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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting re-consideration of Nicholas and Alexandra
This is a well-written review of the reign of Russia's last Tsar Nicholas and his wife Alexandra. Be aware of two things - if you want facts you're better off looking in an encyclopaedia than a history book (although there are plenty of facts in the book) and secondly this book was written in the late 60s so feels a little dated. Even for those of us who remember and...
Published 16 months ago by Katelon

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the purchase
I am (still) enjoying this book but confess it is becoming a little bit of a slog. A fascinating story but the immense detail that is gone in to it becoming a bit hard going. I will get to the end, it just may take some time!
Published 18 months ago by Andy Cutcher


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting re-consideration of Nicholas and Alexandra, 28 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Nicholas and Alexandra: The Tragic, Compelling Story of the Last Tsar and his Family (Kindle Edition)
This is a well-written review of the reign of Russia's last Tsar Nicholas and his wife Alexandra. Be aware of two things - if you want facts you're better off looking in an encyclopaedia than a history book (although there are plenty of facts in the book) and secondly this book was written in the late 60s so feels a little dated. Even for those of us who remember and experienced the Soviet Union at first hand, talk of Soviet era politics and mores feels like another universe. That is not to say that this is not a thoroughly researched book. (I am certainly not qualified to comment on the accuracy of any facts stated in the book.) However, this is a book with a very clear thesis about the reign of Nicholas and Alexandra and what, above all, went wrong. Massie's thesis is that Nicholas and Alexandra's troubles could to a large extent be traced to one source - the fact that their only son and heir suffered from haemophilia. Massie writes exceptionally perceptively and movingly about the Tsarevich's illness, how painful its symptoms were, the mother's agony at knowing that she had passed it on to her son (having inherited the faulty gene) and the difficulty of treating it and her desperation to try any treatment that might ease his suffering. I found the author's theory very compelling but I have not read enough about this era to know whether other historians of the period may have comprehensively rubbished the theory since the book was written. In any event, it is a compelling read based on thorough scholarship. Even if you profoundly disagree with Massie's sympathetic view of Nicholas and Alexandra you will not feel that you wasted your time reading it.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars totally engrossing, 2 April 2013
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This review is from: Nicholas and Alexandra: The Tragic, Compelling Story of the Last Tsar and his Family (Kindle Edition)
Like the previous reviewer I bought this for 99p and have yet to finish it but so far I am totally engrossed in the story.

It is so well and clearly written and each character so well described that you can understand how chains of events happened. I knew how closely all the royal families were related but didn't realise how close they were also. Or how differently history could have gone. For example the whole family (meaning queen Victoria's) had wanted Alexandra to marry George V's older brother who died. You can only think 'what if ....'

Tsar Nicholas appears to have been a good man, thrust into this terrifyingly powerful position at a young age with no experience due to the early death of his father. In awe and under the influence of his powerful and strong minded uncles, he made mistakes right from the outset of his reign. The fact that his mother and wife did not like each other didn't help matters.

I would say the chapters are fairly long and this is not the type of book you can easily dip in and out of, that's why as I work at a school I've saved it for the Easter holidays.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating history lesson., 22 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Nicholas and Alexandra: The Tragic, Compelling Story of the Last Tsar and his Family (Kindle Edition)
I found this book compelling, fascinating and so sad. The whole story kept me enthralled even though I knew there could only be one outcome. This was a history lesson full of so much information made so interesting that it has awakened my need to find out more about our monarchy, and how it was intertwined with so many other parts of the world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read, 11 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Nicholas and Alexandra: The Tragic, Compelling Story of the Last Tsar and his Family (Kindle Edition)
A book i could not put down, well worth reading ,you will find yourself totally engrossed in the world of the Last Czar and his family.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The last Tsar, 19 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Nicholas and Alexandra: The Tragic, Compelling Story of the Last Tsar and his Family (Kindle Edition)
I am still reading this book - it's immensely interesting and you begin to see why the different royal families during the beginning of the 20th Century were quite heavily to blame for the appalling loss of life in the first world war. The Tsarina, infact, seemed to be in need of help for her mental problems. Still, a fascinating read.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have had trouble putting it down!, 31 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Nicholas and Alexandra: The Tragic, Compelling Story of the Last Tsar and his Family (Kindle Edition)
Was not sure if I was going to enjoy reading this but as only 99p when I bought it I thought in for a penny etc. I haven't finished it yet but so far I have found it really interesting finding out more about what happened at that time in history. It has been fascinating seeing how if things had been done differently the whole revolution might not have happened in exactly the way it did. What a shame Nicholas went along with so many things when he could have done it all so differently. Whilst I don't feel sorry for him I do think this book portrays him in a more human light than he perhaps has been, not so sure Alexandra comes out quite so well though (in my opinion).
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5.0 out of 5 stars A touching look at the last tzar of Russia, 5 Oct. 2014
This is an absolutely engrossing account of the story of Tzar Nicholas II and his family. The story begins with Nicholas, his early years, his eventual marriage to Alexandra of Hesse und bei Rhein (although here she is referred to as Alexandra of Hesse-Darmstadt); and covers their life together and the triumphs and failures of his reign as the last tzar of all the Russias. The author's main thesis is that the downfall of the Romanov dynasty was the result of the haemophilia inherited by their son and heir, Alexis. After having produced four daughters and obviously not wanting to alarm the country that the heir to the Russian throne might not live long enough to actually reign, the tzar and his family chose to close themselves off from the public and remain intensely private. Unfortunately this did not help their popularity at a time when the country was turning against them. Plus, because of the incredible pain of watching her son suffer, Alexandra turned to the mysterious Rasputin for help. Her reliance on him, a shady and immoral character, and his over-involvement in government turned the people further against them and their downfall became inevitable, as they could not explain Rasputin's presense for fear of acknowledging Alexis's haemophilia. Whether Rasputin really was the reason for the end of the dynasty, as Massie suggests, or just the catalyst remains to be discussed, but the story is still a fascinating one. The descriptions of life in Imperial Russia are beautiful and the tender story of the family's personal life is touching, but like many of the reviewers I found that the author has a particular soft-spot for the Tsar and therefore explains away many of his (and his wife's) very real mistakes. But the account of the last Tzar is so interesting for many reasons, not least of which is their tragic and horrifying end. This is a great book to begin a study of Russian history and I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended without reservation, 17 May 2014
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This review is from: Nicholas and Alexandra: The Tragic, Compelling Story of the Last Tsar and his Family (Kindle Edition)
For me, this remains the best account of the life of Tsar Nicholas and the fall of the Romanov dynasty. The book is both highly informative and very readable. Facts are mixed expertly into a gripping narrative. Also, the book is very well structured to make a complex political situation easy to understand. While remaining factual, the reader is offered what feels like a personal encounter with the Tsar and his family. Recommended without reservation.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the purchase, 20 July 2013
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This review is from: Nicholas and Alexandra: The Tragic, Compelling Story of the Last Tsar and his Family (Kindle Edition)
I am (still) enjoying this book but confess it is becoming a little bit of a slog. A fascinating story but the immense detail that is gone in to it becoming a bit hard going. I will get to the end, it just may take some time!
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2.0 out of 5 stars More of a romantic novel, 16 July 2014
This review is from: Nicholas and Alexandra: The Tragic, Compelling Story of the Last Tsar and his Family (Kindle Edition)
It's okay read but if you want a thoroughly researched book into the revolution and the characters in it I would look elsewhere. There is 75% of conjecture and opinion and sometimes the author slips into a mills and boon romantic type novel with lots of descriptive mush that cannot be verified/accounted for. The book is not particularly balanced and is at odds with other historians when it comes to the personality and intelligence of the tsar. The way the author deals with the tragic last days of the tsar and his family and the inhumane way in which they were dealt with is probably the most incisive part of the book............. Readable but thats about it.
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