By delving into the life of Catherine the Great, this acclaimed biographer reveals the rich tapestry of Russia's past, giving insight into the paradoxical character of its people and their stunning evolution from feudalism to communism to their present-day struggle for a free-market democracy.
This is history as it is rarely written today--elegant, witty, dramatic, and with an intimate knowledge of its characters. And what better subject for a biography than one of history's most powerful women, the German-born Russian empress whose adopted language and culture were French, and whose most loyal correspondents were Voltaire and Diderot? Troyat details the various lives of Catherine II: the ambitious child, the acquiescent yet firm grand duchess, the forceful politician and patron of the arts, the belligerent war maker, and the doting grandparent.
"A remarkable woman . . . A riveting book."--Mary Renault
"Brilliantly captures one of the most colorful figures of all time."--Doubleday Book Club News