I generaly do not read biographies. While I love history and learning, I ofter find biographies to be a retelling of facts and boring. But Catherine the Great has also interested me and after seeing this biography on numerous must read lists I decided to give it a shot.I am so glad I gave this book a shot.Within the first five pages I was hooked. Massie tells Catherine's story in a way that you don't feel like you're reading a biography. His writing has a way of engaging the reader and transforming Catherine from a historical figure into a passionate and driven woman. She comes alive through Massie's writing, and this is true for everyone who is featured in this book, including her parents, her husband, other European rulers, and her numourous lovers. By the end of the book I had identified with Catherine as a woman, something that is not easily achieved in works of non-fiction. I am looking forward to reading more of Massie's work.