Jay Winik is one of America’s major public historians and the author of highly acclaimed, best-selling works focused on how leaders lead in times of change and crisis. Here, he discusses what made Catherine the Great perhaps the most interesting of modern leaders — and why he still believes in the enduring strength of our own political institutions.
Octavian Report: Of all the world-historical names among political leaders, you’ve said you’d most like like to have dinner with Catherine the Great. Why?
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Jay Winik is the author of the critically acclaimed books April 1865, The Great Upheaval, and 1944 and the historian-in-residence at the Council on Foreign Relations.