10 books like Land of the Firebird

By Suzanne Massie,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Land of the Firebird. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

A Lifelong Passion

By Sergei Mironenko, Andrei Maylunas,

Book cover of A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story

An indispensable work to anyone interested in the Romanovs, and especially in the life and reign of Tsar Nicholas II. Here, in their own words from diaries and letters are the thoughts and inner-most feelings of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra, as well as numerous royal relatives – though the main focus is on Nicholas and Alexandra. Through these written words, the imperial couple and their families are revealed; they’re given a voice and come alive across more than six hundred pages of text. Interspersed as well are a variety of primary sources such as memoirs, documents, diplomatic letters, and the like. But it is the letters and diaries which take center stage and deliver an emotional read.

Russian historians Maylunas and Mironenko (he was Director of the State Archive of the Russian Federation) have done an admirable job of culling through an enormous amount of material…

A Lifelong Passion

By Sergei Mironenko, Andrei Maylunas,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Lifelong Passion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the darkest days of the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, when all talk of the Romanovs was punishable at the very least by banishment to Serbia, a group of archivists were exempt. They sorted and filed the thousands of letters and photographs of the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra (a granddaughter of Queen Victoria), and their five children. In all, some 13,000 letters have survived. Those between 1889 and 1914 have never before been published. They run the gamut from matters of state to intimate expressions of love and longing. In addition there are…


Romanoff Gold

By William Clarke,

Book cover of Romanoff Gold

This is an updated version of William Clarke’s Lost Fortune of the Tsars with additional information added since first publication. It gives a detailed, comprehensive account of the immense wealth of the Imperial family before the revolution and what happened to the money, jewels, palaces, and other riches in the chaos that followed. Faced with bank confidentiality and reluctance to talk, it reads like a detective story as the author investigates bank accounts, vaults, and jewels spirited away. The result is a fascinating account of what belonged to the Tsar’s family and what belonged to the state.

Romanoff Gold

By William Clarke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Romanoff Gold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When World War I broke out in 1914 Russia's Romanov dynasty was among the world's richest families. Yet ever since the Bolsheviks executed Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and their children at Ekaterinburg, the mystery of what happened to their wealth has remained unsolved. This book is an account of the authors' answers to the Tsar's lost fortune.


The Fate of the Romanovs

By Penny Wilson, Greg King,

Book cover of The Fate of the Romanovs

This is a comprehensive account of what happened to Nicholas, Alexandra, and their family from the fall of the monarchy to their last days in Ekaterinburg. It covers fully all the details of their confinement, their brutal murder, the discovery of the Romanov grave outside Ekaterinburg in 1989, and the controversy over the bones, using many previously unpublished Russian archival documents. If you think you know what happened, then read this because there are some surprising revelations.

The Fate of the Romanovs

By Penny Wilson, Greg King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fate of the Romanovs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Abundant, newly discovered sources shatter long-held beliefs

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 revealed, among many other things, a hidden wealth of archival documents relating to the imprisonment and eventual murder of Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, and their children. Emanating from sources both within and close to the Imperial Family as well as from their captors and executioners, these often-controversial materials have enabled a new and comprehensive examination of one the pivotal events of the twentieth century and the many controversies that surround it.

Based on a careful analysis of more than 500 of these previously…


Nicholas and Alexandra

By Robert K. Massie,

Book cover of Nicholas and Alexandra: The Classic Account of the Fall of the Romanov Dynasty

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.

Nicholas and Alexandra

By Robert K. Massie,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Nicholas and Alexandra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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 and fall of the ruling Romanov family: Tsar Nicholas II's political naivete; his wife Alexandra's obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin; and their son Alexis's battle with haemophilia.

Against a lavish backdrop of luxury and intrigue, Massie unfolds a family tragedy played out on the brutal stage of early twentieth-century…


Imagining the Unimaginable

By Aaron J. Cohen,

Book cover of Imagining the Unimaginable: World War, Modern Art, and the Politics of Public Culture in Russia, 1914-1917

Fully abstract art was a Russian invention, but until this remarkable book by Aaron Cohen came out, there was no treatment of the subject that explained the historical context in which it emerged in the work of Kandinsky, Malevich, Tatlin, and others. Other art historians have traced the aesthetic process that led, seemingly ineluctably, toward abstraction, but Cohen shows us how closely linked it was to the despair felt during the First World War. In this short but accessible work that makes extensive use of previously untouched Russian sources, he brings to life the debates over the issue among Russian artists and critics and details the response of the art market to the turmoil of the period and the birth of avant-garde movements that revolutionized art worldwide.

Imagining the Unimaginable

By Aaron J. Cohen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Imagining the Unimaginable as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As World War I shaped and molded European culture to an unprecedented degree, it also had a profound influence on the politics and aesthetics of early-twentieth-century Russian culture. In this provocative and fascinating work, Aaron J. Cohen shows how World War I changed Russian culture and especially Russian art. A wartime public culture destabilized conventional patterns in cultural politics and aesthetics and fostered a new artistic world by integrating the iconoclastic avant-garde into the art establishment and mass culture. This new wartime culture helped give birth to nonobjective abstraction (including Kazimir Malevich's famous Black Square), which revolutionized modern aesthetics. Of…


A Public Empire

By Ekaterina Pravilova,

Book cover of A Public Empire: Property and the Quest for the Common Good in Imperial Russia

This is a remarkable book that defies categorization. Establishing a concept of property that existed between private property and the property of the state, Pravilova imaginatively unites a seemingly unrelated collection of topics: forests, rivers, icons, copyright, archaeological treasures, and much more besides. She offers a profoundly new way of thinking about property and about Russians’ attitudes towards ownership. Deeply rooted in the particularities of Russia, the book also raises issues of universal significance.

A Public Empire

By Ekaterina Pravilova,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Public Empire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Property rights" and "Russia" do not usually belong in the same sentence. Rather, our general image of the nation is of insecurity of private ownership and defenselessness in the face of the state. Many scholars have attributed Russia's long-term development problems to a failure to advance property rights for the modern age and blamed Russian intellectuals for their indifference to the issues of ownership. A Public Empire refutes this widely shared conventional wisdom and analyzes the emergence of Russian property regimes from the time of Catherine the Great through World War I and the revolutions of 1917. Most importantly, A…


Tsarina

By Ellen Alpsten,

Book cover of Tsarina

Empress Catherine the Great immediately comes to mind when referring to women who ruled Russia. In Tsarina, however, author Alpsten focuses on Catherine Alexeyevna, the wife of Peter the Great, who rose to power in the early 18th century. Born into devastating poverty, Catherine is a woman who holds her cards close and plays them judiciously. She seduces Peter, revels in the riches and debauchery of the Russian court, and emerges not only as his wife, but a linchpin to Russia's future when Peter dies. This is an extraordinary tale of a powerful and intelligent woman often ignored in history.

Tsarina

By Ellen Alpsten,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tsarina as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Makes Game of Thrones look like a nursery rhyme." —Daisy Goodwin, New York Times bestselling author of The Fortune Hunter

“[Alpsten] recounts this remarkable woman’s colourful life and times." —Count Nikolai Tolstoy, historian and author

Before there was Catherine the Great, there was Catherine Alexeyevna: the first woman to rule Russia in her own right. Ellen Alpsten's rich, sweeping debut novel is the story of her rise to power.

St. Petersburg, 1725. Peter the Great lies dying in his magnificent Winter Palace. The weakness and treachery of his only son has driven his father to an appalling act of cruelty…


To the Harbin Station

By David Wolff,

Book cover of To the Harbin Station: The Liberal Alternative in Russian Manchuria, 1898-1914

Published in 1999, David Wolff’s To the Harbin Station was a pioneering work that paved the path for many historical studies that followed, and which remains an unparalleled analysis of Russia’s only colony and its imperial expansion into China in the two decades leading up to the 1917 revolution. The monograph is more than an urban history of Harbin. It is the history of a region, a railroad, and the nature of late tsarist imperialism.

To the Harbin Station

By David Wolff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To the Harbin Station as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1898, near the projected intersection of the Chinese Eastern Railroad (the last leg of the Trans-Siberian) and China's Sungari River, Russian engineers founded the city of Harbin. Between the survey of the site and the profound dislocations of the 1917 revolution, Harbin grew into a bustling multiethnic urban center with over 100,000 inhabitants. In this area of great natural wealth, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and American ambitions competed and converged, and sometimes precipitated vicious hostilities.

Drawing on the archives, both central and local, of seven countries, this history of Harbin presents multiple perspectives on Imperial Russia's only colony. The…


The Bathhouse at Midnight

By W.F. Ryan,

Book cover of The Bathhouse at Midnight: An Historical Survey of Magic and Divination in Russia

I chose this book because it is such a wide-ranging compendium of Russian folk beliefs in general (in English!) as well as of Russian customs involved in trying to ensure the fertility and health of crops, farm animals, and women, all desperately needed for the survival of the community. It is these fascinating and picturesque customs that so often get incorporated into dances. Furthermore, the Dancing Goddesses were often pressed into service for divination of the future, especially by young girls worrying about whom they would marry and how many children they would have, or if they would die first. (I accidentally witnessed one of these ceremonies in Danzig in 1993—they have not died!)

The Bathhouse at Midnight

By W.F. Ryan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bathhouse at Midnight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The title of this book refers to the classic time and place for magic, witchcraft, and divination in Russia. The Bathhouse at Midnight, by one of the world's foremost experts on the subject, surveys all forms of magic, both learned and popular, in Russia from the fifth to the eighteenth century. While no book on the subject could be exhaustive, The Bathhouse at Midnight does describe and assess all the literary sources of magic, witchcraft, astrology, alchemy, and divination from Kiev Rus and Imperial Russia, and to some extent Ukraine and Belorussia. Where possible, Ryan identifies the sources of the…


The Romanovs

By W. Bruce Lincoln,

Book cover of The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias

A comprehensive and lengthy study of the three-hundred-year rule of the Romanov dynasty, with particular attention paid to the reign of Russia’s last Tsar, Nicholas II. Lincoln, who was a professor of Russian history at Northern Illinois University, succeeds in bringing to life the sweeping saga of the Romanovs from their beginning in the seventeenth century with the accession to the throne of Michael I to the end with the abdication of Nicholas II in 1917 and onwards to the executions of the imperial family in 1918.

The Romanovs can be treated as both a general reference book for Romanov and imperial Russian history or as a starting point from which to delve further into specific subjects such as a particular reigning Russian monarch or historical event. Lincoln has produced a cogent, solidly researched work that succeeds in making the sometimes impenetrable and complex histories of Russia’s tsars much more…

The Romanovs

By W. Bruce Lincoln,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Romanovs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Traces the history of the Romanov dynasty of Russia from the 1613 accession to the throne of Michael Feodorovich Romanov to the deaths of the last Romanovs during the Russian Revolution


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Russia, the Russian Empire, and the Romanov family?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Russia, the Russian Empire, and the Romanov family.

Russia Explore 263 books about Russia
The Russian Empire Explore 8 books about the Russian Empire
The Romanov Family Explore 14 books about the Romanov family