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Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra
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Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,665 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
This spectacular illustrated history tells the story of the last Romanovs - one of the great tragic love stories of all time - with unparalleled vividness & intimacy. The text, which follows Nicholas & Alexandria from their childhood's to the Siberian cellar where their lives ended, is complemented by rare images from the imperial family's private collections (lock ...more
Paperback, 230 pages
Published November 1st 1998 by Back Bay Books (first published August 28th 1997)
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MaryannC.Book Fiend
I never get tired reading about The Romanovs. This book presented many photographs of the Tsar and his family that I have never seen, as well more personal info. that I also didn't know about, beautiful depictions of a beautiful family. Sad, haunting, but insightful.
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is really a coffee table book that tells the story of the last Romanovs to rule Russia. Peter Christopher’s photographs serve as a lens into Russia’s magnificent past. This was a time of opulent splendor when monarchs ruled Europe by divine right. The pages are adorned with photos and illustrations of 1,000 room palaces, cathedrals, yachts, coronations, balls, priceless Faberge eggs, and a wedding gown gilded with gold so heavy that the empress could barely stand up while wearing it. Most o ...more
Linda Lipko
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian-history
f you only have time to read one book regarding The Romanovs, Russian history, and the Russian revolution, this should be the one!

Lush in photography, rich in detail, stunningly organized and exquisitely written, this is a gem which chronicles the opulence of the Romanovis and vividly contrasts this to the brutal massacre that ended their lives and the rule of the Tsars of Russia.

The author and photographer show the before and after of the lush tranquility of summer and winter palaces and of yac
Jul 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romanov, non-fiction, own
Though I’ve read different versions of the Romanov story a dozen times, the photos and images in this book were an incredible supplement to the narrative. The writing wasn’t exceptional, but I was enraptured by the pictures, art and captions. If only Robert K. Massie’s definitive books had been accompanied by such unique and dramatic images! I was thoroughly engrossed throughout the entire big, beautiful book. I read it over the course of several evenings and must confess that I was disappointed ...more
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with an interest in history
This is probably the best non-fiction book on the Romanovs I have read thus far! The writing is engaging, yet very detailed and informative, and the photographs are great too. There are plenty of wonderful candid shots, along with the elegant posed portraits that we most often see. Kurth managed to give thorough historical information without his writing becoming dry or dull. The anecdotal details really give a sense of these legendary figures' personalities, adding a lot of emotional weight to ...more
Peter Kurth has researched and written a comprehensive and informative account of Russia’s last Emperor and Empress that is haunting and unforgettable. It seems like the lives of Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra, were doomed from the very start of their relationship. Beginning with their first meeting at a family wedding until their brutal murders at the hands of the Bolsheviks, Kurth’s fascinating account brings to life a vanished era. The relationships between members of the aristocracy, th ...more
Informal notes, rather than a formal review.

More than a decade ago, business took me to Portland. There I fell in love with the city's variety of gardens, its vibrant artistic/craft community, and the thoughtfulness with which its residents had dotted the city streets with bubblers for four-legged residents.

I managed to steal an hour to visit Powell's, and there I found this and several other books, gently used, in double-filled shelves. The concept of a place so packed with an esoteric array of
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating. Had me spellbound, even though I knew what was going to happen, I couldn't put it down. I have read other books on this subject, and came across this one by accident at my library. Many pictures that I had never seen before, and I especially liked the then vs now comparison shots. Still can't believe that this was how a country got rid of its monarchy. Chilling. Enjoyed it so much that I bought it on eBay for my personal collection before I even finished it.

There are no other words to describe this book. The photographs - from the last Tsar and his family in the 1900s and from Russia today - are breathtaking. No one can see them without wanting to visit Russia! And lots of family pictures have only been published in this book.

The text is fine - this was one of the first books I read about the Romanovs, so had a lot of great, easy to read information (apart from the conspiracy theories, Peter Kurth believed in Anna Anderson until he passed
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing pictures I haven’t seen anywhere else and new details about the family... this book is a treasure
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
A fascinating pictorial depiction of the last of the Romanovs. I had just recently read "Fall of Giants," which covers WWI & precipitates the rise of communism & inevitable demise of a ruling family that was so terribly out of touch with their subjects. So this book was a good follow-up.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, archives have been available with diaries & pictures of Nicholas II & Alexandra. I got a different picture of Alexandra than what I had in mind by seeing stor
Michele Barber
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The marvelous thing about this book is all the photographic documentation that's included. One hobby of Tsar Nicholas and his family was photography, so there is a great deal of photographic evidence of their daily life, a great deal included here. This book is a wonderful introduction to this tragic chapter in Russian history.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I actually purchased a used hard copy version of this book and it's what I would call a coffee table book. Pictures are gorgeous and book provides insight into court life, royal residences and the ultimate demise of the Russian aristocracy. I would recommend the book for the pictures alone!
Aug 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Lots of nice pictures. Nothing new information-wise. In fact, since this book was published the missing bodies of Alexei and Anastasia have been found, forensically analyzed, and reburied, and the family has been canonized so...a bit outdated all around.
Thom Swennes
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always been fascinated with the lives and ultimate fate of the Romanov’s, the last reigning royal Russian family. Their story is a tragedy wrapped in gold and silk. They were the product of an ancient, outdated system that refused to die a peaceful death. The final straw was a family feud that covered the world, resulting in over 37 million dead and changing Europe forever. Were they the cause of all this misery or just another handful of collateral causalities? I would say that this book ...more
Dec 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
The ever romantic story of the Romanovs, the fall of Imperial Russia and the quest to prove those bones so badly contaminated are the actual remains of Russia's last ruling family. Peter Kurth, writes of course what all historians know of the Imperial Family. The photographs throughout the large tome, are some rare and many seen before. Showing the family's way of life, and how wrong the public and government were, how they characterise Nicholas and his dear wife Alexandra... so many inaccurate ...more
Feb 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Easy to follow biography of the last royal family of Russia. I was able to keep everyone straight (lots of relatives and aristocrats and revolutionaries). I have always been interested in revolutions, and Peter Kurth places a weighty share of the blame on the silly, decadent elites who refused any kind of reform. I would own this book just for its description of the events leading up to the revolution.

The pictures in this make it worthy of a fine coffee table.

This book actually helped me unders
Lauren Magoon
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book for an overview of the last ruling Romanov family and it's demise. The overwhelming array of photos (all nicely labeled) gave a real insight into what it looked like to live in that time frame. It took me about a day to read through the whole book...maybe 5-6 hours total reading time. All in all an enjoyable read.
Dave Sippel
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
While the book gives interesting inside information regarding the last Russian royal family, you wont find a deep historical analysis. The photographs are the main draw of the book and they are great. It reads like a family album, tracing the lives of Nicholas and his wife from their early years to their executions.
Aug 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful photographs, excellent text, very well put together. The illustrations are well labeled, explained, and connected to the topic being discussed in the text - always a sticking point for me. They did a great job of putting a picture taken during the reign of the Romanovs next to a contemporary photo of the same thing.
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, paperback
The value of this is mostly pictures, and there a lot of very large, very beautiful pictures. No need to visualize what the Romanovs' surroundings looked like--it's all there for you to see.

My favorite was undoubtedly the white palace at Livadia.
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Extraordinary photographs of the family, the places they lived and key people in their lives and times. Brilliantly written, endlessly interesting. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the Romanovs and the Russian revolution.
I liked it. I liked the pictures and the summary of events that went along with it. A light read for those who want to read a bit more about the Romanov's or touch up on what they already know. A bit of an awkward book to carry around though so beware of that.
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
perfect. I will someday read The Robert K. Massey "Nicholas and Alexandra" as well as "The Romanovs" but not just yet. This wonderful coffee table book was a pleasure to read and I did not want to put it down. The pictures add so much to the experience.
Oct 30, 2011 rated it liked it
c1995. The words manage to wheedle you from merely loking at just the pictures. Damn! Lost the first set of comments I made - AGAIN!!!!!!!. FWFTB - vanished, Imperial, DNA, tragic, evocative. FCN: Nicholas II, Anastasia, Rasputin, Anna Anderson, Queen Victoria.
Debra Franklin
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you're interested in the Romanovs, don't miss this book, especially if you like Romanov photos. The book is full of high-quality images of the family. This edition is coffee-table book sized. Peter Kurth is a fantastic writer, so the text is a pleasure to read.
Amie Bjorklund
Apr 18, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a beautiful book. The pictures are stunning and clear. There is a lot of history and a piece of visual history not seen in many books. It's a physically big book, but necessary to fully wrap you head around the glamour that is this time period. I enjoyed it for what it is.
Sharon Lawler
This remains one of my favorite history books. By comparing "then and now" photographs, the reader learns about the life of the Imperial Romanov family, their environs, and what happened to these places after the fall of Imperial Russia.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
+The pictures were amazing
+It was an incredible book...and such a sad story.
+I loved the conspiracy theories.
+I love learning about the Romanovs & Rasputin!
-There were too many names that popped was tough to keep up!
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I am working on this one. The pictures are amazing and the main reason I wanted this book. I will get back to you on the informational content.
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  • A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story
  • The Camera and the Tsars: The Romanov Family in Photographs
  • The Court of the Last Tsar: Pomp, Power and Pageantry in the Reign of Nicholas II
  • Anastasia's Album
  • Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last Tsar and 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
  • Alexandra: The Last Tsarina
  • The Romanovs: The Final Chapter
  • The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II
  • The Romanov Family Album
  • Alix and Nicky: The Passion of the Last Tsar and Tsarina
  • The Flight Of The Romanovs: A Family Saga
  • Little Mother of Russia: A Biography of the Empress Marie Feodorovna (1847-1928)
  • King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led The World To War
  • Once a Grand Duchess: Xenia,  Sister of Nicholas II
  • Anastasia: The Lost Princess
  • An Uncommon Woman - The Empress Frederick: Daughter of Queen Victoria, Wife of the Crown Prince of Prussia, Mother of Kaiser Wilhelm
PETER KURTH is the author of "Anastasia: The Riddle of Anna Anderson," "American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson," "Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra," and "Isadora: A Sensational Life," and co-author (with Eleanor Lanahan) of "Zelda: An Intimate Portrait." His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler, Forbes FYI, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Obser ...more
More about Peter Kurth

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