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Catherine the Great & Potemkin: the imperial love affair

Catherine the Great & Potemkin: the imperial love affair

Sebag Montefiore, Simon, 1965- author

This is a sweeping epic of sex, love, power, conquest and extravagance on a magnificent Russian scale. Not only was Catherine the Great and Potemkin's romance wildly passionate, but they were also probably the most successful political partnership of all, outstripping Antony and Cleopatra or Napoleon and Josephine. Their secret letters, which discuss other lovers, sex, wars, politics, arts, and health, are surely the most intimate and extraordinary ever written by an empress or politician

Paperback, Book. English.
New edition].
Published London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, [2016]

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Statement of responsibility: Simon Sebag Montefiore
ISBN: 1780228341, 9781780228341
Note: Previous edition: published as Prince of princes. 2000.
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: xix, 612 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (black and white, and colour), maps (black and white) ; 20 cm
Subject: Russia History Catherine II, 1762-1796.; Catherine II, Empress of Russia, 1729-1796.; Potemkin, Grigoriĭ Aleksandrovich, kni͡ìazʹ, 1739-1791.; History.
Uniform Title: Prince of princes


One of the great love stories of history in a league with Napoleon and Josephine and Antony and Cleopatra ... Excellent, with dazzling mastery of detail and literary flair
Economist||A rather wonderful book ...
Sunday Times||If you want a good racy historical read, CATHERINE THE GREAT & POTEMKIN certainly provides it! Book of the Year||It is a wonderful story, and Simon Sebag Montefiore tells it with joyful verve. He evidently warms to Potemkin's overblown personality and relishes the adventurers who swarmed around him. He has a firm grasp of the politics at the Russian court and of the diplomatic context, which is not easy, since the centre of gravity of this story shifts between St Petersburg, Vienna, Berlin and Istanbul. He is very good on the relationship between Potemkin and Catherine. His explanation of the day-to-day mechanics of the unusual m?nage is light-handed, movingly told and psychologically credible
The Times||This well researched and highly ambitious biography has succeeded triumphantly in re-creating the life of an extraordinary man of mixed moods... Sebag Montefiore also provides a remarkably good panorama of the period
Sunday Times||Clearly what fascinates Sebag Montefiore is the man himself - his personality, his achievements, his lifelong relationship with his sovereign/lover - and that fascination shines through every page of this book. Although more than 500 pages long, it could easily have been double the length, so enjoyable is it to read
Sunday Telegraph||With great industry and huge enthusiasm he has combed the archives to give us a detailed account of a gigantic but, until now, almost forgotten figure. The writing is fluent, the sympathy obvious
Sunday Express||This exhaustive and beautifully-written biography... Montefiore vividly brings to life his supporting cast of envious conspirators, aristocratic mistresses, dandies, diplomats and adventurers
Daily Mail||The contradictions in Potemkin's character are beautifully brought out in this magnificent biography
Independent||Montefiore's reputation so far has been for lively journalism and a couple of novels. With this lavish biography he has announced himself as a historian who deserves to be taken seriously
Evening Standard||This splendid biography, as sprawling, magnificent and exotic as its subject, provides for the first time in English a fully researched, accurate and immensely readable history of this extraordinary man
Literary Review||Magnificent ... Montefiore's passionate and committed revisionism on behalf of his hero is just one of a host of excellent things about this book. Massively researched in Russian archives, it is a work of fine scholarship ... This is a superb biography and it is hard to see how it can ever be superseded
Financial Times||Exhilarating ... In describing Potemkin's career, Sebag Montefiore succeeds admirably in capturing its scale and ambition
Mail on Sunday||This gripping and richly researched biography ... CATHERINE THE GREAT & POTEMKIN makes it easy to see why novelists are often seduced away from fiction to write biography - where, just sometimes, implausible reality exceeds plausible fantasy many times over
TLS||An example of how to make a page-turner out of the most profound scholarship
New Statesman||Impeccably researched, beautifully written and handsomely presented, it takes us at an unslackening pace through the colourful life of one of the most legendary of all Russians, a war hero, consummate politician, visionary and lover of Catherine the Great
Daily Mail||A triumph of research and a joy to read
Books of the Year, Independent Weekend Review||This book is a conspicuous achievement. The author's researches have been extensive and his command of his subject exemplary. His writing has the quality of a vivid soap-opera of the highest class, more than equal to his subject. He brings out Potemkin's personality perfectly... Potemkin is depicted in this work as the giant he undoubtedly was, and the biography will secure him a new audience, and a renewed place in history
Country Life||POTEMKIN opened up a whole world ... to me. Book of the year
Independent||This irresistible biography is history from above. To write this stupendous, engaging tour de force, the first biography of Potemkin in any language since 1891, Montefiore has devoted many hours in the archives of Moscow and Petersburg and covered thousands of miles of the former Russian empire ...