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Catherine the Great Catherine the Great is one of the most influential rulers in Russian history. Though born in Prussia, she endeavored to gain the throne of Russia and went on to be the longest-ruling empress in Russian history. She ruled as an enlightened despot, promoting the principles of the European Enlightenment as she sought to modernize her beloved country. She r Catherine the Great Catherine the Great is one of the most influential rulers in Russian history. Though born in Prussia, she endeavored to gain the throne of Russia and went on to be the longest-ruling empress in Russian history. She ruled as an enlightened despot, promoting the principles of the European Enlightenment as she sought to modernize her beloved country. She reformed the educational system of Russia, creating a national system that utilized modern educational theory in a co-educational setting. She attracted some of the most brilliant thinkers to her court and engaged their assistance in modernizing the arts and sciences as well as the Russian economic system. Because of her efforts, she ruled over what is considered the Golden Age of Russian Enlightenment. Inside you will read about... - The Early Life of an Empress - The Dawn of a New Era - A Patron of the Arts - Catherine the Warrior - Catherine's Personal Life and Death And much more! Catherine the Great counted among her successes many glorious military victories which succeeded in expanding Russia's realm to over 200,000 square miles. She was, by all accounts, an efficacious leader and reformer in Russian history. Despite her professional successes, her personal life was far from ideal. Catherine never loved her husband and was alleged to have been complicit in his assassination. She never remarried, instead taking a string of lovers only for as long as they held her interest. She had three children, none of whom she claimed were fathered by her husband, Peter III. Despite her promiscuity, she was a generous lover, and many of her former lovers remained devoted to her throughout her life. She lived her life passionately, and can even be described as an early feminist, doing what she wanted. This book tells the story of this unconventional woman in a concise, entertaining, and informative manner.


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Catherine the Great Catherine the Great is one of the most influential rulers in Russian history. Though born in Prussia, she endeavored to gain the throne of Russia and went on to be the longest-ruling empress in Russian history. She ruled as an enlightened despot, promoting the principles of the European Enlightenment as she sought to modernize her beloved country. She r Catherine the Great Catherine the Great is one of the most influential rulers in Russian history. Though born in Prussia, she endeavored to gain the throne of Russia and went on to be the longest-ruling empress in Russian history. She ruled as an enlightened despot, promoting the principles of the European Enlightenment as she sought to modernize her beloved country. She reformed the educational system of Russia, creating a national system that utilized modern educational theory in a co-educational setting. She attracted some of the most brilliant thinkers to her court and engaged their assistance in modernizing the arts and sciences as well as the Russian economic system. Because of her efforts, she ruled over what is considered the Golden Age of Russian Enlightenment. Inside you will read about... - The Early Life of an Empress - The Dawn of a New Era - A Patron of the Arts - Catherine the Warrior - Catherine's Personal Life and Death And much more! Catherine the Great counted among her successes many glorious military victories which succeeded in expanding Russia's realm to over 200,000 square miles. She was, by all accounts, an efficacious leader and reformer in Russian history. Despite her professional successes, her personal life was far from ideal. Catherine never loved her husband and was alleged to have been complicit in his assassination. She never remarried, instead taking a string of lovers only for as long as they held her interest. She had three children, none of whom she claimed were fathered by her husband, Peter III. Despite her promiscuity, she was a generous lover, and many of her former lovers remained devoted to her throughout her life. She lived her life passionately, and can even be described as an early feminist, doing what she wanted. This book tells the story of this unconventional woman in a concise, entertaining, and informative manner.

30 review for Catherine the Great: A Life From Beginning to End

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chasity Gaines

    An insightful read about such an extremely strong women of the times. She brought about a Golden Age for Russia. She is a complex woman who's passions ran deep. I recommend this book for anyone interested in strong royal woman or Russian history. An insightful read about such an extremely strong women of the times. She brought about a Golden Age for Russia. She is a complex woman who's passions ran deep. I recommend this book for anyone interested in strong royal woman or Russian history.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Thom Swennes

    Russian Empress Catherine II has gone down in history with the very impressive moniker, Catherine the Great. She was born on May 2, 1729, as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg. From a very early age and with much encouragement and manipulation from her mother, Sophie was destined for the throne of All the Russia’s. Her future husband, Peter von Holstein-Gottorp was the son of Tsarina Elizabeth I of Russia. From the very first meeting of Peter and his intended bride Sophie, ther Russian Empress Catherine II has gone down in history with the very impressive moniker, Catherine the Great. She was born on May 2, 1729, as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg. From a very early age and with much encouragement and manipulation from her mother, Sophie was destined for the throne of All the Russia’s. Her future husband, Peter von Holstein-Gottorp was the son of Tsarina Elizabeth I of Russia. From the very first meeting of Peter and his intended bride Sophie, there was a distinct and mutual dislike. This, however, wasn’t enough to sway young Catherine from her perceived destiny. She studied and mastered the Russian language and, although born into the Lutheran religion, and to the chagrin of her father, didn’t hesitate to convert to Eastern Orthodox. Upon her conversion in June of 1744, she was rechristened, Catherine. Her marriage to Peter was a political union that would prove advantageous to Catherine and disastrous for Peter. After Elizabeth’s death in January 1762, Peter (as Peter III) ascended the throne but was forced to abdicate in favor of his wife in 1762 after only seven months on the throne. Catherine knew what she wanted and stopped at nothing to get it. In spite of her unorthodox method of gaining the throne, Catherine had a clear plan to reform Russian society, introduce education, and bring Russia up to the European standard. She introduced paper and copper currency, something that had been sorely lacking before her reign. Historians have described her as promiscuous, egotistical, vain, pretentious, and power-hungry. She was all of these things and more, so much more. She was a woman driven and with a vision. Many of the improvements she hoped to achieve remained unfinished or abandoned at her untimely and sudden death. Regardless of this fact, she really does deserve her moniker of Catherine the Great

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sulie

    She was very very ambitious and rather successful in her endeavours, becoming Empress of Russia despite not being Russian!!.. She was very forward thinking, in many ways, for the 17th century.. Reforming the education system and advancing Russia into modernising times... She was affluent in politics and military tactics and achieved many successes and victories for Russia.. She married once to become Empress and then never again and took many young lovers... Around 22 to be exact!!!.. She didn't She was very very ambitious and rather successful in her endeavours, becoming Empress of Russia despite not being Russian!!.. She was very forward thinking, in many ways, for the 17th century.. Reforming the education system and advancing Russia into modernising times... She was affluent in politics and military tactics and achieved many successes and victories for Russia.. She married once to become Empress and then never again and took many young lovers... Around 22 to be exact!!!.. She didn't care for the peasantry which was cruel but true to form in the time and social status she had been born into.. And though she did not care for them some of her reforms benefitted them... I really enjoyed reading this.. Was very informative on a woman I knew little of but was always curious about.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mary Pat

    I like the concept of the series of these books - and they are a perfect reading length, with a nice overview of lives for the bios. The organization of concepts/themes tends to be apt for each bio - not purely chronological, but a good structure to follow. I learned quite a bit from this book about Catherine the Great; I had known only a little about her before. The main weakness, though, is trying to cram too much information into single sentences. This over-stuffed prose style makes it difficu I like the concept of the series of these books - and they are a perfect reading length, with a nice overview of lives for the bios. The organization of concepts/themes tends to be apt for each bio - not purely chronological, but a good structure to follow. I learned quite a bit from this book about Catherine the Great; I had known only a little about her before. The main weakness, though, is trying to cram too much information into single sentences. This over-stuffed prose style makes it difficult to read at times, and I would get chronology switched up. It is just fine to split the same ideas into multiple sentences. It would vastly improve the readability of the books.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anil Swarup

    Difficult to decipher what was so great about Catherine who ensured that the serfs did not get emancipated through a conscious effort of depriving them of education that was now becoming available to others. Could she be called great because she had innumerous affairs? However, as is true of so many books by the authors of Hourly History, this one too makes for a very engrossing reading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Young Kim

    While the book tries to keep a balanced interpretation of the controversial history, we can find some clear facts out of this book about the German-born female Russian Tsar Catherine II. Like other great leaders in our history Catherine the Great employed many talented people to work with. (Kindle Location 217) At best, Catherine’s attitude toward religion could be viewed as one of secularism... It is understandable that her empire grew stronger and more reasonable because of her reasoning in religi While the book tries to keep a balanced interpretation of the controversial history, we can find some clear facts out of this book about the German-born female Russian Tsar Catherine II. Like other great leaders in our history Catherine the Great employed many talented people to work with. (Kindle Location 217) At best, Catherine’s attitude toward religion could be viewed as one of secularism... It is understandable that her empire grew stronger and more reasonable because of her reasoning in religion. She was a child who converted, against her own father's will, from Protestantism to Orthodoxy for practical reason, and realized that her decision to abandon her religion, despite all the social pressures and curses from her homeland, didn't really affect her life and dream, but it all worked out the opposite way. From this early experience and revelation, she was to be practical when it came to religion, which turned out to be great for her rise to the Russian throne and the rise of her Russian Empire, overwhelming the old powers like Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Ottoman Turk Empire, where the same efforts failed. Unlike the leaders of those countries, Empress Catherine was a huge fan and follower of Enlightenment. (Kindle Location 8) Many of the ideas associated with the Russian Enlightenment were first espoused during the reign of Peter the Great, who ruled from 1721 to 1725... Correction: Peter the Great reigned from 1672 to 1725. All in all, for anyone interested in the subject, it is a very brief and easy history book written in plain English to enjoy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Ann

    This short summary of Catherine The Great provides good insight into a woman who was able to turn ambition into fulfillment. Catherine was born in modern-day Poland. Her mother’s wealthy relatives played a prominent part in her rise to power. She was betrothed to Peter, the prospective Tsar of Russia. Catherine despised Peter, but she did everything in her power to gain the love and support of the Russian people. She learned the Russian language, converted to the Eastern Orthodox faith, and acqu This short summary of Catherine The Great provides good insight into a woman who was able to turn ambition into fulfillment. Catherine was born in modern-day Poland. Her mother’s wealthy relatives played a prominent part in her rise to power. She was betrothed to Peter, the prospective Tsar of Russia. Catherine despised Peter, but she did everything in her power to gain the love and support of the Russian people. She learned the Russian language, converted to the Eastern Orthodox faith, and acquired the support of the Russian military guard. Catherine was an early feminist. She supported educational reforms for men and women, reformed the farming system by introducing European reforms, and introduced the principles of European Enlightenment, counting the philosopher, Voltaire, as one of her friends. Catherine extended the territorial boundaries of Russia and succeeded in many of her military goals. She devoted her life to power and did not shirk from using violence to achieve it. The principles she set forth laid the foundation for modern Russia. Recommended as an introduction to Russian history or as a reference for student research into the subject. The essay is easy to read and is recommended for middle-grade and young adult readers as well as adults interested in biographies and history.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patricia S Winchel

    Great Accomplishments but Consumed By Power Catherine the Great received that name when she converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, not because she was religious, quite the contrary, she did it to assimilate to being Russian. She loved Russia. She was from Prussia, married her husband at 16. She’d known him since she was 10 and detested him although she had a good relationship with his mother. She surrounded herself with great minds and did much to bring Russia up to more modern European culture. She bor Great Accomplishments but Consumed By Power Catherine the Great received that name when she converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, not because she was religious, quite the contrary, she did it to assimilate to being Russian. She loved Russia. She was from Prussia, married her husband at 16. She’d known him since she was 10 and detested him although she had a good relationship with his mother. She surrounded herself with great minds and did much to bring Russia up to more modern European culture. She bore children she did not love or raise, but she did love one grandson who did eventually reign. She was a feminist at heart but she wouldn’t have described herself as one. She took 22 lovers, even tested their virility through another woman beforehand. She was very erotic and even kept erotic furniture and art that would disgust most people. Yet, she requested to be buried in white with a gold crown! Interesting history but I think her greatness was exaggerated.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ginger Smith

    Great way to gain some education I enjoyed this because it gave me the story of Catherine the Great in a straightforward way. I love learning about different people, but sometimes I don't want to read 1000 pg book that tells me about every person they came in contact with. This was an interesting, short book that taught me about a woman I find interesting, but would not buy a huge book to learn about. I also think writings like this help you decide if you would like to read a more in depth book a Great way to gain some education I enjoyed this because it gave me the story of Catherine the Great in a straightforward way. I love learning about different people, but sometimes I don't want to read 1000 pg book that tells me about every person they came in contact with. This was an interesting, short book that taught me about a woman I find interesting, but would not buy a huge book to learn about. I also think writings like this help you decide if you would like to read a more in depth book about someone.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Terri Gostola

    I learned quite a bit about Catherine the Great, and discovered that she was quite unlikable in my eyes. She was a ruthless, power grabbing murderer, willing to kill her own husband or relatives to cease power. She had a vision of modernizing her country, and in some ways she succeeded. She worked to improve education but she was quite selective, treating serfs as unworthy of education. She was the longest ruling female in Russian history, from 1762 to 1796.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mark Laufenberg

    Concise and informative book about Catherine the Great and the events that shaped her life. Guess I was expecting a bit more from someone labeled "the Great." It turned out to be not quite as interesting (in my opinion) as some of the other books by Hourly History. However, it was still as well-written and factual. Before reading the book, I knew nothing about her except for the name. Concise and informative book about Catherine the Great and the events that shaped her life. Guess I was expecting a bit more from someone labeled "the Great." It turned out to be not quite as interesting (in my opinion) as some of the other books by Hourly History. However, it was still as well-written and factual. Before reading the book, I knew nothing about her except for the name.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elba M

    A quick history class I like reading these short summaries of history because in around 40 pages you will learn the most important aspects of historical figures. Kindle library has a big variety of these summaries. The great thing about them is that you can read one of them and decide if you want to learn more about that specific person.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mike Briley

    As always with this series, it is a rather superficial summary of the life of this fantastic woman. It is however a good introduction for those who knew little or nothing about her. It has made me look for a more in depth biography. I think that is the real interest of this series. They open up the subject and make you want to learn more and more details.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Irene m. carey

    A short focused history of The GREAT CATHERINE A short history does not mean one that is necessarily lacking in important details or essentials. This well written history is short only in length and succeedes in conveying what makes this woman one of the Greats of World History.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Donadee's Corner

    I love reading the history of all kinds (people, places, and things) well now I have found another outlet to get my fill! It is so nice to quickly read about times and people and have all of the important bits right at my fingertips. My thanks to Charles River...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    Like all of the Hourly Histories that I have read, this book is easy to read, brief, and informative. I would truly appreciate Hourly Histories, like this one, include maps; many locations mentioned were unknown to me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Liny

    Très intéressant, je ne connaissais absolument pas cette impératrice avant de lire cet ebook. Féministe et très en avance des femmes de son époque elle semblait savoir ce qu'elle voulait et tout faire pour l'avoir. Bonne découverte ! Très intéressant, je ne connaissais absolument pas cette impératrice avant de lire cet ebook. Féministe et très en avance des femmes de son époque elle semblait savoir ce qu'elle voulait et tout faire pour l'avoir. Bonne découverte !

  18. 5 out of 5

    Caesar Palacios

    Great Monarch Good read on Catherine the Great. One influential woman rulers. Recommended for women achievers and students of history. Enjoy and be amaze.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joseph D'Andrea

    Terrible book. I did not like it at all.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This is an interesting read but a slow one which isnt as enticing as some of the other hourly history accounts. It is a good account of the twists and turns in Russian political history

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Ambruso

    An interesting book I enjoyed reading this biography. Catherine was a truly interesting person. Written in very readable style. It really filled in my knowledge of Russia.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    Quick and interesting read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Yanwen

    Must read This is the first book that I read on Russian history. This is a great introduction book. I can see that the author is sympathetic to Catherine the Great. Me2!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Neil Brunton

    These 1hr history books are great as a way to get people into history or as a quick synopsis into a subject that you would like too learn more about.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Always fascinated with Catherine the Great! Well written and easy to follow! A quick read!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Pedantic.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Janette

    On my kindle

  28. 4 out of 5

    chris hoban

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris Passingham

    A very informative little biography about an astonishing monarch who's story is not well known in the West A very informative little biography about an astonishing monarch who's story is not well known in the West

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia

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