Did you know that Catherine the Great was originally German? That she was, in fact, a usurper in no way related by blood to the Romanovs? Me neither! She came to Russia when she was a teenager and changed her name from ‘Sophia’ to ‘Catherine’….
What a great book! I’ve been having a hard time putting it down. Robert K. Massie knows how to write a historical page-turner…
Here’s a quote I liked, from Catherine herself:
“…in general, Russia was ‘a stumbling block for foreigners,’ a yardstick for measuring ability, and that anyone who succeeded in Russia could count on succeeding anywhere in Europe. She considered this rule infallible, she continued, ‘for nowhere are people quicker to notice weakness, absurdity, or defects in a foreigner than in Russia. One can be assured that nothing will be overlooked because, fundamentally, no Russian really likes a foreigner.” – from Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
Have you been reading any good books lately?