Catherine the Great and the Enlightenment in Russia

Catherine the Great and the Enlightenment in Russia

by Nancy Whitelaw
     
 
Born into a royal but impoverished German family, the young princess of Anhalt-Zerbst was expected to make a good marriage. Her family's hopes were more than satisfied when she was tapped by Frederick the Great, matchmaker of Europe, to marry the heir to the Russian throne. Sent to live in the icy palaces of exotic St. Petersburg, Catherine's quick wit, intelligence,

Overview

Born into a royal but impoverished German family, the young princess of Anhalt-Zerbst was expected to make a good marriage. Her family's hopes were more than satisfied when she was tapped by Frederick the Great, matchmaker of Europe, to marry the heir to the Russian throne. Sent to live in the icy palaces of exotic St. Petersburg, Catherine's quick wit, intelligence, and patience kept her in favor in the dangerous Russian court. After the domineering Czarina Elizabeth died, Catherine usurped her own husband and claimed the Russian throne for herself. A formidable leader, she oversaw every step of the internal and external developments of her adopted country. Her love of Enlightenment philosophy brought art and literature to Russia, but did not extend to abolishing the system of serfdom that enslaved many of her subjects. Catherine's ruthless desire to expand Russia's borders altered forever the political power structure of Europe. Catherine the Great and the Enlightenment in Russia unfolds the story of this powerful, passionate, and ambitious ruler, from her forlorn childhood to her ascent of the most powerful throne of Europe.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Here is the absorbing story of a young German princess married at fifteen to the heir to the Russian throne. She survived a husband who detested her and a domineering mother-in-law who cared only that she produce a son , to become one of the most powerful rulers of the eighteenth century—Catherine the Great. Devoted to her adopted country, Catherine hoped to continue the modernization of Russia begun by Peter the Great and to implement the ideas of the Enlightenment with its emphasis on reason, logic, and education. Under her reign, Russian became one of the most powerful nations of the time and Catherine earned the title of "Catherine the Great." Illustrated with maps, drawings, and many portraits of the principal players in the drama of Russian court life, this straightforward account of a remarkable life makes for a fascinating and informative read. At the end of the book readers will find a timeline, a list of sources referencing quotes in each chapter, websites to links about Catherine, a bibliography and an index. 2004, Morgan Reynolds Publishing, Ages 15 up.
—Anita Barnes Lowen
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-An uneven biography. The opening chapters on the young Catherine are engaging, but subsequent chapters reveal that the author does not always have a firm grasp on Russian history. For example, the Old Believers' quarrels were with the Orthodox Church rather than with the modernizing reforms of Peter the Great. Moreover, Catherine was crowned in the Cathedral of the Assumption inside the Kremlin because this was the traditional place for coronations, not in order to please the Old Believers. There are other careless errors, such as the statement that the Russian serfs were freed at the end of the 19th century shortly before the tsars were overthrown when, in fact, they were emancipated in 1861. Nonetheless, the book should help readers successfully understand the main issues facing Russia in the 18th century and how Catherine handled the many challenges she faced. However, one must wonder if the intended audience really needs a possible explanation of why her husband could not consummate the marriage until one of her lovers got him drunk so that a doctor could perform surgery on his penis. The illustrations are useful, though the engravings of daily life and color photos of objects such as Catherine's carriage will have more appeal than the inevitable portraits of important people.-Elizabeth Talbot, University of Illinois, Champaign Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781931798273
Publisher:
Morgan Reynolds Pub
Publication date:
11/28/2004
Series:
European Queens Series
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
6.24(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.59(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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