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Terrible Tsarinas: Five Russian Women in Power

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Peter the Great was a tough act to follow. Who could possibly take the place of that gigantic reformer, that despotic visionary? He died in 1725, leaving Russia with one foot in the modern world and one foot in obscurity - and entirely caught up in a snarl of conspiracies and betrayals. In the next 37 years, five women would make history, calling the shots as their nation Peter the Great was a tough act to follow. Who could possibly take the place of that gigantic reformer, that despotic visionary? He died in 1725, leaving Russia with one foot in the modern world and one foot in obscurity - and entirely caught up in a snarl of conspiracies and betrayals. In the next 37 years, five women would make history, calling the shots as their nation became a player in the major-league games of Europe. Brains and brass, gluttony and glory. . . these passionate women responded to the challenges - some for better, some for worse. Henri Troyat paints a dazzling tableau with all the glitter of a St. Petersburg wavering under the competing influences of Prussia and Versailles. In this intimate view of history, we eavesdrop on family quarrels, lovers' trysts and diplomatic conspiracies. Troyat is the perfect author to bring us this real-life fairytale. Born in Moscow in 1911, he experienced Russia's turbulent history himself before making his way to France. In Paris, he achieved extraordinary success as a biographer and lyrical novelist, and was rewarded for his beautiful prose with acceptance into the exclusive Académie Française and with the Prix Goncourt.


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Peter the Great was a tough act to follow. Who could possibly take the place of that gigantic reformer, that despotic visionary? He died in 1725, leaving Russia with one foot in the modern world and one foot in obscurity - and entirely caught up in a snarl of conspiracies and betrayals. In the next 37 years, five women would make history, calling the shots as their nation Peter the Great was a tough act to follow. Who could possibly take the place of that gigantic reformer, that despotic visionary? He died in 1725, leaving Russia with one foot in the modern world and one foot in obscurity - and entirely caught up in a snarl of conspiracies and betrayals. In the next 37 years, five women would make history, calling the shots as their nation became a player in the major-league games of Europe. Brains and brass, gluttony and glory. . . these passionate women responded to the challenges - some for better, some for worse. Henri Troyat paints a dazzling tableau with all the glitter of a St. Petersburg wavering under the competing influences of Prussia and Versailles. In this intimate view of history, we eavesdrop on family quarrels, lovers' trysts and diplomatic conspiracies. Troyat is the perfect author to bring us this real-life fairytale. Born in Moscow in 1911, he experienced Russia's turbulent history himself before making his way to France. In Paris, he achieved extraordinary success as a biographer and lyrical novelist, and was rewarded for his beautiful prose with acceptance into the exclusive Académie Française and with the Prix Goncourt.

30 review for Terrible Tsarinas: Five Russian Women in Power

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mikel

    WOW!!!! These women were intense. The author has really done his research! Most of these women are from the same family and all exhibit very similar personality traits and life styles but the author never falters and guides you through the rise and fall of each one. I haven’t read much Russian history before so the beginning was a bit shocking coming from studying the more ‘civilized’ Western European courts. After the initial shock though, you find yourself eagerly engaged in the intricate and o WOW!!!! These women were intense. The author has really done his research! Most of these women are from the same family and all exhibit very similar personality traits and life styles but the author never falters and guides you through the rise and fall of each one. I haven’t read much Russian history before so the beginning was a bit shocking coming from studying the more ‘civilized’ Western European courts. After the initial shock though, you find yourself eagerly engaged in the intricate and often salacious lives of each of these women. We’re all familiar with Catherine the Great but this is a book about how she got there and how she became the infamous Queen that we’ve all heard about. The author is quick, witty and interesting. Non-fiction tends to take me quite a bit longer as I can only read it in short shifts but I devoured this book. There was no lag time in between chapters or even monarchs. I couldn’t put it down. Despite the many indelicacies the book handles these tastefully. The reader is left with no doubt about what goes on but there are no unnecessary racy love descriptions. Overall, this was probably one of the most well written pieces of non-fiction that I have ever read. I highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in history.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christie

    In this book Henri Troyat explores the lives of 5 women who ruled Russia in the 37 years between Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. It explores the well-known tsarinas such as Catherine I and Catherine II the Great, but also the less well-known Elizabeth I and Anna. Not knowing a lot about Russian royalty past the last tsar Nicholas II and his family, this was a very eye-opening book. I enjoyed the anecdotes about each woman from the tragic to the triumphant to the disturbing. The book is In this book Henri Troyat explores the lives of 5 women who ruled Russia in the 37 years between Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. It explores the well-known tsarinas such as Catherine I and Catherine II the Great, but also the less well-known Elizabeth I and Anna. Not knowing a lot about Russian royalty past the last tsar Nicholas II and his family, this was a very eye-opening book. I enjoyed the anecdotes about each woman from the tragic to the triumphant to the disturbing. The book is short so you don't get too bogged down into minutiae. You don't need a background on Russian history either to enjoy this book because lots of background history is worked in. My only problem with this book (and this may have been an issue with whoever translated the book into English) is that the writing style seemed to vacillate between scholarly writing and slang-infused casual writing. Neither style I object to but the jumping around made it hard to feel that the book was a cohesive piece of work. Other than that I found the book very interesting and would recommend it to anyone interested in Russian history. Reading Scavenger Hunt: Will (legal document)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    I really liked this one! Fast paced and reads like fiction, but one can tell that a lot of research went into every word and the author makes an effort to treat each woman as a person, not just a cartoon character out of Russian history.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jen Otto

    I liked it but agree with others, if you are looking for indepth and lots of facts, this isn't for you. The idea of transitioning between each Tsarina was good, it just seems a bit light on lots of facts. This helps if you have read other biographies of the different Tsarinas.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mariana M

    qué familia Tudor ni qué nada...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Camilo Uribe

    Sex, drugs, and rock n roll

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ester

    "Hidden" between the great rulers Peter the Great and Catherine II, these five women (four tsarinas and a regent) are not well known but they deserve to be. Starting by Peter's wife Catherine I, followed by his niece Anna Ivanovna, his grandniece Anna Leopoldovna and ending by his daughter Elizabeth I, these women ruled Russia for 36 years and it was not a piece of cake. It was a time of wars and upheaval. Some where loved, other despised and almost each one was criticized by their sexual behavi "Hidden" between the great rulers Peter the Great and Catherine II, these five women (four tsarinas and a regent) are not well known but they deserve to be. Starting by Peter's wife Catherine I, followed by his niece Anna Ivanovna, his grandniece Anna Leopoldovna and ending by his daughter Elizabeth I, these women ruled Russia for 36 years and it was not a piece of cake. It was a time of wars and upheaval. Some where loved, other despised and almost each one was criticized by their sexual behavior. This book is not so big, but it goes to the point and allows us to take a good look at how it was to live and rule in 18th century Russia.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Vitta

    Книга, в основе своей, - описание восшествий на престол, мирных и не очень, адюльтеров и внутрисемейных дрязг 5 российских императриц: Екатерины 1, Анны Иоановны, Анны Леопольдовны, Елизаветы 1 и Екатерины 2. Ни их роль в истории, ни их свершения почти не упоминаются в данном труде. Счастливым исключением стала лишь Елизавета 1. О Екатерине 2 рассказано до ее вступления на престол - остальное в отдельной книге. Итог - сборник дворцовых сплетен, вполне увлекательных и заслуживающих прочтения.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marien Perezdealba

    Siempre disfruto las novelas históricas (o la historia novelada). Me impresionó la depravación e hipocresía, que además es infinita cuando se combina con el poder absoluto. Mujeres intensas, de eso no hay duda.

  10. 4 out of 5

    April

    It is a very nice overview of the "Russian" women who ruled Russia after Peter the Great and before Catherine the Great.I liked it because I wanted a overview, but if you were hoping for indepth discussions and detailed information, not your book here.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Kinda hard to read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vadim

    Too little references, too much speculation about feelings and desires.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lina_mp

    Una pequeña intruduccion sobre las ultimas zarinas del imperio ruso. Este libro es una introduccion al facinante mundo de la historia.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Beatrice

    Very interesting. I couldn't put it down and I now want to read his book about Catherine the Great if I can find it in French.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Pablo

    Se pone interesante apartir del Capítulo X y XI (osea, los dos últimos) especialmente por el contexto internacional.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cristina Darabut

    Good start, but the ending was disappointing. I did not understand why he did not presented Ecaterina the Great to the full length, as he did with the others Tsarinas.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Patru

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carlos Adrian

  19. 4 out of 5

    Arnulfo Velasco

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura&Valentina

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

  22. 5 out of 5

    Victor Santillán

  23. 4 out of 5

    Firas Benseghir

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fernanda Santos

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marlobo ♥ epilogues

  26. 4 out of 5

    Florencia

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Cole

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sherilyn

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

  30. 5 out of 5

    C!NDY L00

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