Wednesday, November 12, 2014


One part of history that continues to draw us into its web is the story of Russia’s last royal family. There are several books on this topic at the Monrovia Public Library and they will fascinate readers.

Almost 50 years ago Robert Massie wrote Nicholas and Alexandra, a bestselling epic chronicling how Russia’s last emperor and empress naively encouraged their own demise at the same time the 1917 Revolution was seeking to overthrow the monarchy. This magnificent work, which reads like a novel, brings to life both historical events and the personalities involved. Inspired by his own son’s hemophilia, Massie highlights how the illness of the royal family’s youngest child Alexei affected history. A few years later Massie employed new archival and scientific research to write The Romanovs: The Final Chapter.

The Last Tsar by Edvard Radzinsky describes the life and death of Nicholas II, who was executed along with his wife, daughters and son. This book is jam-packed with vintage photographs that tell the story of how the Tsar, Tsarina and their children lived. Their sumptuous life, where even the horse blankets were woven with jewels, is brought to life through pictures. Another book that describes and illustrates the extreme opulence of the times is The Court of the Last Tsar by Greg King.

Proving that interest in the last royal family has not flagged is a new bestselling book called The Romanov Sisters. Author Helen Rappaport treats Tatiana, Maria, Olga and Anastasia not just a group of daughters, but as individuals. Well-reviewed, the book is noted for its gossipy and absorbing text.

And, what is a story without a villain? The monk Rasputin, who transfixed the Tsarina Alexandra with his false claims that he could cure her son, is detailed in Rasputin by Brian Moynahan.

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