100 books like The Last Tsar

By Edvard Radzinsky,

Here are 100 books that The Last Tsar fans have personally recommended if you like The Last Tsar. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Nicholas and Alexandra

Mickey Mayhew Author Of Rasputin and his Russian Queen: The True Story of Grigory and Alexandra

From my list on Rasputin and his Russian queen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I can’t explain the fascination with Rasputin, but one hears the name so frequently via the Boney M pop song, so I took that as the inspiration - and the title - of my book. I saw a book about him in Waterstones one day and had to pick it up, even though it was so big it might’ve doubled as a doorstop. But from then I was hooked; I read everything I could, watched more, and researched until I actually went to Russia. And then I research some more!

Mickey's book list on Rasputin and his Russian queen

Mickey Mayhew Why did Mickey love this book?

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.

By Robert K. Massie,

Why should I read it?

5 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…


Book cover of The Romanov Empress: A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna

Ken Czech Author Of The Tsar's Locket

From my list on the triumphs and tragedies of Russia's Romanovs.

Why am I passionate about this?

The Romanov saga has intrigued me since I was an undergraduate student in history many moons ago. Three hundred years of Romanov rule were filled with exotic beauty, violence, and tragedy. I went on to teach Russian history at university and was able to share some of the stories of the tsars and tsarinas with my students. Having authored books and articles in my academic field, my teaching career has ended. Now it is historical fiction that has captured my imagination and spurred me to pen my own novels set in 19th-century Africa and Afghanistan, as well as Russia during the reign of Ivan the Terrible.

Ken's book list on the triumphs and tragedies of Russia's Romanovs

Ken Czech Why did Ken love this book?

Gortner's story of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, the wife of Tsar Alexander III, features incredible historical detail on the tumultuous events sweeping through Russia from the tragic death of her husband to the awful murder of her son, Nicholas II, and his family. Told in first person, we see through the tsarina's eyes the slow and inevitable collapse of the Romanov dynasty in the face of gargantuan political and social upheavals. The descriptions of jewels and dresses and festivals underscores Romanov privilege when only a few had so much more than most.

What I found particularly interesting was Gortner's description of the conflict between Maria and Alexandra, the wife of Nicholas II, that spiraled to mistrust, grief, and anger.

By C.W. Gortner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Romanov Empress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna From the opulent palaces of St. Petersburg to the World War I battlefields and the bloodied countryside occupied by the Bolsheviks, C. W. Gortner sweeps us into the fall of an empire and the bold heart of the woman who tried to save it.


Book cover of The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

Jennifer Laam Author Of The Romanov Heiress

From my list on the last Romanovs.

Why am I passionate about this?

A proud native of Stockton, CA, Jennifer Laam resides in California with a temperamental tabby cat named Jonesy. Her other works of historical fiction are The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, The Tsarina’s Legacy, and The Lost Season of Love and Snow. When not reading or writing, she enjoys planning cosplay for the next San Diego Comic-Con, experimenting with vegetarian recipes (to mixed results), cooing at Baby Yoda, or obsessing over House Targaryen. 

Jennifer's book list on the last Romanovs

Jennifer Laam Why did Jennifer love this book?

Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia: the four daughters of Nicholas II are sometimes known as OTMA and often seen as a collective. With their carefully curated public images, Rappaport refers to them as the “Princess Dianas of their day.” At the same time, their individual personalities come to life via diary entries, correspondence, and fascinating reconstructions of their experiences as young women coming to age in the last days of imperial Russia, nurses during WWI, and prisoners after the Revolution.

By Helen Rappaport,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On 17 July 1918, four young women walked down twenty-three steps into the cellar of a house in Ekaterinburg. The eldest was twenty-two, the youngest only seventeen. Together with their parents and their thirteen-year-old brother, they were all brutally murdered. Their crime: to be the daughters of the last Tsar and Tsaritsa of All the Russias.

Much has been written about Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and their tragic fate, as it has about the Russian Revolutions of 1917, but little attention has been paid to the Romanov princesses, who - perhaps inevitably - have been seen as minor players…


Book cover of The Kitchen Boy

Jennifer Laam Author Of The Romanov Heiress

From my list on the last Romanovs.

Why am I passionate about this?

A proud native of Stockton, CA, Jennifer Laam resides in California with a temperamental tabby cat named Jonesy. Her other works of historical fiction are The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, The Tsarina’s Legacy, and The Lost Season of Love and Snow. When not reading or writing, she enjoys planning cosplay for the next San Diego Comic-Con, experimenting with vegetarian recipes (to mixed results), cooing at Baby Yoda, or obsessing over House Targaryen. 

Jennifer's book list on the last Romanovs

Jennifer Laam Why did Jennifer love this book?

A harrowing and beautifully told novel of the last days of the Romanovs in imprisonment. The point of view character is a surviving servant, Leonka, a child released from the “House of Special Purpose” shortly before the execution of the royal family. 

By Robert Alexander,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient), directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky (The Counterfeiters)

Drawing from decades of work, travel, and research in Russia, Robert Alexander re-creates the tragic, perennially fascinating story of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra Romanov as seen through the eyes of their young kitchen boy, Leonka. Now an ancient Russian immigrant, Leonka claims to be the last living witness to the Romanovs' brutal murders and sets down the dark secrets of his past with the imperial family. Does he hold the key to the many questions surrounding the…


Book cover of The Russian Revolution, 1905-1921

Steven G. Marks Author Of How Russia Shaped the Modern World: From Art to Anti-Semitism, Ballet to Bolshevism

From my list on modern Russian history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Steven G. Marks is a historian who has written extensively on Russian economic and cultural history, the global impact of Russian ideas, and the history of capitalism. He received his PhD from Harvard University and has spent more than 30 years teaching Russian and world history at Clemson University in South Carolina.

Steven's book list on modern Russian history

Steven G. Marks Why did Steven love this book?

There are many excellent histories of the Russian Revolution that chronicle the main events, but none convey the complexity of experiences in Tsarist Russia during its final years and the Soviet regime in its initial phase as Mark Steinberg’s short but powerful and original work. This book gives us the bird’s-eye view of developments as they unfold, but also places them under the microscope to give us personal stories and experiences from different wakes of life. Using contemporary journalism and diaries, Steinberg recovers the voices of a range of ethnic groups in various regions of the empire—Jews, Ukrainians, and Central Asians--as well as workers, peasants, women, and members of the intelligentsia. As we witness their lives being thrown into upheaval by rapid political and economic transformation in the first years of the 20th century, followed by World War I, the two revolutions of 1917, and civil war, we gain…

By Mark D. Steinberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Russian Revolution, 1905-1921 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Russian Revolution, 1905-1921 is a new history of Russia's revolutionary era as a story of experience-of people making sense of history as it unfolded in their own lives and as they took part in making history themselves. The major events, trends, and explanations, reaching from Bloody Sunday in 1905 to the final shots of the civil war in 1921, are viewed through the doubled perspective of the professional historian looking backward and the contemporary
journalist reporting and interpreting history as it happened. The volume then turns toward particular places and people: city streets, peasant villages, the margins of empire…


Book cover of The Fall of Tsarism: Untold Stories of the February 1917 Revolution

Will Englund Author Of March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution

From my list on by witnesses to Russia’s February Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a longtime Moscow correspondent, having worked there for The Baltimore Sun in the 1990s and for The Washington Post in the 2010s. It was an exciting time to be in Russia, and I couldn’t help noticing parallels between the Russian revolutions of 1917 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. I think American policymakers, in particular, profoundly misunderstood both events. In my newspaper career, I am a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the George Polk Award, an Oversea Press Club award, and other honors. In the fall of 2018, I taught for a semester at Princeton University.

Will's book list on by witnesses to Russia’s February Revolution

Will Englund Why did Will love this book?

Amazingly, in the spring of 1917 an Interview Commission was formed in Russia to obtain oral histories of the revolution that led to the abdication of Czar Nicholas II. Thirteen key players were interviewed about their role in the sweeping and often violent events that had occurred just two months earlier. You can sense the ambivalence that they were struggling with. Of special note is Alexander Kerensky, who would become the leader of the Provisional Government, describing how he called Nicholas’ brother Michael in the middle of the night, waking him up, and persuading him to renounce the throne.

By Semion Lyandres,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Fall of Tsarism contains a series of gripping, plain-spoken testimonies from some of the leading participants of the Russian Revolution of February 1917, including the future revolutionary premier Alexander Kerenskii.

Recorded in the spring of 1917, months before the Bolsheviks seized power, these interviews represent the earliest first-hand testimonies on the overthrow of the Tsarist regime known to historians. Hidden away and presumed lost for the better part of a century, they are now revealed to the world for the first time.


Book cover of The Last Grand Duchess: Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna

Julia P. Gelardi Author Of From Splendor to Revolution

From my list on the Romanovs and the Reign of Tsar Nicholas II.

Why am I passionate about this?

Julia P. Gelardi has obtained a Master’s degree in History and spent many years immersed in the world of European royal history. The author of numerous articles and seven books on European royalty, three of which have been published by St. Martin’s Press, Julia has done extensive research in various archives, including the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle. She continues to search the world for elusive books on royalty to add to her library and is always on the lookout for new topics to write about and share with her readers.

Julia's book list on the Romanovs and the Reign of Tsar Nicholas II

Julia P. Gelardi Why did Julia love this book?

A skillfully written account and engaging portrait of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1960), younger sister of Tsar Nicholas II. Olga Alexandrovna’s life was no less dramatic than that of her brother, Nicholas II. Daughter, granddaughter, and sister to Russian emperors, Olga – a woman devoid of vanity and imbued with a strong faith – lived a life that could never be replicated. Immersed in the splendors of the Russian court, Olga also suffered through the Russian Revolution, and ultimately left Russia for a life of exile in Denmark and Canada. The Last Grand Duchess is Olga’s memoirs as told to Ian Vorres whose deft presentation of her story is to be applauded. Published in 1965, The Last Grand Duchess not only delves into Olga’s life but that of her family and other historical figures and brings a unique insight into the last Romanovs and Tsar Nicholas II in particular.

In…

By Ian Vorres,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When she died in exile in 1960, Olga Alexandrovna was the last Grand Duchess of Russia, the favorite sister of Czar Nicholas II who was executed with his wife and five children during the Revolution. Born in splendor difficult to imagine today, she endured a lifetime of relentless tragedy with courage and exceptional powers of adjustment.

The Last Grand Duchess is a valuable account of the final decades of the house of Romanov as seen through the eyes of its last surviving member. Through Olga, we meet Queen Victoria, George V of England, Rasputin, Mrs. Anderson - on whose story…


Book cover of Thirteen Years at the Russian Court: A Personal Record of the Last Years and Death of the Tsar Nicholas II, and His Family

Julia P. Gelardi Author Of From Splendor to Revolution

From my list on the Romanovs and the Reign of Tsar Nicholas II.

Why am I passionate about this?

Julia P. Gelardi has obtained a Master’s degree in History and spent many years immersed in the world of European royal history. The author of numerous articles and seven books on European royalty, three of which have been published by St. Martin’s Press, Julia has done extensive research in various archives, including the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle. She continues to search the world for elusive books on royalty to add to her library and is always on the lookout for new topics to write about and share with her readers.

Julia's book list on the Romanovs and the Reign of Tsar Nicholas II

Julia P. Gelardi Why did Julia love this book?

This is the personal account of the family of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra as told by their children’s French-language tutor. Gilliard, who spent the years 1905-1918 in the bosom of the imperial family, came to know the family well, and hence had nearly unprecedented access to them. Gilliard succeeds in fleshing out the personalities of the ill-fated family who were devoted to each other, to God, and to Russia. He also highlights in vivid detail the impact of the Tsarevich Alexis’s hemophilia on him, his family, and most especially his distraught mother. Thanks to Gilliard, we come to understand the impact Rasputin had on the Tsarina and her hemophiliac son, whose illness was a closely guarded secret.

The Swiss-born Gilliard notes in his book that he was so “appalled” by the countless “absurdities and falsehoods” written about Nicholas II and his family that he was compelled to “rehabilitate…

By Pierre Gilliard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thirteen Years at the Russian Court as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In September 1905 Pierre Gilliard entered Tsar Nicholas II’s household as the French tutor of Duchesses Olga Nicolaievna and Tatiana Nicolaievna.

He would go on to spend a further thirteen years in the close company of the Romanov family.

Within that time he would be a witness to one of the most remarkable and tragic events of modern history as a close-knit family was torn apart and executed in the midst of the Revolution.

But this book is more than simply an eyewitness account of the Revolution.

As one of the books early reviews notes, Gilliard ‘had unusual opportunities of…


Book cover of Alexandra: The Last Tsarina

Mickey Mayhew Author Of Rasputin and his Russian Queen: The True Story of Grigory and Alexandra

From my list on Rasputin and his Russian queen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I can’t explain the fascination with Rasputin, but one hears the name so frequently via the Boney M pop song, so I took that as the inspiration - and the title - of my book. I saw a book about him in Waterstones one day and had to pick it up, even though it was so big it might’ve doubled as a doorstop. But from then I was hooked; I read everything I could, watched more, and researched until I actually went to Russia. And then I research some more!

Mickey's book list on Rasputin and his Russian queen

Mickey Mayhew Why did Mickey love this book?

This one read more like a novel than a historical work, which I what I went for - partially - when writing my own work on the subject.

Also, it’s one of the few books sympathetic to Alexandra and doesn’t descend to calling her ‘neurotic’, ‘hysterical’, or any other such slurs designed to denigrate women.

By Carolly Erickson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Taking advantage of material unavailable until the fall of the Soviet Union, this biography of Alexandra, the last tsarina, explores: her childhood bereavement; her long struggle to attain her romantic goal of marriage to Nicholas; the anguish of her pathological shyness; the struggles with her in-laws; a false pregnancy; her increasing eccentricities as she became more preoccupied with matters of faith; and her growing dependence on a series of occult mentors, the most notorious of whom was Rasputin.


Book cover of The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias

Julia P. Gelardi Author Of From Splendor to Revolution

From my list on the Romanovs and the Reign of Tsar Nicholas II.

Why am I passionate about this?

Julia P. Gelardi has obtained a Master’s degree in History and spent many years immersed in the world of European royal history. The author of numerous articles and seven books on European royalty, three of which have been published by St. Martin’s Press, Julia has done extensive research in various archives, including the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle. She continues to search the world for elusive books on royalty to add to her library and is always on the lookout for new topics to write about and share with her readers.

Julia's book list on the Romanovs and the Reign of Tsar Nicholas II

Julia P. Gelardi Why did Julia love this book?

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…

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


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