Book Adult Stacks
Hornell Public Library Copies Material Location
920 CATHERINE 1 Adult NonFiction Book Standard shelving location
Penn Yan Public Library Copies Material Location
B CATHERINE 1 Adult NonFiction Book Biography
Watkins Glen Public Library Copies Material Location
B CATHERINE 1 Adult NonFiction Book Biography
Wellsville - David A. Howe Public Library Copies Material Location
B CATHERINE 1 Adult NonFiction Book Adult Stacks
Whitesville Public Library Copies Material Location
B CATHERINE 1 Adult NonFiction Book Adult Stacks
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history.

Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into Empress of Russia by sheer determination. Possessing a brilliant mind and an insatiable curiosity as a young woman, she devoured the works of Enlightenment philosophers and, when she reached the throne, attempted to use their principles to guide her rule of the vast and backward Russian empire. She knew or corresponded with the preeminent historical figures of her time: Voltaire, Diderot, Frederick the Great, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette, and, surprisingly, the American naval hero, John Paul Jones.

Reaching the throne fired by Enlightenment philosophy and determined to become the embodiment of the "benevolent despot" idealized by Montesquieu, she found herself always contending with the deeply ingrained realities of Russian life, including serfdom. She persevered, and 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 that swept across Europe. Her reputation depended entirely on the perspective of the speaker. She was praised by Voltaire as the equal of the greatest of classical philosophers; she was condemned by her enemies, mostly foreign, as "the Messalina of the north."

Catherine's family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers, and enemies--all are here, vividly described. These included her ambitious, perpetually scheming mother; her weak, bullying husband, Peter (who left her lying untouched beside him for nine years after their marriage); her unhappy son and heir, Paul; her beloved grandchildren; and her "favorites"--the parade of young men from whom she sought companionship and the recapture of youth as well as sex. Here, too, is the giant figure of Gregory Potemkin, her most significant lover and possible husband, with whom she shared a passionate correspondence of love and separation, followed by seventeen years of unparalleled mutual achievement.

The story is superbly told. All the special qualities that Robert K. Massie brought to Nicholas and Alexandra and Peter the Great are present here: historical accuracy, depth of understanding, felicity of style, mastery of detail, ability to shatter myth, and a rare genius for finding and expressing the human drama in extraordinary lives.

History offers few stories richer in drama than that of Catherine the Great. In this book, this eternally fascinating woman is returned to life. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Review
The Pulitzer-winning biographer of Nicholas and Alexandra and of Peter the Great, Massie now relates the life of a minor German princess, Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst, who became Empress Catherine II of Russia (1729-1796). She was related through her ambitious mother to notable European royalty; her husband-to-be, the Russian grand duke Peter, was the only living grandson of Peter the Great. As Massie relates, during her disastrous marriage to Peter, Catherine bore three children by three different lovers, and she and Peter were controlled by Peter's all-powerful aunt, Empress Elizabeth, who took physical possession of Catherine's firstborn, Paul. Six months into her husband's incompetent reign as Peter III, Catherine, 33, who had always believed herself superior to her husband, dethroned him, but probably did not plan his subsequent murder, though, Massie writes, a shadow of suspicion hung over her. Confident, cultured, and witty, Catherine avoided excesses of personal power and ruled as a benevolent despot. Magnifying the towering achievements of Peter the Great, she imported European culture into Russia, from philosophy to medicine, education, architecture, and art. Effectively utilizing Catherine's own memoirs, Massie once again delivers a masterful, intimate, and tantalizing portrait of a majestic monarch. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. From: Reed Elsevier Inc. Copyright Reed Business Information
Library Journal Review
As with his past best-selling biographies of Russian elites, Pulitzer Prize winner Massie (Peter the Great) does a wonderful job of pulling readers into his narrative, this one taking us into 18th-century Russia and the life of a young German princess, born Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst, destined to change the course of her adopted country's history. From the young Sophie's journey to Russia at the invitation of Empress Elizabeth to her death after 34 years on the Russian throne (1762-96), readers will be absorbed and in sympathy with Massie's Catherine. His engaging narrative informs and entertains, covering everything from Catherine's friendships, marriage to Peter III, love affairs, political and intellectual beliefs, and attempts to reform the country according to ideals of the Enlightenment (she corresponded with many Enlightenment figures), to her reactions to major world events including the American Revolution and the Reign of Terror in France. VERDICT This book is aimed at the nonspecialist, as Massie does not present new sources or new angles of research. But it's a gripping narrative for general biography or Russian tsarist history buffs, an excellent choice for public, high school, and undergraduate libraries. [See Prepub Alert, 5/9/11.]-Sonnet Ireland, Univ. of New Orleans Lib. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. From: Reed Elsevier Inc. Copyright Reed Business Information
School Library Journal Review
Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra consumed my 30th year, and I'm very happy to report that the Pulitzer Prize winner's new biography of Russia's longest-ruling female leader is doing the same for my 55th. While the books and their subjects inextricably inform one another, they are very different. Nicholas and Alexandra recounted the end of an empire and destruction of a family; Catherine the Great, on the other hand, got pretty much everything she wanted, whether it was the expansion of the Russian Empire's borders or the creation of the era's richest collection of art (Catherine built the Hermitage) or the friendship of such Enlightenment leaders as Voltaire and Diderot. She had three children, perhaps none by her hapless husband, and an almost continuous stream of lovers, dispatching one kindly and with gifts before taking on another. When it came to ruling, she did it Her Way: asked by her adult son Paul for more governmental responsibility, she replied, "I do not think your entrance into the Council would be desirable. You must be patient until I change my mind." Massie gracefully moves between considerations of Catherine's life and character and the political and military changes that were reshaping Europe during the last quarter of the 18th century. He is never stodgy but always dignified, carefully illuminating the facts so that readers can discover for themselves just what a badass Catherine really was. Roger Sutton has spent the last 15 years as editor-in-chief of The Horn Book. Follow him on Twitter @RogerReads. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. From: Reed Elsevier Inc. Copyright Reed Business Information
Author Biography
Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.


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Leader am8a
key ocn694832857
Data source OCoLC
Fixed field data 110419s2011 nyu 001 0beng
LCCN 2011015279
ISBN 9780679456728 (acid-free paper)
ISBN 0679456724 (acid-free paper)
Authentication code pcc
Geographic Area Code e-ur---
LC Call Number DK170 .M34 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification Number 947/.063092 B 22
Personal Author Massie, Robert K., 1929-
Title Catherine the Great : portrait of a woman / by Robert K. Massie.
Edition 1st ed.
Publication info New York : Random House, c2011.
Projected pub date 1112
Physical description 625 p. : col. ill. ; 25 cm.
Bibliography note Includes bibliographical references and index.
Personal subject Catherine II, Empress of Russia, 1729-1796.
Subject term Empresses--Russia--Biography.
Geographic term Russia--Kings and rulers--Biography.
Geographic term Russia--History--Catherine II, 1762-1796.