Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Nicholas and Alexandra” as Want to Read:
Nicholas and Alexandra
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Nicholas and Alexandra

(The Romanovs #3)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  27,896 ratings  ·  1,409 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 June 30th 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 and Alexandra, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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)
Katerina Ruud It is non-fiction. However, it's written in a way that makes it an enjoyable read. I have only read a few chapters, but there are already things that …moreIt is non-fiction. However, it's written in a way that makes it an enjoyable read. I have only read a few chapters, but there are already things that have made me emotional in it :')(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  27,896 ratings  ·  1,409 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Nicholas and Alexandra
May 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
"Nicholas asked for chairs so that his wife and son could sit while they waited. Yurovsky ordered three chairs brought and Alexandra took one. Nicholas took another, using his arm and shoulder to support Alexis, who lay back across the third chair. Behind their mother stood the four girls and Dr. Botkin, the valet Trupp, the cook Kharitonov and Demidova, the Empress's parlormaid. Demidova carried two pillows, one of which she placed in the chair behind the Empress's back. The other pillow she cl ...more
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
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 in
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
Micah Cummins
May 27, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian-history
Massie presents a fantastic view of the Romanov family in Nicholas and Alexandra. Not only the inner workings of Nicholas and Alexandra's relationship but the bigger picture elements of their family, such as the impact that Alexei's Hemophilia had on launching Rasputin into the national spotlight, giving him access to the Imperial family few others had. There are several chapters dedicated singularly to the explanation of Hemophilia which I found very helpful as my knowledge of the condition was ...more
Roman Clodia
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nicholas added, "I shall maintain the principle of autocracy just as firmly and unflinchingly as it was preserved by my unforgettable dead father."

Gosh, this book! I read it with such a dual response: the political side of me condemned everything to do with the Tsar from his opulent lifestyle (the palaces! the yachts! the jewels!) to his stubborn refusal to allow any form of democratic representation to the 130 million Russians under his rule.

The plight of the Russian soldiers, especially,
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third biography that I’ve read by Robert K. Massie. He’s a fabulous writer and his books have a way of grabbing me from the get-go. I’ve been enjoying reading about Russian history, which I had been quite ignorant about until I started on his books.

I knew how this story was going to end and how tragic it would be. Massie is such a great writer, that I was engaged throughout. What I didn’t know is how frustrated I would get with certain key characters.

We have a son with hemophilia,
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this biography many years ago and, when it appeared as a kindle deal of the day, a while ago, snapped it up to re-read. This was first published in 1967, when many of those, who witnessed the events of that period, were still alive – indeed, the young ballerina with whom Nicholas had a romance with, was an elderly lady in Paris at the time of publication. At that point, most of the books about that period concentrated on the Russian Revolution from the point of view of Lenin and the Bolsh ...more
Brett C
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-history
I liked the way the author put this together. The flow of the writing seemed like a story and a history lesson. The story of these two is written from their autocratic rise to their bloody demise. The author covers a lot of material related to the subject and gives relevant information without going into tangents.

There's a brief history of the Romanov dynasty, an abbreviated (yet helpful and comprehensible) synopsis of WWI and Russia's involvement, and other historical places/events/people.

Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Massie writes a moving portrait of Russia's last tsar and his family. Rich in detail about this period of Russian history, and the prominent figures of the time, this book reads like an epic novel. Well worth reading. ...more
Christopher Saunders
Robert K. Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra is a sprawling, elegantly written portrait of Russia's last Tsar. Massie's prose is beautiful and his depth of research impressive, doing a beautiful job conjuring both the Tsar's court and the agonies of late Tsarist Russia, from the abortive revolutions and feeble attempts at reform to the disastrous wars with Russia and Germany. Inevitably much of the book has been superseded by 45 years of new evidence (Rasputin's murder story, most obviously) but th ...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!

Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best book, by far in 2020. The author's son also has hemophilia, just like the Heir did so he describes (in first hand knowledge) the terrible pain of this dreaded disease. The Empress racked with guilt about having passed the gene to the Heir which caused his pain, is alternately pitiful , brave and so ignorant about Rasputin. Rasputin's death is described in vivid detail and after being poisoned several times, shot and thrown in the river, he actually died from drowning and not the bullets or ...more
I first read Nicholas and Alexandra when I was in school back in the 70s. The story itself, not THEIR story but this particular version of their story, has stayed with me all of these years. When I ran across and old (!) copy of the book in a used bookstore, I knew it was time for a re-read. Sadly, it didn't live up to my impressionable first opinons of the book, history and politics and life have taught me to be more jaded since then, but still it is an enjoyable and somewhat informative read.I ...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
A romantic, tragic and heart wrenching story told by a master storyteller. Excellent book.
E. G.
List of Photographic Plates
Cast of Characters

--Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last Tsar and His Family

Family Trees
Dec 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent biography about the last tsar and tsarina of Russia! Includes black and white photos.
An intimate account of the lives of this tragic family, with special attention on the rol which Aleksej's haemophilia played in the daily live of Nicholas and Alexandra. The author concludes that without Aleksej's haemophilia, there would have been no Rasputin and no communist revolution. It was Rasputin's role between the first revolution (1905) and the ultimate communist revolution, which caused so much resentment. Alexandra, led by Rasputin, resisted heavily against sharing the power with the ...more
Jun 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing

With a sweeping and often colorful 562-page narrative, “Nicholas and Alexandra” adroitly fuses two genres of non-fiction: biography and history. At its core, this is a dual-biography of Nicholas II (1868-1918) and his German-born wife (1872-1918). But it also provides piercing, if incomplete, insight into the fall of the Russian empire and the rise of notable figures such as Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and Josef Stalin.

The tragic fate of this odd aristocr
Lori Elliott (semi-hiatus)
Dec 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
The 'Perfect Storm' of events is what ultimately conspired to the brutal end of the Romanovs! Russia's need for social reform and Nicholas's inability to confront it, Alexandra's dependency on the rogue Rasputin to help her deal with her son's hemophilia, and Russia's entry into a war they were not ready for!!! Very well researched and well written novel... ...more
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
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
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.
Sep 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"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
Erik Graff
Jun 03, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book blew me away. It was the most emotional book for me this year, I was disturbed and shaken for days and weeks after reading it. Also, I immersed myself in reading many works about Russian history, such as Peter the Great: His Life and World, also by Robert K. Massie. My mistake of not reading it sooner was based on a notion that this was a love-story like many out there, about Cleopatra and Caesar, Elizabeth and Richard. I don't really like them, they never feel well-researched and th ...more
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.
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 ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg
  • The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
  • The Race to Save the Romanovs: The Truth Behind the Secret Plans to Rescue the Russian Imperial Family
  • The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II
  • The Romanovs: 1613-1918
  • The Diary of Olga Romanov: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution
  • A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891 - 1924
  • Alexandra: The Last Tsarina
  • Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America
  • Marie Antoinette: The Journey
  • The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors
  • The Fate of the Romanovs
  • スキップ・ビート! 46 (Skip Beat!, #46)
  • スキップ・ビート! 43 (Skip Beat!, #43)
  • スキップ・ビート! 45 (Skip Beat!, #45)
  • スキップ・ビート! 44 (Skip Beat!, #44)
  • The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar
  • Skip Beat!, Vol. 23
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Robert Kinloch Massie was an American historian, writer, winner of a Pulitzer Prize, and a Rhodes Scholar.

Born in Versailles, Kentucky, Massie spent much of his youth there and in Nashville, Tennessee. He studied American history at Yale University and modern European history at Oxford University on his Rhodes Scholarship. Massie went to work as a journalist for Newsweek from 1959 to 1964 and then

Other books in the series

The Romanovs (4 books)
  • Peter the Great: His Life and World
  • Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
  • The Romanovs: The Final Chapter

News & Interviews

As the final days of the year tick themselves off the calendar, the 2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge is coming to a close. Sincere...
133 likes · 111 comments
“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.” 19 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.” 12 likes
More quotes…