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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