Robert Massie did an excellent job telling this incredible story of Catherine the Great. The narration was equally excellent. I should make a note that I was a little concerned about buying this book in audible form. I find that stories about royal families and their subjects can get a bit confusing when it comes to lineage, who did what…etc so I typically buy hardcopy books so I can refresh my memory by looking at previous chapters. I clearly didn't need to worry about that with this audible version. The story was well organized and the author takes the time to refresh the readers’ memory from time to time. I was disappointed to reach the end. Now I am going to purchase Peter the Great from the same author. I can't wait!
Absorbing, fascinating and unlikely
In any telling of the life of Catherine the Great, Catherine must be the central character. Nobody but Catherine herself could have invented her.
It is clear that the narrator is simply reading words (which he does quite well) but has no deeper connection to the subject. Constant and consistent mispronunciation of Russian German and French words and names (and not just the difficult ones) are distracting and make one think he did no preparation. This may seem like a trivial point, but a good reading is one where one feels like the narrator knows what he/she is talking about and that is not the case here.
There are genuinely amusing, genuinely moving and genuinely horrifying moments.
This is a well paced and lively telling of a great story. It does not dig very deep into the history of the period, the mind of the protagonist or the culture of the period. But presents the information that it does provide in a manner that is clear and understandable for anyone with no background on the subject and that is no small accomplishment
I live in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have 5 grown children, play ukuele exercise, and read.
It's hard to believe this woman accomplished so much in her life without Internet, computers, or modern transportation. This is an excellent book, and I loved the fact that so much of it was obtained from Catherine's own writings. Excellent book!
Say something about yourself!
This book is not meant for history lovers. There are snippets of great historical events but most of it is just court drama and gossips from Catherine time. It's not a terrible book but it could have been so much more.
Solid performance by the narrator.
I had an opportunity to visit St. Petersburg, Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin, and the Hermitage this summer. During the trip we heard much about Catherine the Great, including this book recommendation. It did not disappoint. Massie does an excellent job of making 18th Century European history come alive. It is an improbable story: a princess from a small German principality and minor noble family emerges as the Czarina of Russia after the abdication and death of her husband, Peter III. Not only Czarina, but a most hard-working, capable, patriotic, and winsome head of Russia, known for her enlightened views and very able administrative and leadership qualities. For that reason she became known after her death as Catherine "the Great."
The book sets forth Catherine’s story in very personal terms, depicting her ambitions, hopes, loves, sufferings, frustrations, fears, and triumphs. As a story it makes the history and events of the time much more memorable and real, particularly as compared to the chronologies in which history is more typically presented. I found the book very enriching and greatly expanded my understanding of the era and the history of Russia.
The story overall. Some parts are repeated to keep you familiar with the timeline associated with the big events in Catherine's life.
Yes but not possible, very very long!!!
I have recommednded to this book to many freinds.
The 1762 coup, when Catherine and the Orlov brothers overthrew Catherine's husband Peter.
I have not listened to any other books read by Mark Deakins, but I will watch out for him in the future.
I was moved by the love affair of Catherine and Grigory Potempkin.
The book was fast paced and interesting.
This is an amazing story but I couldn't bring myself to finish it. The narrator had a very heavy American accent, who failed to bring me into the world of this Russan Queen. Deakins reading was boring, and inappropriate for this wonderful tale. Totally spoilt my experience.
A female voice as it's about a female Queen. Joanne Lumley would have been perfect.
I am an Australian woman who enjoys reading many different styles of books, from history to sci fi and mystery to poetry.
Any person that is frightened of history books should listen to this. You will be fascinated by this woman and the story is easy to listen to. Not like a Dostoyevsky novel at all so don't worry about being confused by the number and sound of names.
The Q :While I drive, on public transportation, when there is a need to tune everyone out and transport myself to another place, another time...
Not certain I would listen to again - maybe certain chapters to review, but would read another book on her. Catherine is fascinating. I don't agree with the monarchy or aristocracy at all - it is just that a person, especially a woman in that day and age, can climb to such heights.
Catherine of course! The strength of her, just surviving the court intrique and her husband's wrath was an acheivement. She came to a foreign country as a young girl, not only gains power and changes the course of Russia, and wins their hearts. She is such a unique person in the historical annals - especially as a female in a patriarchal country and time. It was not her inheritance, it was not her birth country, yet she ruled for over 30 years. She was continued the modernation of Russia and was well read and versed in enlightment - although she did not practice as democratic ideas if allowed to flourish and take hold would be a threat to monarchies. She deserves as much study as so many other historical figures.
Having been fortunate enough to have visited the Hermitage, one is dumbfounded by the magnitude of the collections. If this was all she accomplished, it would be phenomenal legacy.
It was interesting to learn she had other children beside Paul.
Was very interested in the years with her awful husband.
When Catherine gave birth to Paul, and how miserably she was treated, the shear discomfort, pain and misery she must have been in.
It was Massie's Peter the Great that gave me the desire to travel to St. Petersburg, it was one of the greatest trips in my life. Before that trip, I read a little about Catherine yet they did not complete her story. Now I want to go back!