Catherine the Great Portrait of a Woman Download ô 7

Robert K. Massie · 7 Read & download

O lifeA compelling portrait not just of a Russian titan but also of a flesh and blood woman Newsweek An absorbing satisfying biography Los Angeles TimesJuicy and suspenseful The New York Times Book Review A great life indeed and irresistibly told Salon NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times The Washington Post USA Today The Boston Globe San Francisco Chronicle Chicago Tribune NewsweekThe Daily Beast Salon Vogue St Louis Post Dispatch The Providence Journal Washington Examiner South Florida Sun Sentinel BookPage Bookreporter Publishers Weekly I am impressed Catherine the Great lived from 1729 1796 She was 14 when she first came to Russia This book covers this entire time period meticulously I understand how her childhood experiences came to shape her as an adult I understand her need for love and why she came to have twelve lovers At the same time she was motivated to seek power She played a huge role in European history All of this history is detailed in the book You meet her as a person and as a leader Everything one could possibly wish to know about her life is in this bookexcept gossip that is unsubstantiated Do yourself a favor read the book You will learn a lot and enjoy yourself most of the time I think every time you reread the book you would enjoy it The parts most difficult for me were those where my knowledge is lacking Through 45% The NYT Sunday Book Review has an article on the book this week Here is the link I must warn you that there are spoilers One reason alone to read this book is to laugh at crazy Peter I mean this guy is so juvenile it is mind boggling In to his 20s he plays with toy soldiers in histheir bed He even has real people marching up and down his room Marching drills tight uniforms whips Is he real Unfortunately yes At 35% the beginning of Part IV I believe this book will appeal to a different group of people than those who appreciated Nicholas and Alexandra Catherine the Great is a strong politically minded person The book does not focus upon a child with hemophilia Although you do learn details of Catherine s childhood and it certainly is essential to know these details to understand who she became as an adult politics must be the central theme of this book Empress Elizabeth is reaching the end of her life Catherine who has never been allowed contact with her children is now considering her next step toward power It is power that she seeks Panin believing that Peter was unfit to rule and should somehow be removed wished Paul Catherine s first child to be placed on the throne as a boy emperor with Catherine as regent Catherine pretended to agree with Panin I had rather be the mother than the wife of the emperor she told him In reality she had no desire to be subordinated to her own child her ambition was to occupy the throne herself 35%If you are not interested in a woman seeking power and a place on the political stage perhaps one should look elsewhere I am curious to know how many stars I will finally give this book on completion I have now read 30% of the book I am somewhere in Part III The difficult job of keeping track of who is who is not a problem any For me I get most enjoyment from the book when I am left undisturbed What I want to mention here is that perhaps you think that the life of the nobility is a piece of cake Forget that There is no way you will envy their lives I do not want to tell you why I say this because that would be a spoiler I will give you one example though Moscow in the 1750s was a city constructed primarily of wooden houses Sometimes the fancy houses were painted to look like stone Even the nobility lived in houses of wood Houses that were cold and infested with vermin Even the palaces burned Yes I think it was in 1753 that the palace where Elizabeth and Peter and Catherine were residing burned Then they moved to the governess and governor s house the house of their arch enemies the Choglokovas Only these two were no longer arch enemies at this point The description of their residence that one would assume would be of high uality is utterly deplorable During the fire what is most interesting to observe is what valuables are lostsaved by each Elizabeth lost the most thousands and thousands of dresses Peter he was embarrassed when a cabinet was hauled out of his room and it opened with liuor and wine bottles spilling out over the mud And Catherine Her pile of books by Voltaire and other such authors they were saved The articles most important to each says volumes The author provides direct uotes from existing diaries Catherine s birthing experience and the way her child is kept from her are heart wrenching even considering usual customs of the time Contact between mother and child was made impossible Elizabeth had brought Peter and Catherine to Russia It took years for an heir to be produced After that Catherine and Peter had little significance to Elizabeth They role was finished as far as Elizabeth was concerned I find the book fascinating Massie s choice of the specific details to include are balanced descriptive and engaging I have begun part two and am at 15% At first I liked Empress Elizabeth but now I despise her Sophia now called Catherine after her official conversion to the Orthodox faith has married Grand Duke Peter Ulrich Neither she nor her husband were told anything about sex This is rather ironic given all the hullabaloo and planning behind the wedding Rather essential bits were skipped What is shocking is Elizabeth s volatile personality Fortunately Catherine is intelligent and is learning uickly She is only seventeen and completely on her own In a sense she has always been on her own with so one tor rely on since her birth Lives are destroyed on the whims of Empress ElizabethLet me take this opportunity to give you an excerpt concerning Empress Elizabeth Elizabeth whose concerns and fears were personal she feared for the security of her person her throne and the future of her branch of the dynasty In her plans of course Catherine Peter and their future child were of supreme importance For this reason over the years ahead Elizabeth s attitudes toward both the young husband and the young wife oscillated dramatically between affection concern disappointment impatience frustration and rage Not only in appearance but also in character Elizabeth was her parents child She was the daughter of Russia s greatest tsar and his peasant wife who became Empress Catherine I Elizabeth was tall like her father and she resembled him in her energy ardent temper and sudden impulsive behavior Like her mother she was uickly moved to sympathy and to lavish spontaneous generosity But her gratitude like her other ualities lacked moderation and permanence 15%I appreciate how the author summarizes the descriptive incidents previously depicted The reader is first part of the whirlwind events and then stands back and looks at what these events say about the individualsI do not think I have properly shown you Elizabeth s character Listen to this To maintain her dazzling preeminence at court Elizabeth made certain that no other woman present could shine as brightly Sometimes this reuired draconian coercive measures During the winter of 1747 the empress decreed that all of her ladies in waiting must shave their heads and wear black wigs until their hair grew in again The women wept but obeyed Catherine assumed that her own turn would come but to her surprise she was spared Elizabeth explained that Catherine s hair was just growing back after an illness Soon the reason for the general pruning became known after a previous festive occasion Elizabeth and her maids had been unable to brush a heavy powder out of her hair which became gray coagulated and gummy The only remedy was to have her head shaved And because she refused to be the only bald woman at court bushels of hair were croppedWhat do you think of her now I have seen tender moments too I have read 12% of the book I am somewhere in chapter 11 I have noted that several say that although they enjoy the book they put it aside and read other lighter books occasionally I take the opposite approach I came to a point where the future husband of Sophia who will later come to be called Catherine died What I obviously had something confused The truth is that if you bother to try and understand the different family members and how they are all related you do need to pay attention If I had chosen to put the book aside for a while I would have had to start over from the beginning My head leaks Instead I backtracked to the beginning of the chapter and determined that I would sit and pay close attention for at least one hour No breaks nothing just reading And this did the trick That was a different Peter who died I would not recommend reading this book on a noisy metro or in a noisy room while the kids are looking at TV No read it when you can pay attention at least in those parts where the complicated family relations are discussed You run into such sections and then you do need to pay attention Other sections are not at all as difficult Or maybe you don t have to pay close attention What I most enjoy in this book so far is the way the author describes the people in a nuanced manner Take Empress Elizabeth She was the daughter of Peter the Great She did not seek power She was vivacious and fun loving and had several affairs But no kids However there comes a point where either the regent Anna Leopoldovna is going to stick her in a nunnery or she had to fight for the reign She had no intention of sitting in a nunnery When she fights to become Empress you are rooting for her As all people she had kind wonderful characteristics and others ualities less admirable You see all the different sides of her personality It is the author s ability to show us who the characters really are that I most enjoy So maybe you can just forget the difficult sections that are hard to follow That is another approach You will come to understand Elizabeth and Sophia and her future husband Grand Duke Peter Ulrich It is important to know of what happened to them in their childhood They both had very difficult family situations Wait till you hear of how Sophia s mother Johanna treats her daughter When they leave on a secret trip in the winter to travel to St Petersburg absolutely no clothes are bought for Sophia Johanna spent the money on clothes for herself Sophia was off to meet her future betrothed with the fewest of garments imaginable This is just one indication of the horrible mother daughter relationship And Peter put under the supervision of Br mmer You will be shocked Peter is not particularly handsome or stable but you will understand why He was practically starved to death as punishment for slight misdemeanors Both Sophia and Peter are starving for kindness I will not say but their lives are very interesting I have only come to the point where they are betrothed Peter is still sexually immature so marriage must be delayed But the clock is ticking for Elizabeth There are scenes that will make you laugh men dressed as women and women as men and dancers falling over each other All so that Elizabeth can display her shapely legs Well read the book and you will understand So I like the book Either you see that you are left in peace to understand the sections that are a bit complicated or you don t worry too much and just enjoy that which is easily engaging Your choice depends on your own personality But don t skip the book So far I think it is fascinating BEFORE READING This WILL be available in Kindle format on November 8 2011 YAY Does fussing help I have also reuested his Peter the Great book on Kindle

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Catherine the Great Portrait of a Woman

Great Portrait Epub #221 A tale of power perseverance and passion a great story in the hands of a master storyteller Catherine the PDFEPUB or The Wall Street Journal The Pulitzer Prize winning author of Peter the Great Nicholas and Alexandra and The the Great Portrait ePUB #8608 Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography the extraordinary story of an obscure German princess who became the Great Portrait of a PDFEPUB or one of the the Great Portrait of a PDFEPUB or most remarkable powerful and captivating women in history Born into a minor nobl Firstly to answer your most pressing uestion regarding Catherine the Great the Empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796 No she did not die having sex with a horseMoreover if you have an abiding interest in the origins of this rumor Robert K Massie s Catherine the Great Portrait of a Woman will not satiate your deviant interest it certainly didn t satisfy mine Massie refuses to engage the slander born during her own lifetime at any levelThus there is not one sentence of horse sex in nearly 600 pages of text Of other sexual encounters though there are many The story of Catherine the Great is filled with sex There are enough romantic entanglements sordid liaisons and passionate affairs to fuel several television seasons on premium cable There are also dozens of the betrayals murders coups plots and palace secrets that underlie so much of Russia s imperial history Massie gives life to them all in a book that balances the literal hugeness of Russia a stage 18 the size of Earth with an intimate warts and all portrayal of her leaders Born Sophia Augusta Fredericka a minor German princess Catherine eventually traveled to Russia to be the wife of Peter III the future tsar Her early years in Russia were extremely difficult She had a volatile relationship with the reigning Russian monarch Empress Elizabeth a relationship that actually looks much better in relation to her husband Peter III an immature boy of few gifts who treated Catherine horribly Massie supports the theory that Peter s mood as well as Catherine s and Peter s inability to consummate the marriage stemmed from Peter s phimosis a condition marked by a painful tightening of the foreskin In 1762 Empress Elizabeth died and Peter ascended the throne where he performed as poorly as expected Just six months into his rein an alienated Imperial Guard revolted and proclaimed Catherine the Empress Seizing the moment Catherine had her husband arrested Peter III was killed by Alexei Orlov just eight days later while imprisoned Massie finds no evidence that Catherine was involved in ordering Peter s death Catherine reigned until 1796 in a manner best described as the personification of Montesuieu s benevolent despot She liked to compare herself to Peter the Great and she worked to further modernizeEuropeanize Russia She was a patron of the arts and literature she believed in the value of education she paid service to enlightenment values and even carried on a lengthy correspondence with Voltaire During her 34 year reign she dealt with wars rebellions and the fallout of the French Revolution Despite her dalliances with liberalism though she was deeply pragmatic She made some changes to Russia s serf laws but left serfdom a pretty way of saying slavery firmly in place Massie tells this sweeping story from the ground through the eyes of those who lived it This is first and foremost a story about people The narrative belies the Tolstoyan view of history as an impersonal force Instead it focuses on how history is shaped and shifted by ordinary folks with recognizably human abilities and failings ambitions and desiresI am a huge fan of Massie s books and I have always appreciated this about him For this same reason he his disliked by academics and serious students of Russia After all Massie is a writer not a researcher He relies on secondary sources and translations in crafting his books He does not write scholarly works For the most part I think the criticism is generated by Massie s success He has amassed an enviable career without ever having to worry about tenure which certainly must aggravate his critics But that is not to say that Massie is beyond reproach Certainly his lack of facility with primary sources he uses 4 different translations of Catherine s Memoirs gives me pauseMore importantly I uestion Massie s objectivity in dealing with his subjects He tends to be less a biographer than a booster This is a failing in all of his books In Peter the Great Massie delights in telling of Peter capering about Europe incognito but glosses over the Tsar s order to torture his own son Similarly in Nicholas and Alexandra Massie provides an overly sympathetic portrait of Nicholas as an inherently decent man in over his depth rather than the anti Semitic blunderer he actually was Here too Catherine is given the benefit of every doubt If Massie is reuired to make a historical judgment call you can be certain that it will inure to Catherine s advantage These concerns however are a bit esoteric and are overwhelmed by the sheer joy of being in the hands of an absurdly good storyteller uite simply Massie is on a very short list of authors who have that rare gift of giving life to history You finish this book with a sense not only of what these famous people have done but what these famous people were like Massie s writing style is engaging and graceful if not elegant Like Robert Caro he does not simply focus on his subject but gives ample time to all the people in his subject s life As such Catherine the Great treats the reader to fascinating mini biographies of Johanna Catherine s scheming petty small minded mother Empress Elizabeth the mother in law from hell and Gregory Potemkin the greatest of all Catherine s lovers who for many years was the most powerful man in Russia The result of Massie s focus on intertwining personalities is a sense of history unfolding as it happens rather than a discrete event that happened long ago The larger perspective tends to get lost but that s okay If I have to choose between a formal and rigid survey of Catherine s reign or a detailed recounting of the soap operatic machinations of Catherine s court I m choosing the latter As I said before this is a book of sex and violence but no horse sex or horse violence It provides all the prurient joys of the trashiest novel yet comes cloaked in the respectability of a weighty tome by a respected author I don t know about you but this is a win win for me I m always on the lookout for a way to satisfy both my lowbrow instincts and my highbrow pretensions Robert K Massie s Catherine the Great does both

Review Catherine the Great Portrait of a Woman

E 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 t This one was clearly a win for me as a biography of Catherine the Great Massie s writing is clear brisk and kept the story moving throughout What I really enjoyed was how he took the time and trouble to show how Catherine carried forward the reforms begun by Peter the Great and was a monarch who overcame a great deal of adversity to overcome the obstacles of not being Russian being a woman and a usurper to boot most biographies focus on her time before becoming empress andor her lovers while Massie does look closely at several of them he also wisely discards the wild rumours and looks at what Catherine actually did While I did receive an ARC of this I still intend to buy a copy of the finished edition This one gets five stars from me and a hearty recommendation for anyone interested in Tsarist history For the longer review please go here


10 thoughts on “Catherine the Great Portrait of a Woman

  1. says:

    FROM THE MEMOIRS OF CATHERINE THE GREATFirst things first that wasn’t my real name The Empress Elizabeth who was Peter the Great’s daughter now that is a man who truly deserves “the Great” after his name changed my name to Ekaterina when she converted me into the Russian Orthodox religion As for that supe

  2. says:

    Firstly to answer your most pressing uestion regarding Catherine the Great the Empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796 No she did not di

  3. says:

    Like probably every woman of note in history open about and unashamed of her sexuality Catherine the Great is pr

  4. says:

    My ongoing exploration of biographies has pushed into yet another realm; women of power What better way to begin than with a woman who held much power in her time and about whom I know very little Bring on Catherine the Great of Russia Robert K Massie does a sensational job of pulling out a strong and well rounded story of this m

  5. says:

    Catherine the Great Portrait of a Woman by Robert K Massie is the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who travelled to Russia at the tender age of fourteen and rose to become one of the most powerful and captivating women

  6. says:

    This one was clearly a win for me as a biography of Catherine the Great Massie's writing is clear brisk and kept the story moving t

  7. says:

    I am impressed Catherine the Great lived from 1729 1796 She was 14 when she first came to Russia This book cove

  8. says:

    This book is hard to place on a scale At times it’s a 5 and other times it’s a 2 or even a 1 After some debating in my head I’m going to give it a 35 but it’s not enough to round it up to a 4 This book started off as a 5 and I loved it The story of Catherine then Sophia growing up being picked as the bride for the heir to

  9. says:

    She sat on the throne of Peter the Great and ruled an empire the largest on earth Her signature inscribed on a decree was law and if she chose could mean life or death for any one of her twenty million subjects She was intelligent well read and a shrewd judge of character During the coup she had shown determination and courage; once on the throne she displayed an open mind willingness to forgive and a political morality

  10. says:

    Whew What a densely loaded book about a fascinating woman If you have an interest in Catherine the Great this is most definitely a biography to add to your repertoire When the audiobook has 19 chapters which are j

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