Michelle's Reviews > Nicholas and Alexandra

Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie
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's review
Jul 01, 2012

really liked it
Read in June, 2012

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 Franz Ferdinand was assassinated and that kicked off WWI," and you vaguely think, What? Some guy (not even the top guy) from Austria (not even the most major European country, no offense, Austria) gets assassinated and we have a world war on our hands? But whatever, you accept this because why get into the details? Well, Massie takes you into the details and you feel like, Ahhhh, I get it. It's a pissing match between bigger countries, like Russia and Germany. Even though "Willy" and "Nicky" are super tight!

Some things to watch out for--the book's title and description makes you think Nicholas and Alexandra's love is the major theme here. I wouldn't say that. It starts out like that, and is super interesting! But the major theme is: Alexandra is in way over her head and her pride and stupidity ruined everything, and Nicholas is too much of a dear to sort it all out. Which maybe you would call that love. I just felt like it was stupidity all around. The love that really comes across is the love for their family. As annoying as Alexandra was, and as shortsighted as Nicholas was, they're all about their kids, and the ending of the book is heartbreaking. Escape, Romanovs, escape! Oh, no...you were murdered in the most terrible way. And other members of your family too! I didn't know that :( Whatever beef the Russian people had with the royal family, Massie's book really shows them to you as people, which is the most powerful thing about Nicholas and Alexandra. Bravo, Massie.
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message 1: by aya (new)

aya oooh, maybe i will read this! i'm reading The First World War by John Keegan right now and it's really good, but super dense. maybe i need another perspective!

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