Nicholas & Alexandra
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Nicholas & Alexandra

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  13,862 ratings  ·  708 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 1967)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Nicholas & Alexandra, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Nicholas & Alexandra

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Chrissie
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...more
Matt
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...more
Jaclyn
Jun 25, 2008 Jaclyn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Parvathy
Sep 13, 2011 Parvathy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Emily
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...more
Anne Nikoline
Jul 26, 2012 Anne Nikoline rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the Romanovs
Recommended to Anne 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...more
Duffy Pratt
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...more
Dem

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...more
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
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...more
Cheri
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,...more
Michelle
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...more
Casey
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...more
Cheryl
Secrets...every family has them, but when you are the Czar of Russia, the consequences can bring down a 300 year old dynasty. Producing a male heir to the throne was mandatory for Nicholas and his beloved wife Alexandra, but only daughters were born to the couple. Finally Alexis was born in the first decade of the 20th century to fanfare, but he seemed cursed with the European royals disease of hemophilia. Unwilling to share this potentially disasterous secret, Alexandra sought her own medicine...more
Rob
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...more
Kristen
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
Jeff
"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
Lori
I read this for the first time when I was in the eighth grade and thus began my love of the Romanov story. I became consumed with this story, so much so that I turned this into the basis of a term research paper and did an impassioned oral report on the last days of Tsar Nicholas and his family, reading an excerpt from his book, that students and teachers alike for years remarked as memorable and enlightening. I was so taken with this story that now, decades later, I can still name every member...more
Erik Graff
Nov 28, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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
Laura
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
HuhWhat
Exquisitely well written, Massie didn't lose my attention for even a single moment throughout this 500+ page book.
Ryan Rindels
Nicholas Alexandra is a fascinating and insightful look into the final days of the Romanov Dynasty and Imperial Russia. For 300 years, Russia was an Orthodox Christian autocracy. Nicholas II took the throne as emperor of Russia when his father Alexander II died at a young age. Nicholas confessed his wasn't ready, but there was no recourse, he was supreme ruler of the vast empire: millions of square miles and 120 million subjects. Nicholas married the German princess Alix, a relative of Queen Vic...more
Tiffany
What a turbulant way to end a reign. The story of the last Tsar of Russia is a compelling one, in its grand setting of palaces, luxury, and Revolution. Characters such as the beautiful Tsarina, the sickly and beloved son, Alexis, and the mysterious and mesmerizing monk, Gregory Rasputin, who, it must be said, has the most dramatic death I have ever heard of, fill the pages with their being. This was a real family, and this was a real time and event. And it is truly a story worth reading. I read...more
M. D.  Hudson
Another great book by Massie – he is my favorite popular historian, I think. It’s massive, but I couldn’t put it down. Massie takes, I believe, what could be called a Great Man approach to history, and if a Great Man isn’t around, a Mediocre Man approach. Nicholas was mediocre as a ruler, but as Massie demonstrates, a truly devoted, loving family man. In fact the last Czar was a really nice guy all round and took his duties and responsibilities seriously. He loved his people, which is a good thi...more
Tamara
Fiction could not be more compelling than this tragic and haunting account of the last Tsar and Tsarista of Russia. Their love for each other was so beautiful! The book reprints actual letters written to each other, journal entries, etc. - and reading their own words is so authentic and moving. Alexandra writes to Nicholas a little note for him to find just after their engagement, "I dreamed that I was loved, I woke and found it true and thanked God on my knees for it. True love is the gift whic...more
Lynne
Dec 03, 2011 Lynne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs who also read novels
Recommended to Lynne by: my dad. Almost makes up for the Ayn Rand recs
Shelves: history
Many, many books have been published on this subject, but Massie took a different approach to the story. Himself the parent of a chronically-ill child, Massie knew what kind of upheaval a disease like hemophilia could cause in a family. Imagine you're Tsar of Russia and your only son and heir to the throne has this disease. There were no clotting-factor concentrates, nor was transfusion a possibility in the early 1900's. While it was known at the time that hemophiliacs didn't bleed to death from...more
Abigail Hartman
Massie writes like a novelist, bringing the era of World War I to life in this story of the last tsar of Russia. He tells the story of how Nicholas' love for his wife and her love for their only son, the hemophiliac Alexis, ruined the nation and destroyed the lives of many. Because of his hemophilia, Alexis was kept under careful surveillance at all times to avoid an accident, but it didn't always keep the accidents from happening. When the dirty, obscene, but extraordinarily powerful Gregory Ra...more
Darcy
I found this book to be very interesting. I liked learning more about these people and found them to be both very naive and down to earth.

Naive in that, so often the case with the very rich or royalty, they didn't relate well with those that are not on their social level. There were many examples where what the Tsar and his wife perceived was not what most of the rest of Russia thought. I also found it interesting at the end when they were little more than prisoners with the rebel soldiers arou...more
Brooke
I have always been really fascinated by the Romanov/Rasputin story. I first heard the real story in college, and it was like the professor was telling us the plot of a movie. Especially the parts about Rasputin. So that is the main reason I decided to tackle the 500+ nonfiction book at the Romanovs. And I am glad I did. I learned so much more about the Romanovs and the events surrounding their rule and death.

The author was very well researched and very thorough in the book. I felt like this actu...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the World ...: Chrissie recommends: Nicholas and Alexandra 1 17 Sep 04, 2011 11:36PM  
  • 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
  • From Splendor to Revolution: The Romanov Women, 1847--1928
  • The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg
  • Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power
  • The Court of the Last Tsar: Pomp, Power and Pageantry in the Reign of Nicholas II
  • Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last Tsar and Tsarina
  • Catherine the Great
  • Michael and Natasha: The Life and Love of Michael II, the Last of the Romanov Tsars
  • The Flight Of The Romanovs A Family Saga
  • Alexandra: The Last Tsarina
  • An Uncommon Woman - The Empress Frederick: Daughter of Queen Victoria, Wife of the Crown Prince of Prussia, Mother of Kaiser Wilhelm
  • The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russians
  • King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led The World To War
  • The Camera and the Tsars: The Romanov Family in Photographs
  • Queen Victoria: A Personal History
  • Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia
40882
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...more
More about Robert K. Massie...
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman Peter the Great: His Life and World The Romanovs: The Final Chapter Dreadnought Castles of Steel

Share This Book

“Gregory Rasputin, his bloodstream filled with poison, his body punctured by bullets, had died by drowning.” 5 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.” 5 likes
More quotes…