166 of 172 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating look at a bygone era.,
This review is from: Nicholas and Alexandra (Paperback)
This is generally considered to be the definitive biography of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra. Massie's expert storytelling is well-suited to the compelling story of the last Russian tsar and his consort. The history of Russia was no doubt changed by the deliberate myopia and general inadquacies of these two people. Nevertheless, Massie manages to uncover a more sympathetic side to the ill-fated duo. Massie's writing is as good as that of any acclaimed novelist - there's a fascinating and fastpaced plot, finely nuanced lead characters, an intriguing supporting cast, all against a beautiful background of a majestic bygone era.
This book was researched and written before the fall of the Soviet empire when the state archives were opened and new information about the Romanovs was revealed. Consequently, this book is necessarily incomplete, especially as concerns the execution of the royal family. Massie has since written another text called "The Romanovs: The Last Chapter" which devels deeply into the newly available data and the forensic studies that followed. Consider it an essential volume II to "Nicholas and Alexandra".
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Initial post: Apr 14, 2012 10:49:30 PM PDT
J. T. Sharp says:
If this is as good as Massie's "Catherine the Great" I can't wait to read it
Posted on Aug 29, 2014 5:55:35 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 29, 2014 5:56:38 PM PDT
Mr. John Coleman says:
'This is generally considered to be the definitive biography of Tsar Nicholas II'
I have to disagree:
No biography of Nicholas would be complete without a more thorough comment on his global appeal for peace at the beginning of his reign because everything about it was so extraordinary. At this time in history, with the United Nations' existence, its goals and hopes an accepted part of our lives, it is not possible to imagine how novel an idea world peace was in 1899, and how daring such a proposal was, coming out of the capital of an Empire. No one was even remotely prepared for such a thing and the world reacted with astonishment. Equally astonishing was this invitation coming from a young man only thirty-one years old, with the courage to dare to suggest it. It is impossible to sufficiently stress what a major role this was to play in world history. Prior to that moment no effort had ever been given to the possibility of a world without war. From this sprang all subsequent efforts to secure universal peace, including the Second Hague Conference, the Geneva Accords, the League of Nations, and, finally, the United Nation. "The world greeted the Tsar's appeal with nothing but skepticism and scorn." The British government showed no inclination to take the Russian request seriously; France found it unacceptable, and the German government was greatly alarmed by it. The Kaiser in fact was irritated to distraction. Nicholas's cousin, the future George V of Great Britain, said: "It is the greatest nonsense and rubbish I ever heard of." The very extreme of these reactions is a testament to how starling the idea was. The appeal led to the convocation of the first peace conference held at the Hague, in May and June of 1899, attended by twenty European powers, the United States, Mexico, Japan, China, Siam and Persia. The Russian proposal --temporary "freezing" of armed forces and of appropriations for armaments--was defeated. But the conference led to establishment at the Hague of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which exists to this very day. This accomplishment, however, pales beside Nicholas's original vision. Nevertheless, even with its original intent unforfilled, this "beautiful" , "humanitarian idea" and effort has, as one biogragher has pointed out, "earned Nicholas the right to immortality".
Of this, Massie says, not a dot.
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