Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nicholas and Alexandra

It took me a solid 1.5 months to slog through this behemoth of a book.  With that being said, Nicholas and Alexandra is not a boring or slow book, by any means.  However, when you're reading non-fiction and there's a super dense amount of information packed away in the's just a lot to take in.  And this wasn't a book I was going to rush myself to finish quickly.  This subject has always fascinated me. 

I suppose it all started when, in school, we went to view the Faberge eggs that were on tour (visiting Kansas City) back when I was in...ummm, I think it was middle school?  Regardless, they were/are gorgeous and the story of the Romanovs is enthralling...and tragic, of course.

Another thing that sparked this interest was this movie.  Anyone else remember it?

I think I actually owned this movie (and maybe the soundtrack too?) at some point.  I'm sure it was on VHS and who knows where that might be. 

Of course, after reading this book I've discovered that virtually everything in this movie was/is false.  Anastasia couldn't have survived.  And by the way, Rasputin died before all the Romanovs.  So, why was he lurking around as the bad guy in this movie?  Weirdo.

But, back to the book...sorry, got a little off topic there for a second...this is truly the story of the last generation of the Romanovs.  Nicholas and Alexandra just happened to be at the forefront and they were the ones that affected the majority of the Romanovs' fate at that time, hence the title. 

I didn't know who, what, when, when, where and how the fall of the Romanov dynasty played out until reading this book.  The fact that the tsarevich, the heir apparent, had hemophilia had a major role in the course of events.  Massie makes it clear that if Alexis, Nicholas and Alexandra's only son, hadn't had hemophilia, then they wouldn't have met the manipulative Rasputin.  And therefore, with no Rasputin there would have been no Lenin. 

One of the main excerpts from this book that really got me was when Rasputin was finally murdered.  It took numerous attempts, in different ways, all in one sitting, to kill this man.  He, literally, WOULD NOT DIE.  The whole scene was totally creeptacular. 

There were good, fantastic really, parts of this book too.  Nicholas and Alexandra were madly in love.  This was apparent, through onlookers and their correspondence, that the two truly adored each other and rarely squabbled.  In fact, in the beginning you learn that the two were fond of each other from a very young age.

I really enjoyed learning about the Romanov family, their history and, sadly, their last days.  If you're interested at all in this subject, I would highly recommend this book.  However, I know that 500+ page, non-fiction, about a dead dynasty doesn't intrigue everyone.  Therefore, I wouldn't recommend this book for just anyone.  However, for me this was a solid four star (out of five) read.

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