Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. Robert Massie. NY: Random House, 2012. 672 pages. Maps, notes, bibliography, index and a reader's guide. Paperback in gently used condition. The eminent Russian history biographer Robert Massie applies his skills and talents to a readable, informative and well-written account filled with details and facts about the life of Catherine the Great (1729-1796). Plenty has been written about her - this is one of the best.