Nicholas and Alexandra

By Robert K. Massie,

Book cover of Nicholas and Alexandra

Book description

A superbly crafted and humane portrait of the last days - and last rulers - of the Russian Empire.

Complementing his Pulitzer prize-winning Peter the Great, in this commanding book Robert K. Massie sweeps readers back to the extraordinary world of imperial Russia to tell the story of the decline…

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Why read it?

5 authors picked Nicholas and Alexandra as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

An undoubted classic and one of the first books - if not the first - to treat the subject of Nicholas and Alexandra and their son Alexei’s hemophilia with a little sympathy.

Massie had a hemophiliac son but his regard for Rasputin as Alexei’s healer still leaves something to be desired.

From Mickey's list on Rasputin and his Russian queen.

Narrowing things down still further, brings me to this book - and film - the story of Alice’s daughter, Alexandra, who married the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas.

Theirs was a tale of royal romance, and happy marriage. But they were not made to rule. And Alexandra inherited the haemophilia gene, which she passed on to their heir, leading to Rasputin and revolution. 

The Massie’s were the first tellers of this story, which has since grown in fascination - fuelled by the excellent 1971 film based on the book. And then by Boney M and their song, “Rasputin”. The Massie’s…

From Sue's list on 19th/20th century royal history.

This classic tale of the last Romanovs is both a meticulously researched history and a sweeping personal saga. Massie and his wife were the parents of a son who suffered from the same condition as the last Russian heir to the throne: hemophilia. His empathy for their personal lives makes this a poignant and ultimately devastating read.

From Jennifer's list on the last Romanovs.

First published in 1967 and received with great acclaim, the book is considered the classic account of Russia’s last Tsar and Tsarina. In his riveting chronicle of the life and reign of Tsar Nicholas II (reigned1894-1917), Massie’s emphasis is on the imperial couple and their family and the high drama surrounding their son and heir, Tsarevich Alexis, whose hemophilia was a constant cause of great anxiety. The sickly heir’s battle with the incurable disease, his mother’s reliance on Rasputin for help, and Tsar Nicholas II’s devotion to his family all make for compelling reading.

Massie was drawn to write about…

This is the book that started the whole Romanov industry. It was the first work to tell the story of the last Tsar and Tsarina through contemporary memoirs and, although now largely superseded by other works with access to the Russian archives, it still stands the test of time. This intimate portrait of Nicholas and Alexandra struggling to cope with their son’s haemophilia, the rise of Rasputin, and the fall of the monarchy is sympathetic and is the book that really hooked me into Imperial Russia when I was in my teens.

From Coryne's list on Imperial Russia and the Romanovs.

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