CATHERINE THE GREAT and the Expansion of Russia by GLADYS SCOTT THOMSON. A General Introduction to the Series has been undertaken in the conviction that there can be no subject of study more important than history. Great as have been the conquests of natural science in our time such that many think of ours as a scientific age par excellence it is even more urgent and necessary that advances should be made in the social sciences, if we are to gain control of the forces of nature loosed upon us. The bed out of which all the social sciences spring is history; there they find, in greater or lesser degree, subject-matter and material, verification or contradiction. There is no end to what we can learn from history, if only we would, for it is coterminous with life. Its special field is the life of man in society, and at every point we can learn vicariously from the experience of others before us in history. To take one point only the understanding of politics: how can we hope to understand the world of affairs around us if we do not know how it came to be what it is? How to understand Germany, or Soviet Russia, or the United States or ourselves, without knowing something of their history ? There is no subject that is more useful, or indeed indispensable. Some evidence of the growing awareness of this may be seen in the immense increase in the interest of the reading public in history, and the much larger place the subject has come to take in education in our time. This series has been planned to meet the needs and demands of a very wide public and of educa tion they are indeed the same. I am convinced that the most congenial, as well as the most con crete and practical, approach to history is the biographical, through the lives of the great men whose actions have been so much part of history, and whose careers in turn have been so moulded and formed by events. The key-idea of this series, and what dis tinguishes it from any other that has appeared, is the intention by way of a biography of a great man to open up a significant historical theme; for example, Cromwell and the Puritan Revo lution, or Lenin and the Russian Revolution. My hope is, in the end, as the series fills out and completes itself, by a sufficient number of biographies to cover whole periods and subjects in that way. To give you the history of the United States, for example, or the British Empire or France, via a number of biographies of their leading historical figures. That should be something new, as well as convenient and practical, in education. I need hardly say that I am a strong believer in people with good academic standards writing once more for the general reading public, and of the public being given the best that the univer sities can provide. From this point of view this series is intended to bring the university into the homes of the people. A. L. ROWSE. Contents include: CHAPTER FACE GENERAL INTRODUCTION ... V INTRODUCTORY NOTE ... X I. PROLOGUE I H. THE GRAND-DUCHESS ... 25 III. THE EMPRESS CONSORT 60 IV. THE EMPRESS .... 83 V. RUSSIA AND POLAND . . . IOQ VI. RUSSIA AND TURKEY . . .128 VH. PUGACHEV ..... 149 Vm. POTEMKIN THE CRIMEA TURKEY . 1 70 DC. TURKEY AND POLAND AGAIN . r 94 X. ST. PETERSBURG AND ITS PEOPLE . 215 XI. THE ARTS AND THE SCIENCES . 248 XII. THE LAST YEARS .... 269 FOR FURTHER READING . . . 284 INDEX ...... 287.