"Far outranks the ancient efforts of G.P. Gooch, Zoe Oldenbourg and Gladys Scott Thomson....Good on high-political crises."--History "A most readable and historically accurate biography of the greatest of the Romanov rulers of Russia."--Frank V. Barchard, East Texas State University "An extremely well researched, well organized, and judiciously balanced political portrait of Empress Catherine II."--Marc Raeff, Columbia University "[Alexander] shows his abilities as a storyteller by delving into the psyche of this woman, who lived a life of celebrity, isolation, and loneliness."--The Richmond Times-Dispatch "Alexander's biography is the best there is and likely to remain so....Factually reliable, informative, lively, and frequently provocative."--Times Literary Supplement "An intelligent history and an imaginative biography."--Newark Star Ledger "The best English-language biography of Catherine in some time."--The Dallas Morning News "Informed, provocative, and, above all, fair....A major achievement. It succeeds in its goal of bridging the gap between popular biographies and scholarly studies."--The Cleveland Plain Dealer "Alexander's carefully researched political biography at last gives Catherine her due as 'the overburdened ruler of an immense and turbulent Empire.'"--W. Bruce Lincoln, The Chicago Tribune "Alexander fathoms his subject completely, and he writes a most compelling narrative."--Booklist.