Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great : Life and Legend

3.55 (194 ratings by Goodreads)
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John Alexander has provided the first popular biography of one of the most powerful, infamous, and colourful figures in modern history. Empress of the vast Russian Empire by the age of 33, Catherine's private and public life generated tremendous controversy, and she has been portrayed variously as a political genius, a despotic foreign adventuress, a tyrant, and a nymphomaniac. John Alexander's detailed research draws on little-known sources, including Catherine's love notes, to produce a much-needed, balanced appraisal of this remarkable woman throughout the whole of her long reign.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 456 pages
  • 160.02 x 228.6 x 43.18mm | 793.78g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 24 pp black and white plates, maps
  • 0195052366
  • 9780195052367

Back cover copy

(An extremely well researched, well organized and judiciously balanced political portrait of Empress Catherine II. Alexander has gone to great pains to read and make good use of all recent scholarship and historiographic trends to draw a life length portrait of a most remarkable ruler).
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Review quote

'an excellent analysis of the historical context in which she cut such a flamboyant figure'
Saturday Magazine 'one of the most comprehensive studies of this woman written in modern times ... Well worth buying.'
Irish Independent 'A very well researched book that's also very readable'
Scottish Home and Country 'Alexander's biography is the best there is and likely to remain so ... based on wide-ranging use of printed and archival sources and free from dogmatic posturing. It is factually reliable, informative, lively and frequently provocative.'
A.G. Cross, The Times Literary Supplement 'this is a serious and highly readable work, which draws on a wealth of published sources, notably Catherine's own voluminous writings'
Lindsey Hughes, University of London, THES `a serious and highly readable work'
Times Higher Education Supplement `Alexander's biography is the best there is and likely to remain so'
Times Literary Supplement 'a balanced, comprehensive portrait of the woman whom custom calls "the Great", whom gossip painted as scarlet, but whom Diderot described probably accurately as "the soul of Brutus in the body of "Cleaopatra"'
Sunday Times
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About John T. Alexander

Professor of History at the University of Kansas
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Rating details

194 ratings
3.55 out of 5 stars
5 18% (35)
4 34% (66)
3 37% (71)
2 8% (15)
1 4% (7)
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