Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mini Book Review

Catherine The Great: Portrait of A Woman by Robert K Massie

Quote from the book:
Hoping to improve their performance, she wrote, on June 6, 1763, to the senators as a body: " I cannot say that you are lacking in patriotic concern for my welfare and the general welfare, but I am sorry to say that things are not moving towards their appointed end as successfully as one would wish." The cause of this delay she said was the existence of "internal disagreements and enmity, leading to the formation of parties seeking to hurt each other, and to behavior unworthy of sensible, respectable people desirous of doing good."

That is from Catherine The Great (Catherine II) -- an autocrat. The "senators" responsibilities were to administer her edicts.

Nothing ever changes. Sounds like a comment that could have been made by any one regarding the current deadlocks in the US Federal legislative bodies.

Although a long read, it is good history by an excellent story teller. This book covers the history of Russia from about 1729 to 1796 -- the span of Catherine's life. Not Russian, but born as a minor Prussian princess, it is amazing to realize that she became a very powerful (after Peter the Great) Russian czarist modernizing Russia and changing the way the rest of the world viewed Russia.

A personal connection to this history was when Catherine the Great arranged the partitioning of Poland between Russia, Prussia and Austria. That was in 1793. Many of my Prussian (German) ancestors were from an area that was once part of Poland and given to Prussia at the partition. Ancestor Carl Treichel was born in that area in 1816. He arrived in the US in 1852.

Read as an eBook borrowed from a library via the Overdrive app on the iPad.


  1. I have read it and keep the book. Great reading.

    I also read and have Peter the Great. I felt sick as he had his son tortured.

  2. I read her biography and it was really hard to believe that she was such despot. In short take a look trough this article: