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B&N The Week in Review 11-17-11

[ Edited ]



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The Empress 
Review by Melissa H. Pierson
When the fourteen-year-old daughter of a German prince was brought to Moscow in 1744, she was intended to be "an incubator for the next heir" to the Russian throne. In Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, Robert K. Massie, author ofNicholas and Alexandra and Peter the Great, tells the story of how young Sophia Augusta Fredericka rose -- largely through her "intellect and wiles" -- from this secondary role in the struggles over Russian dynastic power to her epochal thirty-four-year reign as Catherine II. In her review, Melissa Holbrook Pierson celebrates Massie's "feat of magic" in bringing to life this self-created woman who would outwit and outlast her enemies to preside over the Russian Enlightenment.
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