‘It was Catherine the Great’s formidable persona, plus an enquiring intellect … that helped to drag Russia into the 18th century. Michael Streeter scotches some of the grosser rumours that surrounded her and retells, with assurance, the tale of that extraordinary woman.’
Catherine the Great (1729-96) was born Princess Sophia Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst, the daughter of a minor German princely family, she rose to become the greatest ruler of the vast Russian empire in the 18th century. After enduring an arranged marriage to the feeble-minded Emperor Peter III, she seized power for herself, with the help of the powerful Orlov family, on her husband’s accession to the throne. He was murdered shortly afterwards. This ‘foreign’ princess then ruled her growing domain with a vigour and devotion that was more than equal to that of any Russian Empress. This biography reveals aa remarkable woman who combined intelligence, a passion for the responsibilities of state and governance with a constant search for the love of important men. The scandalous rumours that swirled about her in her lifetime and were exaggerated over the centuries after her death are put to rest. A fascinating life of a ruler who was deservedly styled ‘the Great’.
MICHAEL STREETER is a writer and journalist who worked for many years in Fleet Street, including spells as news editor of the Independent on Sunday and as editor of the Scottish Daily Express. He has written books on a variety of subjects ranging from the history of witchcraft to internet crime. He is the author of Epitácio Pessoa: Brazil, Central America and the Treaty of Versaille, and South America and the Treaty of Versaille in Haus’ The Makers of the Modern World Series.