Catherine Empress of all the Russias by Vincent Cronin
Catherine II, Empress of all the Russias, is one of the handful of rulers who have been popularly styled `the Great'. During her reign of more than thirty years she was politician, diplomat, commander-in-chief, educator, builder, picture-collector, dramatist, lover, mother, writer of fairy stories, and an indefatigable correspondent. Yet this woman who at the age of thirty-three, after seventeen years of unhappy marriage, placed her deposed and murdered husband's crown on her own head in Moscow cathedral, had begun life as a minor German Protestant princess, with nothing to indicate that she would become one of the most influential of 18th-century rulers, dominating her vast empire as easily as she did her lovers and her court. It is one of the paradoxes of her life that it is exceptionally well documented, yet it was the stuff of legend even in her own day. Catherine had both an eventful private life and a crowded public one, but her biographers have tended to concentrate on one or the other. Now Vincent Cronin, already acclaimed for his biographies of Napoleon and Louis XIV, has achieved a full and balanced portrait of Catherine as woman and ruler. It is of particular interest to us today, because many of the problems she faced confront rulers of developing countries, and career women everywhere are familiar with the difficulty Catherine had in finding time for work, for home and family, and for the men she loved. Mr Cronin's biography, the first to be based on a critical evaluation of Russian, French, German and English primary sources, includes new material, such as letters from the English and Danish ambassadors and passages from Catherine's own early love letters, never before published in a book. It is the most detailed narrative of Catherine's life to appear in any language. She emerges in all her magnificent complexity, as new or neglected material shows her personal life to have been even more fascinating than the stock titbits of scandal.
- Publisher William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd., London; 1978
- Red Cloth Hardback, 349 pp
- Superbly illustrated in B/W
- Size 235 x 150mm, 850g
- ISBN 0 00 216119 2
Condition: Very Good – Good Unclipped Dust Jacket, No Inscriptions, Very Good Copy
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