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Nicholas & Alexandra

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  18,699 Ratings  ·  912 Reviews
History offers few eras richer in drama than the last years of imperial Russia. Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Empress Alexandra, presided over a glittering world of huge palaces, lavish balls, and incomparable luxury. Then their cherished son Alexis was born. His hemophilia led to their tragic entanglement with the bizarre Siberian mystic Rasputin and eventually to the di ...more
Library Binding, 613 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by Turtleback Books (first published January 1st 1967)
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Monica Schulte It is non-fiction but it reads easily. The style is very conversational, with family anecdotes as well as background on the political and social…moreIt is non-fiction but it reads easily. The style is very conversational, with family anecdotes as well as background on the political and social situation both in Russia and in Europe. (less)
Rebecca Probably for his own studies and passion for history as well as educating others.

Community Reviews

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Jun 19, 2013 Chrissie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A monarchy falls. A revolution begins. A civil war is fought. A wall is built. A couple million die in gulags. And all because two people fell in love.

The couple is, as the title might lead you to speculate, Nicholas and Alexandra. The last of the Romanovs.

Tsar Nicholas II was a resoundingly mediocre man. He did not have the capacity for greatness, which he showed time and again. He led Russia from a great power into revolution, a long slide that saw the distrous Russo-Sino War, anti-semitic p
Aug 18, 2015 Dem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Nicholas & Alexandra is the tragic and compelling story of the last Tsar and his family by Robert K. Massie, this book was first published in 1968 and is an amazing and historically accurate account of the fall of the Romanovs and the collapse of Imperial Russia but is also The story of Nicholas a husband and father and a family who dealt with a child suffering from haemophilia.

The focus of this book is on the family but with an engrossing account of one of the century's most dramatic event
A sweeping, tragic, impossibly romantic family saga; this is history so compulsively readable that I finished it in a single weekend. I knew, of course, how the story ends but I found myself caring so much that I longed to see history re-written. I found myself wishing, hoping against hope, that it would not end that way.

Theirs was a true love-match though it seemed an unlikely one to Russian high society which judged the young Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstead as “badly dressed, an awkward dance
Jun 25, 2008 Jaclyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Russophiles and history enthusiasts
Reading "Nicholas and Alexandra" was like watching a train wreck in progress... you knew where it was going, you knew how it had to end, yet you continued to stare, fascinated and horrified, hoping against hope that things might turn out differently, but of course they didn't. Massie's account is decidedly sympathetic to the Tsar and Tsaritsa, but their memories have been so dragged through the mud of history that I think it's only fair that they should have someone come down so emphatically on ...more
Here are some things I knew about the Romanovs before reading Nicholas and Alexandra:

-Their rule ended because of the Russian Revolution, which did not go particularly well for them (or for anyone, really).

-Alexis was a hemophiliac.

-Rasputin was somehow involved, and he was also a bearded super-creeper.

-The 1997 animated film is, sadly, not an accurate portrayal of the fate of Anastasia Romanova.

Which is to say that I learned quite a lot from this book.

My history classes had an overly-simplistic
Mar 21, 2016 Jorge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinante libro biográfico sobre la vida, el entorno político, social y emotivo del último Zar de Rusia, Nicolás II y de su familia. La pluma del autor Robert K. Massie, historiador norteamericano, se muestra sumamente fina, amena e ilustrativa en esta por demás épica y a la vez terrible historia, en donde el destino dejó caer toda su fuerza tanto sobre Rusia como sobre la familia imperial.

El libro resulta además de placentero e interesante, bastante conmovedor, debido a las tragedias que aquí
Sep 13, 2011 Parvathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History Lovers, Truth Seekers
Recommended to Parvathy by: My Mother
"After all, the nursery was the center of all Russia's Trouble" this quote by Sir Bernard Pares was the line that caught my attention when I decided to go through this 1967 biography of the last royal family of Russia by historian Robert K. Massie. Being not much of a fan of non fiction literature I was a little reluctant when my mother recommended this book to me and told me that this book was one of a kind. But all my reservations was removed the moment I came across this line. What part does ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I was named after Nicholas and Alexandra's daughter Tatiana; my mother is kind of romantically inclined like that. My name was almost Yolanda or Sabrina, so I guess I should count myself lucky. Anyway, this book is one of the things that inspired my mom, and so I really do need to read it sometime. But in the meantime, I highly recommend that you read my friend Hana's review. She's brilliant and writes great reviews and inspires me to read more nonfiction.

Hana, you're Goodreads famous!

Nov 13, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily by: Liz
This was a really fascinating portrait of the last Romanov couple. Nicholas and Alexandra's lives are presented in exhaustive detail - from their first meeting to the months before their execution - and Massie succeeds in both humanizing them and absolving them of some of the blame for the collapse of the autocracy.

Nicholas, Alexandra, and their son Alexis get distinct personalities, but the four Romanov daughers tend to blend together. It's partially because so much time is devoted to Alexis's
Apr 09, 2012 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Massie is a talented writer, and it was easy to be drawn into the world he evokes in this polished dual biography. We feel for the peculiar upbringings of children in homes where czars and dukes struggle to raise normal families in the rarified air of late 19th century European aristocracy. The complex political and dynastic problems of the era are deftly drawn. And we feel close to the doomed and awkward couple at the center of the maelstrom.

However, in his efforts to present a corrective to hi
Erik Graff
Nov 28, 2012 Erik Graff rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
Just starting college and thinking of a history degree with a specialization in Russian history, I picked up Massie's biography of the last of the Romanovs with some interest. Except for learning something about hemophilia and some dirt about Rasputin, I was very disappointed. The book might be enjoyed by someone entranced with the lives of "royals" and not concerned about those last aristocrats who actually exercised state power by virtue of birth. Knowing much of anything about Russian history ...more
Aug 21, 2010 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting account of the lives of Nicholas and Alexandra - a little too sexist at times, it was written in the late 60's - and it seemed a bit too re-hashed to me. If you know hardly anything about their lives and infamous death, this would be a great choice. If, however, you do know the basics, this might be a bit too much drawn-out information to keep your attention rapt. 3.5 stars
Jul 26, 2015 Nikoline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the Romanovs
Recommended to Nikoline by: my fascination
I have been looking at this "what did you think?" box for quite some time now, and I am still not sure exactly what I thought of Nicholas And Alexandra by Robert K. Massie. I think it might have been one of best best reads I have experienced for a very long time. I usually do not do well with non-fiction which this novel is, however, Robert K. Massie must be a wizard of something supernatural because he somehow managed to make this non-fiction and historical event fiction like; the novel contain ...more
Moon Rose
The last years of Tsarism in Russia were tumultuous plagued by the venom of deceit and the stench of malicious intrigue as events surrounding it appeared like a well thought conspiracy between destiny and circumstances, cementing the course of its tragic path towards an impending doom...and at the heart of this with the bickering mob it created, was the gentlest figure of Nicholas II.

The tame and kind Nicholas II became the tragic figurehead, whose death can be attributed as becoming of a sacrif
Duffy Pratt
Apr 16, 2012 Duffy Pratt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Massie takes a deep look at the family life of Nicholas II, and the book retains this focus throughout. It's not surprising, then, that he finds the causes of the collapse of the Romanovs in that family life. He writes well, portrays his characters well, and I almost buy his central idea: that the autocracy fell primarily because of Nicholas' softness and weakness, combined with the perverse results that came from Alexandra's care for her only son's hemophilia.

Maybe a bigger bastard as Tsar cou
Elizabeth May
Apr 15, 2016 Elizabeth May rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gb-research
JESUS CHRIST this book. I knew how the Romanovs died, so I basically read this like, "Wow this entire reign is like a series of dumpster fires and it's only going to get worse." During WWI it's like a train wreck in slow motion. Mr May would be like, "Why are you looking at your Kindle like that?" and all I could do was incoherently cuss because I was so distraught and emotional.

Recommended for Massie's amazing writing and attention to detail and for anyone interested in Russian history and the
Dec 14, 2014 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Epic story of the last Tsar of Russia....NONFICTION, but reads like a worth it if you have any interest in Russian history. The movie based on the book is quite good too.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
The title signals this is a dual biography. Yes, one set against the backdrop of the last decades of Imperial Russia and the Russian Revolution, but more intimate portrait of a couple than a book that deals with impersonal historical forces, though I think it gives enough of the context to make the destruction of the dynasty understandable. In the introduction Massie quoted Kerensky, the last Russian Prime Minister before the Bolsheviks took over, as saying, "Without Rasputin, there could have b ...more
Linda Lipko
May 09, 2012 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-history
I read many books regarding Russia. I'm fascinated by this incredible country. Published in 1967, Nicolas and Alexandra by Robert Massie seems to be the definitive book by which others are measured regarding this subject.

Massie is an incredible writer. His images are crisp and clear. The reader can feel the icy cold winds of Siberia, can almost taste the delicacies served at the grand balls held in the Winter Palace and can also have a sense of silently watching the Royal family in their daily l
Nov 02, 2013 Cheri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A compelling and broad education, this book does for its title characters what Wild Swans did for Mao's China. From the first pages, I loved both Nicholas and Alexandra. Massie's richly researched details made the people and their world real for me.

Knowing the outcome, I was surprised by the overwhelming humanity and goodness I found throughout, within the family and among those who knew them. The family always found time together, pursuing their studies, reading aloud together, hiking, working,
Jul 01, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decided to give this a read before Catherine the Great to get a feel of Massie's style.

OMG, you guys, I love Robert K. Massie. He's my new favorite author. You all know I love a good non-fiction, and that's what this is. Packed full of details, well-thought out, paced well, revealing to me never-thought-of consequences of political moves that changed the world. For example, I finally get World War I now. Do you know how many history classes I've taken where the teacher just says, "So Archduke F
Amazing story which reads like fiction and is hard to put down.
Fascinating tale brilliantly told.
Never realized how poorly informed I was before about Russian history - always thought that the Russian Revolution was an inevitable response to oppression of the poor but now see that it was a result of a series of coincidences which no-one could have foreseen when Nicholas became tsar. If this was a novel the character of Rasputin would seem pretty unbelievable, but sadly it all really happened.
Mar 16, 2016 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
NICHOLAS & ALEXANDRA. (1967). Robert K. Massie. *****.
I was at a book sale and came across a reprint of this book in a Folio Society edition at a reasonable price. I snapped it up. I had not read this since it was first published in 1967. About all I could really remember was how good a history/biography it was, and how lucid it made the events in Russia that occurred at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. At the core of the book is the story of Tsar Nicholas II and the
Sotiris Karaiskos
Oct 19, 2016 Sotiris Karaiskos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
Διαβάζοντας τις άλλες δύο βιογραφίες του Robert K. Massie, αυτή για τον Πέτρο τον μέγα και την Αικατερίνη τη μεγάλη, τις βρήκα ιδιαίτερα συναρπαστικές και ενδιαφέρουσες. Αυτή εδώ όμως έχει κάποια προβλήματα και το μεγαλύτερο είναι ότι το αντικείμενο της - ο Νικόλαος ο δεύτερος - δεν μπορεί να θεωρηθεί ιδιαίτερα συναρπαστική προσωπικότητα, ειδικά συγκρινόμενος με τις μεγάλες μορφές που ανέφερα. Αν η ιστορία εξελισσόταν διαφορετικά το πιθανότερο είναι ότι ελάχιστα θα μας ενδιέφερε η ιστορία του. Η ...more
C.S. Burrough
Oct 17, 2014 C.S. Burrough rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five decades after its publication, this book still glows of those hallmarks that would later earn American author and historian Robert K. Massie a Pulitzer Prize. His interest in this last handful of ruling Romanovs was triggered by his son having haemophilia, as had Tsar Nicholas II's son, Tsarevich Alexei. The author's love of his subject sparkles from start to finish.

Massie's immaculate detail and empathic biographical style is on a par with that of the great Lady Antonia Fraser, who not unt
Mar 23, 2016 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember checking this book out of the library when I was 12 or 13, but I think I gave up on it pretty quickly that time. Now, with a better grasp of world events, I devoured this in-depth look at the lives of the last Tsar and Empress of Russia. Nicholas II was, apparently, a decent fellow who actually accomplished some good in difficult situations. But, because his son and heir suffered from hemophilia, Alexandra turned to a sexually voracious "holy" man, Rasputin, and led her husband to re ...more
Sep 25, 2009 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Embarrassingly enough this book took me almost two months to read. In my defense it is over 500 pages of small print. Despite the fact that it is not a page turner, I just couldn’t bring myself to put it down. The author truly brought this royal family to life for me. It was so interesting to read about their weaknesses and human qualities that made Nicholas and Alexandra so endearing. Nicholas was such a family man who, when he was forced to abdicate the throne, decided not to make his sickly s ...more
Feb 23, 2009 Eyebright rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: school-books, 2009
This book was incredible. I learned so much that I never knew before about the last Czar and his family, the events leading up to the Revolution, and the Russian Revolution itself. I had no idea that so much politics were involved, although it should have been obvious. Rasputin was much more of an influence then I ever imagined. He was also much more disgusting than I ever imagined, and if you are going to read this book, I would be careful when reading the parts about Rasputin.

This book shows t
Aug 12, 2011 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Nicholas and Alexandra", Robert K. Massie, 1967. An incredible piece of writing. -A love story, a war story. Political, psychological, historical, a book of intimate details and of sweeping, world changing events. In subtle ways, Robert K. Massie points to the endless, seemingly irrelevant events of fate. -events that snow ball, gather tremendous velocity and then forever alter the lives of millions. Robert K. Massie's own life parallels a similar course. Massie's interest in Russian history be ...more
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  • Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra
  • The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II
  • A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story
  • Alexandra: The Last Tsarina
  • Michael and Natasha: The Life and Love of Michael II, the Last of the Romanov Tsars
  • From Splendor to Revolution: The Romanov Women, 1847--1928
  • Catherine the Great
  • The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg
  • The Last Empress: The Life and Times of Alexandra Feodorovna, Tsarina of Russia
  • George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I
  • The Camera and the Tsars: The Romanov Family in Photographs
  • The Romanov Family Album
  • The Flight Of The Romanovs: A Family Saga
  • Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power
  • Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia
  • King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led The World To War
  • Anastasia's Album
  • Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last Tsar and Tsarina
Robert Kinloch Massie (born 1929) is an American historian, writer, winner of a Pulitzer Prize, and a Rhodes Scholar.

Born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1929, Massie spent much of his youth in Nashville, Tennessee and currently resides in Westchester County, New York in the village of Irvington. He studied American history at Yale University and modern European history at Oxford University on his Rhode
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“Peter, who broke his enemies on the rack and hanged them in Red Square, who had his son tortured to death, is Peter the Great. But Nicholas, whose hand was lighter than that of any tsar before him, is "Bloody Nicholas". In human terms, this is irony rich and dramatic, the more so because Nicholas knew what he was called.” 9 likes
“It is one of the supreme ironies of history that the blessed birth of an only son should have proved the mortal blow. Even as the saluting cannons boomed and the flags waved, Fate had prepared a terrible story. Along with the lost battles and sunken ships, the bombs, the revolutionaries and their plots, the strikes and revolts, Imperial Russia was toppled by a tiny defect in the body of a little boy.” 9 likes
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