Nicholas and Alexandra - Robert K. Massie NO SPOILERS!!!

On completion: I very highly recommend this book to those interested in Nicholas and Alexandra Romanov, to anyone interested in Russian history, to those interested in the beginning of Bolshevism in Russia and also to those who enjoy historical biographies written by talented authors. Massie can write. He knows his subject, in and out, backward and forward. There are detailed notes to every chapter. You never have to doubt the accuracy of that which you are reading. He analyzes all the possibilities. Moreover, he does all this without ever boring the reader. I feel I truly understand who Nicholas, Alexandra and Alexis were as people. I come away with an understand of who these individuals really were. No other books I have read has ever done this to wonderfully. The book included photos and a family tree.

You do have to be awake to read the book :0). At one point there I was getting kind of tired..... Beyond praising the book, I praise the author. Massie has written a book on Peter the Great, [b:Peter the Great: His Life and World|130363|Peter the Great|Robert K. Massie||2731382], and it is said he will come out with a book on Catherine the Great in November, [b:Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman|10414941|Catherine the Great Portrait of a Woman|Robert K. Massie||15319151]. I want to read both very, very much. I find none of them available in Kindle, which is quite a disappointment......but I haven't given up searching.

If you like crime novel, read this instead! This is the real thing.

Oh, one more thing, you must read this book to learn about Rasputin and hemophilia! And if there is a moral to the book, it is tell people what is going on. If you don't, others will dream up a bunch of incorrect explanations.

Through page 358: This book gives an engaging and very clear description of the time period leading up to WW1. The author explains in both in broad terms and then with interesting details. I must say very clearly that this book is detailed, and it is a book of history. There are sections where I am fatigued by military strategies and battles. To say this doesn't happen would be untrue. Or maybe I am just plain tired and should go to bed.....

Through page 161: The research is thorough and impeccable. There are tons of details, but never do I feel swamped. I believe some sections will appeal to one reader and others to another. None is boring. I was less drawn to the detailed analysis of the 1905 Revolution, but then the next chapter switched to life at Tsarskoe Selo, and I was enchanted. The Catherine and Alexander Palaces situated on the grounds, although diametrically different, are both beautifully described. Then the text goes on to describe the minute characteristics of the five children and Alexandra. You cannot leave this chapter without feeling immersed into each one's personal traits. All is documented and accurately portrayed. And terribly interesting.

Through Part One, page 114: The book details the political alliances and military occurrences taking place at the beginning of the 20th century. To enjoy this book you must be interested in history. The Russian war against Japan, the French, English and German alliances, Kaiser William II's maneuvering all of this is discussed.

Throgh: page 77: If you are curious about the last Tsar of Russia, read this book. It will not disappoint. You are given a thorough understanding of what shaped Nicholas and Alexandra. Childhood experiences are always life-determining, and here they are laid out in a clear and interesting manner. You understand why Alexandra is shy, why she feels a kinship with the Russian people, the serfs freed by Alexander II, rather than the elite. You come to understand why, in turn, she was not welcomed by the Russian elite, at least not now in the beginning, immediately after her marriage with Nicholas. You come to understand the tension that arose between her and the Empress Dowager. Alexandra's German mother died when she was six. She was primarily raised by her grandmother, Queen Victoria. She and Nicholas were married only one week after the funeral of Nicholas' father. His death was unexpected. He was only 49! She was forced to convert to the Russian Orthodox Church from the Lutheran faith, a prerequisite for the marriage. She was totally unprepared for what lay before her. And the same was true for Nicholas. It was a marriage of love, they chose each other, and they got their way. Of course there were several important leaders that approved!

Not only do we learn about Nicholas and Alexandra in a fascinating manner, but also other individuals. We learn of Lenin's (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov's)youth.

He was an excellent student in school, and when the other Ulyanov children brought their marks home and solemnly reported them to their parents, Volodya (as he was called at home) simply burst through the door and up the stairs, shouting "Excellent in everything!"(page 76)

His mother, Maria Blank, was a Volga German. Enough! If you find this fascinating I recommend the book to you.


Having just begun the book, I am blown over by the author's way with words. Wow, can [a:Robert Massie|40882|Robert K. Massie|] describe landscapes so you can see them, sparkle or huddle in the cold. I am not going to tell you what the book is about. For that you can read the book description. Here follows a quote so you can taste the writing:

Despite the Mediterranean style, St. Petersburg was a northern city where the Arctic latitudes played odd tricks with light and time. Winter nights began early in the afternoon and lasted until the middle of the following morning. Icy winds and whistling snowstorms swept across the flat plain surrounding the city to lash the walls and the windows of the Renaissance palaces and freeze the Neva hard as steel. Over the baroque spires and the frozen canals danced the strange fires of the aurora borealis. Occasionally a brilliant day would break the gloomy monotony. The sky would turn a crystal blue and the snowflakes on the trees, rooftops and gilded domes would sparkle with sunlight so bright that the eye could not bear the dazzling glare. Winter was a great leveler. Tsar, priest and factory worker all layered themselves in clothing and upon coming in from the street, headed straight to the bubbling samovar for a glass of hot tea. (page 7)

Don't you want to be there and breathe in the cold crisp air? Doesn't the teas scorch your throat? For me, how a book is written is much more important than the plot line! This is beautiful writing, and the author wonderfully blends in history so you do not even know you are learning! I like this book