The Memoirs of Catherine the Great Author:Dominique Maroger THE PRIVATE LIFE OF AN EMPRESS — "There is a wonderful intimateness about the writing. Catherine is not a difficult woman to understand; she looks at us levelly across the span of years and cultures, discussing with the utmost frankness her motives, desires, passions, weaknesses, and ambitions." -The New Yorker — Catherine the Great reveals hers... more »elf in this most candid of diaries. She wrote of the first of her many lovers, "Despite the inculcation and the moral precepts, directly the senses begin to speak one is carried much further than one imagines, and I know not how they can be kept in check." She moved through the intrigue of Imperial Russia, all woman and as wise and adroit a politician as any of her enemies. Her position was tenuous; she was married (in name only) to a philanderer, she was threatened with disgrace through the licentiousness of her mother, and plots and complots surrounded her. Yet she survived.
Her memoirs are frank and, thanks to a keen eye, her observations are full of the sort of detail that brings history to life: a transvestite royal ball (it was the vogue one year); a rat that was hanged, after a formal military court-martial, for eating a sentry made of starch; a monk who emasculated himself; and a royal court in which "a small lunatic asylum collected."
"A wealth of detail and a literary flair... make this work absorbing reading." -Saturday Review« less