Details the thirty-four-year reign of Russia's Catherine the Great by looking at the controversies over the interpretation of her policies, and by examining the problems that she faced
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De Madariaga (Univ. of London) has published extensively in the scholarly literature on Catherine II and her reign (1762-96). In this book she summarizes her scholarship for general readers, focusing not on biography, but on Catherine as working Empress, deeply involved in the work of her Legislative Commission (1767), in reform of local administration, in foreign policy, and in the intellectual traditions of the Enlightenment. Writing with great admiration for Catherine's accomplishments and minimizing, perhaps, the harsh conditions outside of court circles, the author carefully points out areas where other historians disagree with her and gaps in existing scholarship (especially Soviet scholarship). Libraries that want a recent scholarly treatment will prefer John T. Alexander's Catherine the Great (Oxford, 1989), but this is a fine summary of the period for others.
- Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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