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Nicholas and Alexandra

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  19,763 Ratings  ·  1,017 Reviews
The story of the love that ended an empire.

In this commanding book, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Robert K. Massie sweeps readers back to the extraordinary world of Imperial Russia to tell the story of the Romanovs’ lives: Nicholas’s political naïveté, Alexandra’s obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin, and little Alexis’s brave struggle with hemophilia. Against a lavi
Paperback, 640 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (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)
Melody Robert Massie's son had haemophelia and when he was researching the disease he came across the story of Nicholas and Alexandria whose son also has the…moreRobert Massie's son had haemophelia and when he was researching the disease he came across the story of Nicholas and Alexandria whose son also has the disease.(less)

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Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing

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
May 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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 events
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Is it possible," he asked, "that for twenty-two years I tried to act for the best and that for twenty-two years it was all a mistake?"

The answer to this question is something neither Nicholas nor his beloved and adoring wife, Alix, would ever fully comprehend. To the end, they continued to believe every folly that had made them prisoners in the land they once ruled with a single hand.

This book is an excellent, easy to consume, history detailing the fall of the Romanov dynasty. However, the auth
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
Alice Lippart
A romantic, tragic and heart wrenching story told by a master storyteller. Excellent book.
Dec 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 05, 2015 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 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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☽
Nov 20, 2014 marked it as to-read
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!

Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: slavic, summer-2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 05, 2012 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
Jan 03, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jun 03, 2008 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 09, 2010 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
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 28, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Oct 28, 2010 rated it liked it
A novelistic account of the decline and fall of the last Tzar and his family. Symbols of a world gone by. A perfect storm of events conspire to bring them down, and you feel quite sympathetic for the Tsar and his family, as they appear to be another set of victims.
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
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)
Apr 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
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
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Linda Lipko
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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,
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.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this. I confess that I pine for pre-revolutionary Russia the way Margaret Mitchell pined for the antebellum South. It’s all glittering ballrooms filled with French-speaking princesses from Tolstoy in my mind. That delicious sweep, grandeur, and pathos that pervades Russian history and literature shows up in spades in the doomed reign of Nicholas II. This was a perfect example of how knowing the ending of a story can occasionally make the telling of it more poignant and interesting than i ...more
Kathleen S
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time I’ve read Robert Massie’s Nicholas and Alexandra. The first time was almost fifty years ago when it was first published. While rereading, I sometimes wondered if there was newer research which might change some of his conclusions. But, I have no reason to suspect that a newer biography might be more accurate.

I chose to reread Nicholas and Alexandra after finishing Helen Rappaport’s The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra. I wanted to
Jennifer Nelson
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, 2017-books
Robert Massie is one of the best historians I have ever read, and this book does not disappoint. He is able to sift through a myriad of historical information and select and present to the reader the most intriguing and dazzling bits. The story of Nicholas and Alexandra and their family is already highly interesting to me and when you have Massie telling it - well, I couldn't put it down. He says in an introduction added in a later printing that there are two types of people who read this book: ...more
C.S. Burrough
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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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 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
  • The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias
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 about Robert K. Massie...
“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.” 10 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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