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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching and Romantic
Massie's account of the last Tsar and Tsarina's private life will probably never be bettered - yet as a political account it is lacklustre. I came to this book when I was 9 and I loved it, still do, but it shouldn't be read as the definitive political study on the closing years of the Russian monarchy ( I would point you in the direction of Sir Bernard Pares' 'Fall of the...
Published on 20 Feb 2003

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to her normal standards
I've read lots of Jude Deveraux's books and have always enjoyed them. I was really looking forward to reading this one, however I was sorely disapointed. I sometimes felt that she couldnt decide what period to set the story in. I couldnt believe that the heroine (who was dedicated to womans rights), gave in so easily to her stepfathers demands. Once the heroine...
Published on 19 Sep 2001


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching and Romantic, 20 Feb 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Nicholas and Alexandra (Paperback)
Massie's account of the last Tsar and Tsarina's private life will probably never be bettered - yet as a political account it is lacklustre. I came to this book when I was 9 and I loved it, still do, but it shouldn't be read as the definitive political study on the closing years of the Russian monarchy ( I would point you in the direction of Sir Bernard Pares' 'Fall of the Russian Monarchy' or Khrustalev and Steinberg's 'Fall of the Romanovs.') But it is a touching and highly readable book which does infinite justice to the last reigning family in Russia, to date. Despite being a tad uncritical of emigre accounts, Massie has written a true masterpiece of historical nonfiction and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in Russian history.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History doesn't get much better than this!, 8 April 1998
By A Customer
Most book lovers have a little list of super-favorites that they turn to year after year, and this classic by Robert Massie has been on my list for more than two decades. Massie brings the last years of the Russian Imperial court to astounding life, turning meticulously researched detail into a tapestry more compelling than fiction. You feel you've been there and met the Romanovs and the people around them, walked their halls, ridden in their trains, even faced their final terrors. Its as good as stepping into a time machine. How many times have I looked up from this paperback (I've gone through several copies over the years) and found that I've lost track of time. Recently, several lavishly illustrated books have come out with long-hidden photos of what NICHOLAS & ALEXANDRA describes -- gorgeous though those photo books are, they do not give you as powerful a sense of time and place as Massie's exceptionally readable prose. Details of Russian history, which could be ponderous for most readers, become lively and engrossing here. I love history, and no book in the genre pulls me back as often (or with as much satisfaction) as Massie's NICHOLAS & ALEXANDRA.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent biography that kept me gripped until the end., 7 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Nicholas & Alexandra (Paperback)
Robert Massie has written an excellent historical biography, as I knew very little about the events that led up to the Tsar's death. But the book was made up of interesting historical reading without getting boring or monotonous. Through reading this it has led me onto other Russian ruler's biographies and Russian history books.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Boy Behind the Throne, 8 Oct 2002
This review is from: Nicholas & Alexandra (Paperback)
This is a sensitive narration of the life and death of Russia's last Tsar and his tragic familly. Massie writes clearly and eloquently and succeeds in bringing his characters to life and developing a genuine empathy with them.
Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra emerge as rather sad and pathetic characters, pathologicaly out of touch with reality and hopelessly unqualified for their inherited role. Massie's fascinating thesis is that the Russian revolution may have been brought about by a haemophilia gene passed along from queen Victoria. That is probably an extremely romanticised view of history that would exhonerate Nicholas too much. A more likely truth is that the tragic end of Tsarist Holy Russia was an accident waiting to happen. Here was a flawed system built on fragile people. That fragility more than anything else is what comes across from reading these pages.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight, 16 Feb 2012
By 
Mrs. TK Ellis "Bookworm" (High Wycombe, Bucks) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nicholas & Alexandra (Paperback)
Robert K Massie's book about Nicholas and Alexandra is a very good read. The research seems to be well done, and accords with other accounts I have read. The narrative is beautifully constructed and it flows nicely. The author builds up a coherent picture of the life and times of the last Tsar, and starts this with a short but interesting precis of the reign of Alexander III, Nicholas' father. As expected of a biography, it goes through the life of Nicholas and Alexandra and the children, but also to a lesser degree, those closest to the royal family which helps to build up a picture of the Romanov world.

I learned an incredible amount from reading this book and found myself shuddering with horror at many of the decisions made by both the Tsar and the Empress, but I suppose that is benefit of hindsight and knowing how the decisions would affect the royal future.

If I had one criticism of this book it would be that the author is too sympathetic to the Romanovs. Both the Tsar and Empress made some appalling decisions, which even without the benefit of hindsight should have been obvious to them both, yet this seems to be brushed over. The decisions are made and the author appears to go to great lengths to excuse such decisions. This behaviour is particularly obvious during the Great War when Nicholas was at Stavka and Alexandra was in St Petersburg making the decisions, with the advice of Rasputin dripping in her ear. This approach always makes me uncomfortable when reading a biography as I understand the need for the author to understand, and even like or admire his subject, but to become an apologist for them is one step beyond.

However, this book is well written, a delight to read and well worth investing in. I would recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Temptation - a review, 6 Dec 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Temptation (Paperback)
I must admit to having read the two star review given to Temperence and disagreeing. This was, indeed, my first novel by this author, but I have to admit to finding it delightful. I was up at 3 o'clock this morning giggling merrily as the gruff Scottish hero threw a rather annoying and empty headed maiden out a window! Perhaps, some moments are a little unbelievable and yes, I do think the ending slightly let the rest of the novel down, but I delighted in the way the hero and heroine of the piece learnt about their own humanity and failings and realised the folly of their ways. I enjoyed the fact that they could find in each other the means with which to cast aside their pride and dignity and find love. I will be looking with delight for more works by the same author, for sure.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SECOND TIME I'VE BOUGHT AND READ IT..., 16 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Nicholas & Alexandra (Paperback)
...the first being way back in the 1960's. It is quite rare actually to find a book which is not only so well researched and written, but SUPER engrossing - even Suspenseful (though we know the general story)!! There are so many interesting details, plots and sub-plots it makes ones head spin. And has there ever been any real character like Rasputin?! In my first read back in summer of 1969 I started early one evening and read through entire night into the next morning - did the same next evening until I finished. This is on my personal 'Top 10' list of all-time favorite reads...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imperial Twilight, 30 April 2010
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This review is from: Nicholas & Alexandra (Paperback)
Massie's book is an enchanting evocation of a lost world. He writes beautifully: 'From the Baltic city of St. Petersburg, built on a river marsh in a far northern corner of the empire, the Tsar ruled Russia'and he clearly has great affection and sympathy with the Imperial couple and their children. What is entirely missing of course is any sense that Imperial Russia was a thoroughly rotten state with social injustice on an epic scale. It deserved to fall but what a tragedy for the Russian people that it was replaced by something much, much worse. In fairness to Massie however that was not the purpose of his book. In telling the story of the last Tsar and his family he has succeeded so wonderfully that it is difficult to imagine it ever being bettered.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine record of history, 2 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Nicholas & Alexandra (Paperback)
Avert readable and sadly enjoyable book which makes crystalclearhow the whole world can be changed by one man a nd one boy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and tragic, history brought to life..., 25 May 2012
By 
C. Ball (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nicholas & Alexandra (Paperback)
This is one of those books that I have been meaning to read for what feels like forever, and now I finally have I wish I'd read it earlier. Massie is one of those authors who makes history not feel like history - he really brings it to life and makes it feel real and immediate. Reading this book, I really felt like I was reading about people, real flesh and blood people with thoughts and feelings and dreams. Too often history reduces people to 'historical figures', cyphers for the great events surrounding them.

And I liked these people, especially Nicholas. He definitely seems like one of those figures from history for whom inheriting a crown was possibly the worst thing for him. He reminds me of King Stephen in a lot of ways - he lost so much when he won the crown. Nicholas comes across as such a good kind man - a loving husband, a wonderful father, a man who truly and deeply loved hisw country and wanted the best for her. But he was not a good Tsar, he was not a good leader. I found myself reading this book with increasing dread, knowing what was coming and wanting it to be different, for his sake.

What I found most fascinating about this book is how history can come down to the smallest of things. 'For the want of a nail', and all that. That one small boy's suffering and misfortune could shape the fate of the world... With Alexis' haemophilia there would have been no Rasputin; without his influence Alexandra would not have interfered in government so much; there would have been more stability, and the hatred that deflected from her to the rest of the family wouldn't have been so vicious and corrosive; had Nicholas not felt he needed to fight for his son's inheritance because his son was too weak to do it himself, Russia might have drifted naturally from autocracy to the kind of constitutional monarchy that England had. Had the monarchy not fallen there would have been no Revolution, no Bolsheviks, no Lenin and Stalin, no Soviet Union - and who knows what the world would have been then?
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Nicholas & Alexandra
Nicholas & Alexandra by Robert K Massie (Paperback - 14 Dec 2000)
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