Friday, February 24, 2012

Robert K. Massie — Catherine the Great

This could have been a great text. Instead, it feels more like a very good introduction to Catherine II for middle schoolers, maybe high-school freshmen or sophomores. It is a genuinely engaging read, however, wonderfully paced and informative with the exception of one too many esoteric asides. Massie has a clear enthusiasm for the material that generally overpowers the nagging realization that he offers no particularly revealing insights on the subject. Overall I gave it a positive score, though I admit it made me look for superior biographies of one of Russia's most fascinating rulers (and therefore most fascinating rulers of any nation).

My full review is up now at Spectrum Culture.

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