Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great : Life and Legend

3.55 (185 ratings by Goodreads)
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Empress of the vast Russian Empire by the age of 33, Catherine's private and public life generated tremendous contemporary controversy, and she has subsequently been portrayed variously as a political genius, a despotic foreign adventuress, a tyrant, and a nymphomaniac. Drawing on little-known sources, including Catherine's billets doux , John Alexander has produced a much-needed balanced appraisal and popular biography of one of the most powerful, infamous, and colourful figures in modern more

Product details

  • Paperback | 460 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 30.48mm | 589.67g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 24 pp black and white plates, maps
  • 0195061624
  • 9780195061628
  • 2,015,733

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).show more

Review quote

'Catherine the Great: Life and Legend 's principal service to the scholar is to trace the chronology of Catherine's reign in unparalleled detail ... a perceptive biography.' Scottish Slavonic Review, No. 17 '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 '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 `Alexander demonstrates that he posesses two important skills which enable him to address a popular readership: the ability to tell a good story well and an understanding of the effective use of descriptive contemporary accounts and interesting detail to enliven the text. An academic readership will also find this study of value' Slavonic Reviewshow more

About John T. Alexander

Professor of History at the University of Kansasshow more

Rating details

185 ratings
3.55 out of 5 stars
5 18% (34)
4 34% (63)
3 36% (67)
2 8% (14)
1 4% (7)
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