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Nicholas and Alexandra Paperback – Feb 1 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (Feb. 1 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345438310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345438317
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.3 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #73,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“A larger-than-life drama.”—Saturday Review

“A moving, rich book . . . [This] revealing, densely documented account of the last Romanovs focuses not on the great events . . . but on the royal family and their evil nemesis. . . . The tale is so bizarre, no melodrama is equal to it.”—Newsweek

“A wonderfully rich tapestry, the colors fresh and clear, every strand sewn in with a sure hand. Mr. Massie describes those strange and terrible years with sympathy and understanding. . . . They come vividly before our eyes.”—The New York Times
“An all-too-human picture . . . Both Nicholas and Alexandra with all their failings come truly alive, as does their almost storybook romance.”—Newsday
“A magnificent and intimate picture . . . Not only the main characters but a whole era become alive and comprehensible.”—Harper’s

From the Back Cover

More than a quarter of a century after it was first published in hardcover comes a never-before-issued trade paperback edition of the classic Nicholas and Alexandra. Featuring a new introduction by its Pulitzer Prize -- winning author, this powerful work sweeps us back to the extraordinary world of Imperial Russia to tell the story of the Romanovs' lives: Nicholas's political naivete, Alexandra's obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin, and little Alexis's brave struggle with hemophilia. Against a lavish backdrop of luxury and intrigue, Robert K. Massie unfolds a powerful drama of passion and history -- the story of a doomed empire and the death-marked royals who watched it crumble. . . .

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on June 25 2004
Format: Paperback
Why go for fiction when you can get a riveting true story like what happened to the Romanovs? The book starts with Nicholas' unexpected coronation as Tsar in 1894, and slowly but surely the story unfolds towards the gruesome end 25 years later. The saddening thing about this episode in history is that despite Rasputin, despite the heir Alexis with his hemophilia, despite the Empress' foilies, I left the book believing that the Tsar and his whole family got killed because he was just too kind and humble to make the tough decisions that Russia required during those turbulent times. If you consider Stalin, a cynic may argue that evil pays.
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Format: Paperback
First reccomended to me by a Professor of mine, Massie's work reveals all the intimate details and crucial historical story lines that even a novice of the Russian Revolutionary history would grasp to understand the life of the last Imperial Highnesses. From the infamous Bloody Sunday to the love letters that were exchanged between Nicholas and Alexandra the book was clearly exhaustively researched and also gives a touch of real emotion which is magnafied by the authors own personal experiences with the terrible disease of hemophelia. Grandoise as this story is it might well have been fiction, tragically it is not! As sad as the historical truths presented in the pages are, Massie writes words that flow and are easy to understand. I would reccomend this book for anyone looking for a story so incredible and emotionally raw that it had to be true or to anyone who wants to make some sense out of the mysticism of this part of intriging Russian history.
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Format: Paperback
Robert Massie can really write!

'Nicholas and Alexandra' is a thorough history. It has an impressive Bibliography with a lot of primary source material listed and the end notes meticulously cite the source references. One would usually expect such a book to be dry, dusty and dense but this one reads like a novel. Massie has a very easily fluid way of expressing himself and his prose is rich. Not only are his descriptions very visual, he is often able to communicate the atmosphere and tensions of the times and events. There is only one chapter where I found the writing got a bit slow and uninteresting (perhaps Massie didn't find this part of the story interesting himself), but I say that one out of thirty-four ain't bad.

My only quibble with the book is a minor one: frequently, Massie deals with one aspect of the history and then goes on to some other related topic. This necessitates a number of jumps back and forth in the chronology and, while it is not a bad way to tell the story, I found it threw me off ever so slightly at times and I had to go back to see what period was being discussed. It wasn't a major problem, at all, but maybe the jumps could have been a bit more deftly handled.

I found it interesting that Massie never yielded to temptation to speculate whether any of the supposed victims of the slaughter at the Ipatiev house actually survived and whether any of the claimants to being Anastasia or the Tsarevich were telling the truth. He flatly states that the entire party were killed on the spot and their bodies mostly destroyed before whatever was left was thrown down a mineshaft.
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Format: Paperback
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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