The new biography Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert Massie is a fascinating read. It comes as no surprise that it was named one of the top ten books of the year by Publisher’s Weekly and has received endless praise from the publishing world and readers alike. Covering both the political and personal sides of her life, Massie delves into every aspect of Catherine’s life from her beginnings in Germany, to her surprising relationship with Peter III, to her numerous advances for Russia as well as her many affairs. By the conclusion of the book, the reader is left with a great sense of who she was as a woman and a leader, and is likely amazed by both facets. Massie’s writing brings this historical period to life and I am truly excited to read his previous books about Peter the Great (1981) and Nicholas and Alexandra (1969) too.