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This is the story of Catherine the woman, whom power alone could never satisfy, for she also wanted love, affection, friendship and humour. She found these in letter-writing, in grandchildren, in gardens, architecture and greyhounds - as well as in a succession of lovers which gave rise to salacious rumours throughout Europe.
Reviews of CATHERINE THE GREAT
| Frances Wilson in The Telegraph: "Catherine the Great is a thumping great triumph of a book, packed with details about a world in which detail - of dress, manners, rank - was everything... Rounding is able to picture for us, through dozens of letters from Catherine to her various male correspondents, the richness of her private life and the roundness of her character. The woman who strides through these pages is a contradictory colossus with a determination to drink life to the lees." Read the rest of this review here.|
Lucy Hughes-Hallett in The Sunday Times: "Rounding vividly evokes the transitional world - at once exotically archaic and bracingly modern - through which her subject moved. There is little here about the partition of Poland or the condition of the serfs: this is a biography, not a history book. But Catherine was not only the holder of great power, she was a person of immense ambition and appetite, and this book is written with vigour and intelligence enough to do justice to its prodigious subject." Read the rest of this review here.
John Lloyd in The Financial Times: "For a sense of Catherine's intimate life, sexual appetites, preoccupations, ruthlessness, intellectual scope, sentimentality and dedication, this is a great piece of work." Read the rest of this review here.