★ [PDF / Epub] ☄ Nicholas and Alexandra By Robert K. Massie ✪ – Saudionline.co.uk

Nicholas and Alexandra pdf Nicholas and Alexandra, ebook Nicholas and Alexandra, epub Nicholas and Alexandra, doc Nicholas and Alexandra, e-pub Nicholas and Alexandra, Nicholas and Alexandra 21337130216 The Story Of The Love That Ended An EmpireIn 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 Na Vet , Alexandra S Obsession With The Corrupt Mystic Rasputin, And Little Alexis S Brave Struggle With Hemophilia Against A Lavish Backdrop Of Luxury And Intrigue, Massie Unfolds A Powerful Drama Of Passion And History The Story Of A Doomed Empire And The Death Marked Royals Who Watched It Crumble


10 thoughts on “Nicholas and Alexandra

  1. says:

    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 clutched tightly Inside, sewed deep into the feathers, was a box containing a collection of the Imperial jewels When all were assembled, Yurovsky reentered the room, followed by his entire Cheka squad carrying revolvers He stepped forward and declared quickly, Your relations have tried to save you They have failed and we must now shoot you Robert K Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra 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 At least that s the story that Robert Massie is here to tell, in the sympathetic Nicholas and Alexandra The couple, of course, is Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, the Empress Alexandra 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 disastrous Russo Japanese War, anti semitic pogroms, labor riots, and a smashing defeat by the Germans in World War I though they fared well against the Austrians He was such an odd paradox of a man, both humble and conceited both aware of his shortcomings, and absolutely convinced that he should wield near complete autocratic powers Alexandra Feodorovna, German born, was his wife She was quiet, distant, and private, which made her unpopular among the Russian court She was also, and most tragically, a carrier of hemophilia She passed this onto her son, Alexei, and then reached out to the mad monk Rasputin in a desperate attempt to heal him In Robert Massie s telling, this event caused the downfall of the Romanovs at the worst possible time, with a war being lost in the east, and workers rioting, and people clamoring for democratic representation, the Romanovs turned inward, focused solely on the fate of their fragile young son Massie s own son also suffered from hemophilia, giving him an intimate connection to the doomed royal family It is understandable, then, that Nicholas and Alexandra tends to give them the benefit of the doubt This is not literally true There were many causes for the collapse of the Romanovs and Imperial Russia But honing in on this makes for an excellent story Massie is a marvelous narrative historian He is a believer in the great man theory of history, where historical events are shaped by personalities, rather than events This makes him a target by academically minded and less successful writer historians But in terms of crafting popular histories with wide appeal, Massie has long been one of the best His opening lines, for instance, just hook you with the near mythic sweep of Russia itself From the Baltic city of St Petersburg, built on a river marsh in a far northern corner of the empire, the Tsar ruled Russia So immense were the Tsar s dominions that, as night began to fall along their western borders, day already was breaking on their Pacific coast Between these distant frontiers lay a continent, one sixth of the land surface of the globe Through the depth of Russia s winters, millions of tall pine trees stood silent under heavy snows In the summer, clusters of white trunked birch trees rustled their silvery leaves in the slanting rays of the afternoon sun Rivers, wide and flat, flowed peacefully through the grassy plains of European Russia toward a limitless southern horizon As I noted above, there are criticisms of Massie as a historian But Imperial Russia is a subject on which he is well versed, having written a mammoth and well received biography of Peter the Great and later, after this book, a bio on Catherine the Great Massie employs a style that taps into the drama and emotion of his tale Obviously, this causes some issues with objectivity and interpretation It s almost as though he gets to know his characters so well, viewing them as so utterly human as they were , that he is sometimes unable to judge them with cold eyed clarity This is especially true here It is clear that Massie respects the Romanov family and is especially forgiving of Nicholas II, who he bends over backward to redeem In Massie s view, Nicky did his best, and found himself unable to rise to a near impossible task This is a little hard to swallow in light of the pogroms that took place during his administration, and his seeming indifference to the bloody squelching of labor riots Nicholas, it has been said, would have made a find postal clerk Perhaps it was impossible to maintain the absolute autocracy in an era of progress, industrialization, and rising democracies But a cleverer man, less in thrall to his perceived prerogatives, might have been able to find the balance of a constitutional monarchy One of the shortcomings of Nicholas and Alexandra is its narrow focus on the royal couple at the expense of any wider context for the events that caused their fall One could read this book and be forgiven for thinking it was all somehow Rasputin s fault Certainly, he played a role, especially in getting Nicholas II to take command of the army, but the seeds of revolution had been planted long before they just took time to grow As I mentioned above, I love history books that pay attention to human agency in events At the same time, I m not so naive to believe that the cumulative effect of history doesn t sometimes overwhelm things In other words, it didn t all come down to the Mad Monk Another problem, stemming from the first, is that Massie s approach greatly simplifies a complex series of events While everything is going to hell in Russia, Massie stays focused on this adorable, beautiful, loving, close knit family The Romanovs are humanized and, by unintentional elision, the rest of Russia is turned monstrous There is little time spent developing the setting of the Russian Revolution the millions of peasants who starved or suffered stunted lives while the Romanovs visited their estates or frolicked on their yacht This book trades the horrors of the multitude for a detailed look at the death of a single family At the end, it s almost as if Massie has to look away, for his telling of their execution is brief and fairly nondescript especially compared to his fascination with the knout in Peter the Great Massie goes so far as to censor contemporary accounts, which is insulting Hey, it s okay to tell us that one of the executioners touched the dead Alexandra s breasts We re all adults here For whatever reason, I ve found the men and women of the World War I era to be the most fascinatingly human of any I ve encountered in my historical reading From the widowed bird watcher Edward Grey, who backed England into war to the crippled Kaiser Wilhelm II, who loved playing soldier sailor to Nicholas II, who really just wanted to sit on the couch and read in the presence of his family, these are all beguilingly normal people tasked with extraordinarily abnormal responsibilities It s amazing how many of the tragedies of that time came because these men were simply not commensurate with the challenges they were charged with handling.


  2. says:

    NO SPOILERS 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 the possibilities Moreover, he does all this without ever boring the reader I feel I truly understand who Nicholas, Alexandra and Alexis were as people I come away with an understand of who these individuals really were No other books I have read has ever done this to wonderfully The book included photos and a family tree You do have to be awake to read the book 0 At one point there I was getting kind of tired. Beyond praising the book, I praise the author Massie has written a book on Peter the Great, Peter the Great His Life and World, and it is said he will come out with a book on Catherine the Great in November, Catherine the Great Portrait of a Woman I want to read both very, very much I find none of them available in Kindle, which is quite a disappointmentbut I haven t given up searching.If you like crime novel, read this instead This is the real thing Oh, one thing, you must read this book to learn about Rasputin and hemophilia And if there is a moral to the book, it is tell people what is going on If you don t, others will dream up a bunch of incorrect explanations Through page 358 This book gives an engaging and very clear description of the time period leading up to WW1 The author explains in both in broad terms and then with interesting details I must say very clearly that this book is detailed, and it is a book of history There are sections where I am fatigued by military strategies and battles To say this doesn t happen would be untrue Or maybe I am just plain tired and should go to bed..Through page 161 The research is thorough and impeccable There are tons of details, but never do I feel swamped I believe some sections will appeal to one reader and others to another None is boring I was less drawn to the detailed analysis of the 1905 Revolution, but then the next chapter switched to life at Tsarskoe Selo, and I was enchanted The Catherine and Alexander Palaces situated on the grounds, although diametrically different, are both beautifully described Then the text goes on to describe the minute characteristics of the five children and Alexandra You cannot leave this chapter without feeling immersed into each one s personal traits All is documented and accurately portrayed And terribly interesting Through Part One, page 114 The book details the political alliances and military occurrences taking place at the beginning of the 20th century To enjoy this book you must be interested in history The Russian war against Japan, the French, English and German alliances, Kaiser William II s maneuvering all of this is discussed.Throgh page 77 If you are curious about the last Tsar of Russia, read this book It will not disappoint You are given a thorough understanding of what shaped Nicholas and Alexandra Childhood experiences are always life determining, and here they are laid out in a clear and interesting manner You understand why Alexandra is shy, why she feels a kinship with the Russian people, the serfs freed by Alexander II, rather than the elite You come to understand why, in turn, she was not welcomed by the Russian elite, at least not now in the beginning, immediately after her marriage with Nicholas You come to understand the tension that arose between her and the Empress Dowager Alexandra s German mother died when she was six She was primarily raised by her grandmother, Queen Victoria She and Nicholas were married only one week after the funeral of Nicholas father His death was unexpected He was only 49 She was forced to convert to the Russian Orthodox Church from the Lutheran faith, a prerequisite for the marriage She was totally unprepared for what lay before her And the same was true for Nicholas It was a marriage of love, they chose each other, and they got their way Of course there were several important leaders that approved Not only do we learn about Nicholas and Alexandra in a fascinating manner, but also other individuals We learn of Lenin s Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov s youth He was an excellent student in school, and when the other Ulyanov children brought their marks home and solemnly reported them to their parents, Volodya as he was called at home simply burst through the door and up the stairs, shouting Excellent in everything page 76 His mother, Maria Blank, was a Volga German Enough If you find this fascinating I recommend the book to you Having just begun the book, I am blown over by the author s way with words Wow, can Robert Massie describe landscapes so you can see them, sparkle or huddle in the cold I am not going to tell you what the book is about For that you can read the book description Here follows a quote so you can taste the writing Despite the Mediterranean style, St Petersburg was a northern city where the Arctic latitudes played odd tricks with light and time Winter nights began early in the afternoon and lasted until the middle of the following morning Icy winds and whistling snowstorms swept across the flat plain surrounding the city to lash the walls and the windows of the Renaissance palaces and freeze the Neva hard as steel Over the baroque spires and the frozen canals danced the strange fires of the aurora borealis Occasionally a brilliant day would break the gloomy monotony The sky would turn a crystal blue and the snowflakes on the trees, rooftops and gilded domes would sparkle with sunlight so bright that the eye could not bear the dazzling glare Winter was a great leveler Tsar, priest and factory worker all layered themselves in clothing and upon coming in from the street, headed straight to the bubbling samovar for a glass of hot tea. page 7 Don t you want to be there and breathe in the cold crisp air Doesn t the teas scorch your throat For me, how a book is written is much important than the plot line This is beautiful writing, and the author wonderfully blends in history so you do not even know you are learning I like this book


  3. says:

    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 dancer, atrocious French accent, a schoolgirl blush, too shy, too nervous, too arrogant His parents thought her not much of a catch and hoped for a grander alliance But the young heir to the Russian throne, Tsarevich Nicholas, fell for the shy princess with the red gold hair and wrote in his diary in 1892 I have loved her a long while and still deeper and stronger since 1889 when she spent six weeks in St Petersburg Nicky would make the grand tour, style himself as a playboy, have a fling with a Russian ballet dancer, but in the end his first love would be his last and forever enduring.In the spring of 1894, Alix and Nicky were together again at a royal wedding in Coburg Nicky had wrung from his father permission to propose to Alix but ran headlong into her reluctance to convert to Russian Orthodoxy Alix s grandmother, Queen Victoria, played matchmaker and had a talk with the reluctant girl, taking the somewhat original tack that Orthodoxy was not really so very different from Lutheranism Their wedding took place on November 16th, one week after the funeral of Nicky s father, Alexander III The marriage that began that night remained unflawed for the rest of their lives It was a Victorian marriage, outwardly serene and proper, but based on intensely passionate physical love The next morning Alix wrote in Nicholas diary Never did I believe there could be such utter happiness in this world, such a feeling of unity between two mortal beings I love you, those three words have my life in them Over the next ten years, the Tsarina Alexandra gave birth to four daughters and finally in 1904 came the longed for, prayed for moment when a 300 round gun salute in St Petersburg signaled the birth of a baby boy, Tsarevich Alexis, heir to the throne Within weeks the Tsar and Tsarina realized that Alexis had hemophilia, a revelation that struck Alexandra with savage force The Empress refused to surrender to fate She talked incessantly of the ignorance of the physicians.She turned towards religion, and her prayers were tainted with a certain hysteria The stage was ready for the appearance of a miracle worker Grand Duke Alexander The illness of the Tsarevich cast its shadow over the whole of the concluding period of Tsar Nicholas II s reign and alone can explain it Without appearing to be, it was one of the main causes of his fall, for it made possible the phenomenon of Rasputin and resulted in the fatal isolation of the sovereigns who lived in a world apart, wholly absorbed in a tragic anxiety, which had to be concealed from all eyes Pierre Gillard, tutor of Tsarevich Alexis Without Rasputin, there could have been no Lenin Alexander KerenskyRead it for the romance, for the pageantry, for the vast and fascinating cast of characters read it to marvel at the strange and terrible twists of fate that meant the death of millions, the destruction of an entire civilization but even if you never read non fiction don t miss this book UPDATE 7 11 2018 Having finally read War and Peace I now understand why Princess Alix s atrocious French accent and German connections mattered Content rating PG Some dark but only slightly graphic thematic material including assassination and war as well as quotes from contemporary gossips about what might be going on with Rasputin.


  4. says:

    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 the background So with this book you get the best of both worlds you get an accurate historical account of the collapse of Imperial Russia and an exquisite account of love and compassion and you are transported back to Russia in a time of the magnificent life of the court of St Petersburg the opulent palaces and the great balls.It took me a long time to read this book but I found myself so engrossed in the story as the writing is magnificent and I felt that the author Massie transported me to Russia in a way that no writer has ever done before I spent so much time checking out all the palace names on the computer and the people in the book that I was even thinking about the book when I was not reading it.Most importantly I learned to much from this book, it is such an education.I have had this book on my bookshelf for quite a while and had put off reading it until a friend picked it up one day and was amazed that I had not read it I loved this book and would rate it in my top 5 books of all times Now all I have to do is visit all the places I have read about in this book.


  5. says:

    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 author does have bias Massie wants his readers to know that Nicholas II was, in fact, a really swell guy Yet, I close out his book less sympathetic to the man than I started Outwardly gentlemanly, polite and mild mannered indeed, he sent millions of young Russian men to battle without bullets or even adequate footwear That he prayed for them as they fell into the trenches hardly makes retribution Alexandra is an endlessly frustrating figure Pious and self centered and I suspect of low intelligence, as well , she was easily taken for a fool and made a fool out of her husband in turn Her sole focus seemed to be in handing down autocratic rule to Baby her son Alexis Her dogged insistence that Nicholas not share governing with a representational parliamentary body was born out of fear it would lessen Alexis s inheritance The needs of the peasantry were ignored In fact, one of the few times the Empress didn t listen to Rasputin was when he warned her about food shortages She believed he could cure her son s hemophilia, but not that he could see with his own eyes that her subjects were hungry I don t think Russian hatred for her was necessarily undeserved.The real tragedy is the children, especially the Tsar s four daughters I wish there had been about OTMA in this book, although I understand why there wasn t In the end, this is an excellent non fiction history book I d recommend it to anyone interested in the Romanov dynasty, the Russian Revolution, or just looking for a well written nonfiction story.


  6. says:

    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, during WW1 is heinous however much Nicholas might have wanted to provide leadership and support, the Russian army pitch cavalry charges with swords and bayonets against German field guns and are literally mown down they are in frontline trenches without gas masks or steel helmets, without weapons and ammunition, while the Russian railroads are so antiquated that food and supplies can t get through to them It s a surprise, really, that it took till October 1917 for the Tsar to be overthrown.And yet it s hard not to at least understand Nicholas and his empress, however foolish, however alienated from the realities of life, however misguided and yes, downright stubbornly aristocratic and elitist This book gives a mostly fair account of their lives and the tumultuous history of Russia through to 1917 We need to bear in mind that this was published in 1967 so research has moved on especially with regard to both the manoeuvrings in the run up to WW1 and in terms of recently opened Russian archives but this is still utterly engrossing as popular narrative history.Massie is not unbiased and the fact that he, as he tells us in the foreword, is the father of a haemophiliac son creates an intimate and sympathetic connection between his view and his reading of historical events He perhaps places too much importance on Alexei s illness, too much blame on Alexandra, too much emphasis on the role of Rasputin important as all these elements undoubtedly are.The narrative is detailed both in terms of family life and personalities, and the wider political events There are times where Massie s material gets away from him somewhat so that we re introduced to an important figure and then the story is put on hold while we have a potted life history The history of the Romanov dynasty, too, is oddly inserted at about 30% of the way through Nevertheless, this is a compelling and detailed account of the last of the Romanovs as one of the revolutionary guards says so aptly at Ekaterinburg, I began to pity them I pitied them as human beings.


  7. says:

    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 Bolsheviks However, Robert Massie, having recently discovered that his eldest son had haemophilia, was inspired to put the Imperial Family at the centre of the story, in an inspired biography.When Nicholas fell in love with Alix of Hesse, grand daughter of Queen Victoria, he, set in motion events which resulted in the end of Romanov rule Their romance was a true one their marriage touching and Massie, without doubt, helps you have sympathy for the young Alix, who would become the Empress Alexandra, the German Woman, the mother filled with guilt because of her son s illness Even despite the fact that her much longed for young son, born after the birth of four daughters, had haemophilia, Alexandra was not made to be an Empress Shy, socially awkward and prudish, she found the glittering, Russian Court difficult Her reaction to expectations that she would lead the endless balls, parties, gossip and gaiety, was to withdraw As such, she found herself disliked, not only by the people, but by the aristocracy Meanwhile, Nicholas was unprepared to be Tsar and, although he would probably have made an excellent figurehead, as an autocrat, he was weak and indecisive Undoubtedly, the couple s son, Alexei s, illness, made the couple even self contained and secretive With the Russian Tsar expected to be all powerful, they felt it would be a sign of weakness, and cause speculation about the throne, if anyone discovered the truth When Alexandra discovered Rasputin, the peasant Holy Man, who she felt was the only person who could heal her son, she clung to him, despite almost everyone else feeling that he was damaging the country When Nicholas took control of the army, during WWI, Alexandra began to interfere in politics and Rasputin was always there, whispering in her ear his influence distrusted and disliked This is a well researched, well written, and excellent account of that period Massie brings all of the characters to life and re creates the period, and places, well I still think that this is one of the best, overall, biographies of this period that I have read indeed, possibly, the best Massie is sympathetic, but always honest about events In a way, this is almost like reading a novel and, as you continue reading, you really hope for a different ending Definitely a classic and a very moving read.


  8. says:

    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, a terrified mother, a cunning faith healer, and an unprepared, but oh, so kind hearted Tsar, who drove me nuts as he would keep deferring to his wife on major issues Nicholas was na ve and completely spineless Alexandra was incredibly foolish and Nicholas should not have listened to her when it came to running the country When I read those parts, honestly, I was about ready to pop I had become so invested in all the characters and they felt like family It was truly heartbreaking, not just for the Romanovs, but for countless others who did not deserve the evil monstrosities of living under the brutal communist regime Here is the Tsar with two of his children, Tatiana and Alexei, in the summer of 1916 He was such a family man and I simply love that Unlike many a royal couple, Nicholas and Alexandra shared the same bed In the evening after supper, Nicholas often sat in the family drawing room reading aloud while his wife and daughters sewed or embroidered His choice, said Anna Vyrubova, who spent many of these cozy evenings with the Imperial family, might be Tolstoy, Turgenev or his own favorite, Gogol On the other hand, to please the ladies, it might be a fashionable English novel Nicholas read equally well in Russian, English and French and he could manage in German and Danish Books were supplied by his private librarian, whose job it was to provide the Tsar each month with twenty of the best books from all countries This collection was laid out on a table and Nicholas arranged them in order of preference thereafter the Tsar s valets saw to it that no one disarranged them until the end of the month Sometimes, instead of reading, the family spent evenings pasting snapshots taken by the court photographers or by themselves into green leather albums stamped in gold with the Imperial monograph Nicholas enjoyed supervising the placement and pasting of the photographs and insisted that the work be done with painstaking neatness The most famous room in the palace for a time the most famous room in Russia was the Empress s mauve boudoir Everything in it was mauve curtains, carpet, pillows even the furniture was mauve and white Hepplewhite Masses of fresh white and purple lilacs, vases of roses and orchids and bowls of violets perfumed the air Tables and shelves were cluttered with books, papers and porcelain and enamel knicknacks In this room, Alexandra surrounded herself with mementoes of her family and her religion The walls were covered with icons Over her chaise longue hung a picture of the Virgin Mary A portrait of her mother, Princess Alice, looked down from another wall On a table in a place of honor stood a large photograph of Queen Victoria The only portrait in the room other than religious and family pictures was a portrait of Marie Antoinette.In this cluttered, cozy room, surrounded by her treasured objects, Alexandra felt secure Here, in the morning, she talked to her daughters, helping them choose their dresses and plan their schedules It was to this room that Nicholas hurried to sit with his wife, sip tea, read the papers and discuss their children and their empire They talked to each other in English, although Nicholas and all the children spoke Russian to each other To Alexandra, Nicholas was always Nicky To him, she was Alix or Sunshine or Sunny Sometimes through the rooms of this private wing, a clear, musical whistle like the warbling song of a bird would sound This was Nicholas s way of summoning his wife Early in her marriage, Alexandra, hearing the call, would blush red and drop whatever she was doing to hurry to him Later, as his children grew up, Nicholas used it to call them, and the birdlike whistle became a familiar and regular sound in the Alexander Palace Next to the mauve boudoir was the Empress s dressing room, an array of closets for her gowns, shelves for her hats and trays for her jewels Alexandra had six wardrobe maids, but her modesty severely limited their duties No one ever saw the Empress Alexandra undressed or in her bath She bathed herself, and when she was ready to have her hair arranged, she appeared in a Japanese kimono Often it was Grand Duchess Tatiana who came to comb her mother s hair and pile the long red gold strands on top of her head After the Empress was almost dressed, her maids were summoned to fasten buttons and clasp on jewelry Only rubies today, the Empress would say, or Pearls and sapphires with this gown She preferred pearls to all other jewels, and several ropes of pearls usually cascaded from her neck to her waist Alexandra in the Mauve RoomAll in all, this was a truly a captivating biography and I would recommend it to anyone who s interested in Russian history Here are some of my favorite quotes Russia, after all, has existed for a thousand years the Soviet era lasted only seventy four The Romanov dynasty, which included such towering figures as Peter and Catherine the Great, had ruled for than three centuries It came to an end in brutal murders in a Siberian cellar, but many Russians never knew this had happened Or how Or why In his work habits, Nicholas was solitary Unlike most monarchs and chiefs of state unlike even his own wife he had no private secretary He preferred to do things for himself On his desk he kept a large calendar of his daily appointments, scrupulously entered in his own hand When official papers arrived, he opened them, read them, signed them and put them in envelopes himself With much the same sense of privacy, Nicholas disliked discussions of politics, especially in casual conversation A new aide de camp, galloping at the side of the Tsar near Livadia on a morning ride, supposed that his duty was to amuse the Tsar with small talk He chose politics as his subject Nicholas replied reluctantly, and quickly switched the conversation to the weather, the mountain scenery, the horses and tennis When the aide persisted, Nicholas put spurs to his horse and galloped ahead This sense of privacy, along with an unwillingness to provoke personal unpleasantness, created perennial difficulty between the Tsar and his ministers Ministers were appointed and dismissed directly by the crown In theory, they were the servants of the Tsar, and he was free to give these posts to whomever he liked, to listen to or ignore a minister s advice, and to hand down dismissals without explanation Nicholas never mastered the technique of forceful, efficient management of subordinates He hated scenes and found it impossible to sternly criticize or dismiss a man to his face If something was wrong, he preferred to give a minister a friendly reception, comment gently and shake hands warmly Occasionally, after such an interview, the minister would return to his office, well pleased with himself, only to receive in the morning mail a letter regretfully asking for his resignation Not unnaturally, these men complained that they had been deceived Nicholas received most visitors informally Standing in front of his desk, he gestured them into an armchair, asked if they would like to smoke and lighted a cigarette He was a careful listener, and although he often grasped the conclusion before his visitor had reached it, he never interrupted Her deep sorrow was war itself and the suffering it brought Like so many others, she yearned that the suffering would have meaning I do wonder what will be after this great war is over Will there be a reawakening and new birth in all shall once ideals exist, will people become pure and poetic, or will they continue to be dry materialists So many things one longs to know But such terrible misery as the whole world has suffered must clean hearts and minds and purify the stagnant brains and sleeping souls Oh, only to guide all wisely into the right and fruitful channel These are the Empress s words One by one all earthly things slip away, houses and possessions ruined, friends vanished One lives from day to day But God is in all, and nature never changes I can see all around me churches and hills, the lovely world Tsar Nicholas and his familyThe Romanov sisters with their motherAlexandra kissing her dog


  9. says:

    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 nonfiction Hana, you re Goodreads famous


  10. says:

    Fascinante libro biogr fico sobre la vida, el entorno pol tico, social y emotivo del ltimo Zar de Rusia, Nicol s II y de su familia La pluma del autor Robert K Massie, historiador norteamericano, se muestra sumamente fina, amena e ilustrativa en esta por dem s pica y a la vez terrible historia, en donde el destino dej caer toda su fuerza tanto sobre Rusia como sobre la familia imperial El libro resulta adem s de placentero e interesante, bastante conmovedor, debido a las tragedias que aqu se nos narran Asistir al ocaso del Imperio Ruso con todas sus implicaciones, as como contemplar la vida y el derrumbe de este buen hombre, Nicol s II, obligado a ser emperador por designios divinos de una sexta parte del territorio del planeta, no es motivo de alegr a Durante la extensa lectura y a pesar de que sta te mantiene fuertemente atenazado, muchas veces la tuve que interrumpir para ver, en la portada del libro, el rostro sereno, majestuoso y lleno de dignidad del ltimo Zar de todas las Rusias, como buscando en ese rostro y en esa mirada el secreto de tanta estoicidad, valor y resignaci n para soportar, hacia el final de su vida, un proceso de humillaci n, terror, desprecio y muerte La novela est conformada tanto por una maravillosa narrativa del historiador como por centenares de cartas y testimonios que nos abren una ventana hacia aquella Rusia que se desangraba y en donde puede observarse toda la tristeza y todo el dolor que hab a detr s de esa opulencia imperial y de esa elegancia y confort de que gozaba la nobleza.Massie nos transporta a aquel pa s maravilloso y suntuoso para los agraciados y penoso y miserable para una gran mayor a de la Rusia de finales del siglo XIX y principios del XX El Imperio Ruso adem s de extenso e imponente era una civilizaci n con sus rasgos muy particulares que poco a poco se fue occidentalizando y en el cual se asentaba una grandiosa cultura un tanto extra a y misteriosa, envuelta por un fuerte misticismo que emanaba del acendrado fervor de la ortodoxia rusa que el autor nos transmite vivamente a trav s de las p ginas de este libro Un pa s de b rbaros para muchos europeos, sustentado en un triunvirato indisoluble Zar Iglesia Pueblo Como tantos otros autores que a trav s de sus obras nos han hecho sensibilizarnos con el sufriente Pueblo Ruso, en esta historia tambi n nos apercibimos de que el coraz n de ese pueblo no resid a en los interesados y ego stas cortesanos, o en la privilegiada aristocracia rusa muy ligada y emparentada con la Europa Occidental, tampoco lo estaba en los mezquinos funcionarios o en los oportunistas que pululaban por las ciudades, sino que la verdadera Rusia estaba en aquella parte del pueblo m s humilde y oprimida los campesinos, los afligidos mujiks que le daban vida y coraz n a la Madre Rusia La historia del mundo nos ha ense ado que en todos los acontecimientos importantes de la humanidad suelen conjuntarse una serie de factores que unidos han provocado las grandes tragedias, las enormes epopeyas, las gloriosas conquistas, los bochornosos magnicidios, las heroicas revoluciones y todos aquellos notables hechos que han cambiado el rumbo de la humanidad, para bien o para mal En este caso en que el autor nos describe la historia que conduce a la tragedia de la familia Rom nov y a Revoluci n Rusa, no hay excepci n a esta condici n Personalmente, despu s de haber le do este libro, concluyo que los tr gicos hechos en la Rusia Imperial que dieron al traste con la dinast a Rom nov, que gobern durante 300 a os aquellas vastas tierras, se dieron principalmente por la confluencia de algunos elementos la inconformidad de las clases oprimidas que ven an arrastrando por siglos y que se acrecentaron con la actuaci n de Rusia durante la Primera Guerra Mundial las debilidades y pocas aptitudes que ten a el Zar Nicol s II para afrontar esta colosal empresa de gobernar un muy importante Imperio que se encontraba en un punto de ebullici n, el debilitamiento de la autocracia rusa socavada por la creaci n de la Duma Imperial asamblea representativa a la que se le dieron ciertas facultades la consolidaci n del Comunismo en Rusia impulsado por una figura tan fuerte como Lenin y, por ltimo, la actuaci n del enigm tico Rasputin en la corte imperial quien lleg a gozar de una influyente posici n en virtud de su ascendencia sobre la Zarina obtenida por sus aparentes dotes de enviado de Dios con los que, entre otras cosas, aliviaba al Zarevich Alejo de la hemofilia que padec a y tambi n utilizando a la Emperatriz para influir sobre el Zar Para el autor el punto decisivo que encauza la estrepitosa ca da del Zarismo y que desencadena los tr gicos sucesos en la Rusia de 1917 1918 fue un factor que a simple vista parecer a secundario la hemofilia del Zarevich y hacia all gira la historia Inusitada y curiosa hip tesis, pero as como la plantea Massie no suena descabellada Un sant n vagabundo y oportunista con poderes sobrenaturales que aprovecha la desesperaci n de una madre ante el dolor y las agon as de su peque o hijo causadas por la hemofilia que ella le transmiti y que exasperada se agarra a un clavo ardiente para buscar alivio para el hijo amado y heredero del trono Ese clavo ardiente era nada m s y nada menos que el inefable Grigori Rasputin, un campesino religioso salido de las entra as de la Rusia Siberiana que utiliza sus extra os poderes hipn ticos y de otra naturaleza para influir de manera muy relevante en el Imperio Esos inexplicables y asombrosos poderes que ostentaba Rasputin no han quedado totalmente claros ni entendibles para la raz n humana y parece que las arenas del tiempo ya han cubierto las pistas que podr an proporcionar una explicaci n razonable Una vez m s el molinillo del gusto despleg sus azarosas alas con fuerza inusitada sobre los destinos de Rusia y del Zar Nicol s II Hijo del Zar Alejandro III y ungido como el Gran Zar Nicol s II por un pueblo que lo adoraba, vitoreaba y celebraba, que ve a en l los designios de Dios para gobernarlos y protegerlos Por encima de l s lo estaba Dios.Despu s de algunos a os, denostado y martirizado, aborrecido hasta la humillaci n y la muerte Casi cien a os despu s de su muerte canonizado por la Iglesia Ortodoxa Rusa junto con su familia como m rtires de la humanidad La Zarina Alejandra no sab a lo que le esperaba a Rusia tras unos a os despu s de escribir lo siguiente me pregunt qu pasar despu s de esta guerra Habr un despertar y un renacimiento en todo volver n a existir los ideales, ser la gente m s pura y po tica o seguir siendo materialista Un dolor tan grande como el que ha sufrido el mundo debe limpiar los corazones y las mentes y purificar los cerebros estancados y las almas dormidas Nadie imaginaba la hecatombe que esperaba al Pueblo Ruso en donde recibir a una dosis de crueldad y humillaci n centuplicada bajo la f rula del Comunismo, primero con Lenin y despu s con el despiadado Stalin.


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