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Catherine the Great

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Book Categories: Catherine II, Paul I, Potemkin, Court, Fiction, Children's Books, DVDs

Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great: Life and Legend by John Alexander. Born a German princess, Catherine became empress of Russia and one of the greatest monarchs in history. This is a scholarly account of her life.

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie. Biography of an obscure German princess who traveled to Russia at age 14 and rose to become empress - and one of the most powerful women in history.

Catherine the Great by Henri Troyat, translated by Joan Pinkham. An entertaining biography.

Great Catherine by Carolly Erickson. Biography.

Catherine the Great by Michael Streeter. Biography that presents the Russian empress as courageous, shrewd and intelligent.

Catherine the Great by Simon Dixon. An examination of the nature and extent of the 18th century Russian empress's power.

Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power by Virginia Rounding. Biography of the extraordinary woman who ruled Russia from 1762 until her death in 1796.

The Empress and the English Doctor: How Catherine the Great Defied a Deadly Virus by Lucy Ward. As smallpox ravaged her empire, Catherine the Great summoned Quaker physician Thomas Dimsdale.

The Tsarina's Lost Treasure: Catherine the Great, a Golden Age Masterpiece, and a Legendary Shipwreck by Gerald Easter and Mara Vorhees. Brings the life the personalities that drove Russian high politics, art and culture.

Catherine the Great: A Reference Guide to Her Life and Works by Alexander Kamenskii. Includes a chronology and an A to Z section of major events, places, and people in the Russian empress's life.

Catherine the Great: A Short History by Isabel de Madariaga. Looks at Catherine's role and achievements as empress.

Catherine the Great and the Culture of Celebrity in the Eighteenth Century by Ruth Dawson. How the Russian empress's popular fame helped shape modern celebrity.

Catherine & Diderot: The Empress, the Philosopher, and the Fate of the Enlightenment by Robert Zaretsky. A dual biography of the French philosopher Denis Diderot, who wrote about power, and Catherine II, who wielded it.

In Her Own Words

The Memoirs of Catherine the Great by Catherine the Great, translated by Markus Cruse and Hilde Hoogenboom. With humor and candor, Catherine describes the dramatic fall and rise of her fortunes.

Catherine the Great: Selected Letters translated by Andrew Kahn and Kelsey Rubin-Detlev. Combining her wit, charm, and eye for detail, Catherine's letters tell the story of a self-made woman.

War and Politics

The Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774: Catherine II and the Ottoman Empire by Brian L. Davies. Explains why the war was crucial to the political triumph of Catherine the Great, the expansion of the Russian Empire, and the rollback of Ottoman power.

Creating the Empress: Politics & Poetry in the Age of Catherine II by Vera Proskurina. Examines the interaction between power and poetry in creating the imperial image of Catherine the Great.


Empress of the Night: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak. The Russian monarch recalls her rise to the throne, her rule over the world's greatest power, and the sacrifices that made her the most feared woman of her time.

The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak. Tells the epic story of Catherine the Great's improbable rise to power in Russia through the eyes of a royal servant named Barbara.

Catherine's Son Paul I

Paul I of Russia, 1754-1801 by Roderick E. McGrew. The first full modern biography of Paul I, published in 1992. Considered by some a cruel despot verging on insane, Paul is seen by others as a progressive if flawed ruler.

Paul I: A Reassessment of His Life and Reign edited by Hugh Ragsdale. Essays examine Tsar Paul's education, his mental pathology, his struggles with threatening ideas emanating from the French Revolution, and more.


The Emperor's Barber by Graham Wade. Fictional account of a Turkish barber who becomes the confidant of Catherine the Great's insane son, Russian tsar Paul I.


Catherine the Great & Potemkin by Simon Sebag Montefiore. Biography of Catherine the Great's lover (who, some say, secretly became her husband).

Love and Conquest: Personal Correspondence of Catherine the Great and Prince Grigory Potemkin by Catherine the Great and Grigorii Aleksandrovich Potemkin. Their letters begin with Potemkin's first letter to Catherine, written while fighting the Turks in 1769, and conclude with his farewell note, scribbled the day before his death in 1791.

Court, Art, and Treasures

The Empress of Art: Catherine the Great and the Transformation of Russia by Susan Jaques. Biography of the German princess who became ruler of Russia. She sought to modernize Russia through acquisition of art, which she used as a form of diplomacy.

The Memoirs of Princess Dashkova/Russia in the Time of Catherine the Great by Princess Dashkova, edited by Kyril Fitzlyon. Written by a member of the empress's court.

Catherine the Great: The Enlightened Empress edited by Godfrey Evans. Art collected and commissioned by Catherine the Great, from a one-time only exhibition have not been seen outside the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

Treasures of Catherine the Great by Mikhail B. Piotrovski. Catalog from an exhibition of Catherine's art collection. Includes photos of painting, miniatures, coins, jewels, armor, clocks, and more.

The Time of Catherine the Great by by V. O. Kliuchevskii and Marshall S. Shatz. In this newly-translated excerpt from his five-volume "Course," Kliuchevsky (1841-1911) provides a colourful description of Russian court life in the 18th century and a portrait of the empress herself.

Books About Catherine's Palaces

Children's Books About Catherine the Great

Who Was Catherine the Great? by Pam Pollack and Meg Belviso. Learn how a Prussian princess grew up to be Russia's longest-ruling female leader. For readers ages 8 to 12.

The Life and Times of Catherine the Great by Karen Gibson. Biography for children ages 9 to 12.

Catherine the Great by Elizabeth Raum. Biography for children ages 9 to 12.

Catherine the Great: And the Enlightenment in Russia by Nancy Whitelaw. Biography for children ages 9 to 12.

Catherine the Great: Empress of Russia by Zu Vincent. A biography for young adult readers from the Wicked History series.

Catherine: The Great Journey, Russia, 1743 by Kristiana Gregory. Fiction. 14-year-old Princess Sophia leaves her humble home and travels to Russia, where she will one day rule as empress. For children ages 9 to 12.

Documentaries and Movies

These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.

Catherine the Great. Catherine Zeta-Jones stars as the Russian empress in this 1995 movie.

The Scarlet Empress. This 1934 movie stars Marlene Dietrich as Catherine. The DVD version includes a documentary about the movie's director, Josef von Sternberg.

The Rise of Catherine the Great. A 1934 movie starring Elisabeth Bergner and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Related Topics

The Romanov Dynasty
Russian Royalty
Women in Royal History

Other Websites

Wikipedia: Catherine the Great
Women's History: Catherine the Great

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