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Nicholas and Alexandra (1967)

by Robert K. Massie

Series: The Romanovs (3)

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2,897473,506 (4.18)114
More than a quarter of a century after it was first published in hardcover comes a never-before-issued trade paperback edition of the classic Nicholas and Alexandra. Featuring a new introduction by its Pulitzer Prize -- winning author, this powerful work sweeps us back to the extraordinary world of Imperial Russia to tell the story of the Romanovs' lives: Nicholas's political naivete, Alexandra's obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin, and little Alexis's brave struggle with hemophilia. Against a lavish backdrop of luxury and intrigue, Robert K. Massie unfolds a powerful drama of passion and history -- the story of a doomed empire and the death-marked royals who watched it crumble.… (more)
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English (46)  Estonian (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
The author/historian is racist and sexist and this review will reflect that.
This is extremely readable, interesting to non history buffs and told using a novel-esque format.
This very much reads like fiction and in fact most of the authors motivations for the historical figures are fictional.
The author has a son with hemophilia and in fact studied the Romanov's as part of his research on this illnesses historical background. As a result the author is biased and makes no attempt to tell a fair or balanced history of this couple.
His thesis is that the revolution happens because his son has hemophilia and Empress Alexandra becomes attached to Rasputin.
Lol no
Nope
Nada
Not what fucking happened.
The revolution happens because autocratic rule is horrible and fails the majority of the population. WWI exacerbates this but this was already happening.
There was horrible management of farm land, where farmers spent more time walking to their fields than farming. 🤦🏽‍♀️
He has zero need to get involved in WWI and primarily does so as part of a pissing contest with Kaiser Wilhelm.🙄
His soldiers don't have bullets and are facing machine guns.
Meanwhile theres mass starvation at home AND on the frontlines.
Does he admit defeat and take his soldiers home where he can care for them? Nope he limits the soldiers ammunition to 3 bullets a day and shoots anyone who complains.
He ultimately killed his family.
Rasputin is a serial rapist. I don't care that was killed and find the circumstances surrounding his murder comical, almost farcical.
Akexandra isn't even really to blame though she should've gotten out of bed and been Empress. The author's treatment of her cringeworthily sexist.
Nicholas was a horrible disgusting racist. His wife probably suffered from either mental illness or an undiagnosed chronic illness. She is too tired really to wall, get out of bed or participate in life. She also has chronic sciatica which makes me think chronic illness. It's not like she ever did anything physical to aggravate it. Also while painful it doesn't stop all daily activity. I think there was a lot going on with her.
Sick kids are hard on all families however Nicholas's poorest subjects also had kids with all kinds of illnesses as well as watching their kids starve to death. Rather than their sons illness translating to care for all of the nations kids, they just care about their own kid. So no I don't have pity even for the kids.
He just was a horrible ruler and the death of his family isn't sadder than the millions he murdered or starved to death. ( )
  LoisSusan | Dec 10, 2020 |
This is a fascinating history of the final years of the Romanov dynasty. ( )
  ChuckRinn | Oct 4, 2020 |
This book gives a fascinating portrait of Nicholas II, and his wife Alexandra Feodorovna. It provides excellent atmosphere for imperial life. Massie's thesis is that Nicholas and Alexandra's relationships with each other and with their hemophiliac son Alexei are key for explaining the influence of Rasputin and the downfall of the Romanovs. This is convincing—the troubles of hemophilia and Rasputin are drawn brilliantly.

The weaknesses of the book are that it does not give a good picture of Russia beyond the Tsar, nor a decent explanation of the revolution that overthrew him. What else contributed to the Romanovs' downfall? We get only very little. Also, despite Massie's tight focus on the imperial family, to me Alexandra and, especially, Nicholas are still a bit mysterious. I don't fully understand how Alexandra grew into taking a larger role in government, and I don't know how to reconcile Nicholas's energy and intelligence with his passive governance.

Still a very good book, but I prefer Massie's Peter the Great biography. ( )
  breic | Jun 14, 2019 |
I've read this book several times. Fascinated by tsars, Russia, the mysticity and scandals that surround the family of the last tsar of Russia.

I did not like it as much as his book on Peter the Great, which was my first book by his hand. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Dec 20, 2018 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (Apr 2009; read this 2007):
- ..outstanding, highly readable saga of the life of Tsar Nicholas Romanov, his ascendancy and ultimately doomed reign in Imperial Russia. He took the throne in 1894 at age 26, after the early death of his father Alexander III. The blood relations to other monarchs is always amazing to read (descended from George II of England; first cousin to George V; nephew of several imperials). This study also intimately relates the lives of his core family: Alix of Hesse, German and Lutheran by birth who converts and becomes Alexandra; the fascinatingly guarded lives of their children, especially the tragic life of hemophiliac Alexei.
- But even beyond the personal scope, this is a well told history of the waning years of Tsarist Russia and the several crises, economic and social upheavals, intrigues, all leading precipitously to abdication, house arrest and gruesome death. Perhaps most engaging of all is the curious befriendment by Alexandra of the eccentric, bizarre, unstable Gregory Rasputin, whose strange influence over their affairs probably hastened their demise. As one famous quote says, "Without Rasputin, there could have been no Lenin". I recommend this to anyone interested in great history. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Sep 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
"I have a firm, an absolute conviction that the fate of Russia—that my own fate and that of my family—is in the hands of God who has placed me where I am. Whatever may happen to me, I shall bow to His will with the consciousness of never having had any thought other than that of serving the country which He has entrusted to me."

NICHOLAS II
"After all, the nursery was the center of all Russia's troubles."

SIR BERNARD PARES
"The Empress refused to surrender to fate. She talked incessantly of the ignorance of the physicians . . . She turned towards religion, and her prayers were tainted with a certain hysteria. The stage was ready for the appearance of a miracle worker . . ."

GRAND DUKE ALEXANDER
"The illness of the Tsarevich cast its shadow over the whole of the concluding period of Tsar Nicholas II's reign and alone can explain it. Without appearing to be, it was one of the main causes of his fall, for it made possible the phenomenon of Rasputin and resulted in the fatal isolation of the sovereigns who lived in a world apart, wholly absorbed in a tragic anxiety which had to be concealed from all eyes."

PIERRE GILLIARD
Tutor of Tsarevich Alexis
"Without Rasputin, there could have been no Lenin."

ALEXANDER KERENSKY
Dedication
To Suzanne
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From the Baltic city of St. Petersburg, built on a river marsh in a far northern corner of the empire, the Tsar ruled Russia.
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More than a quarter of a century after it was first published in hardcover comes a never-before-issued trade paperback edition of the classic Nicholas and Alexandra. Featuring a new introduction by its Pulitzer Prize -- winning author, this powerful work sweeps us back to the extraordinary world of Imperial Russia to tell the story of the Romanovs' lives: Nicholas's political naivete, Alexandra's obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin, and little Alexis's brave struggle with hemophilia. Against a lavish backdrop of luxury and intrigue, Robert K. Massie unfolds a powerful drama of passion and history -- the story of a doomed empire and the death-marked royals who watched it crumble.

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