Catherine The Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie

In the infant days of this blog, I posted about Nicholas and Alexandra by the same author and commented that the book was “well-researched and well-written nothing more, nothing less.” Catherine the Great was more than a well-researched, well-written book. Why?  Possibly,Massie had developed his skills as a biographer between 1967 and 2011.  Probably the difference is the difference in subjects. Catherine the Great was intelligent and competent; Nicholas and Alexandra were not. I wonder if the equation, quality of subject equals quality of biography works. It should because it seems so obvious.

Books about strong, sharp , sexy women are always welcome.I’m an Americanist so enjoyed finding out that Catherine the Great was asked by George III to supply Russian troops to help fight the Revolutionary War but refused. When I read about Russia/the USSR/ whatever it’s called now, I also revel in the cheerful corruption {Catherine the Great was encouraged by the Empress to take a lover to father an heir [because she and her husband didn’t have sex with each other only with other people]and cheerful cruelty {Catherine the Great helped her son get over his wife’s death by showing him the letters his wife and her lover had exchanged].