In over seven decades the history of the Russian Revolution and those that were central to it, especially the last Tsar and Tsaritsa have fascinated millions of people worldwide. At the heart, is a love story, hard won, and permanent, affected only by their son, the Heir. Alexei's, hemophilia, and its effect on their reign, and politics. Much has been written about them, and their intimate photograph albums, have been scanned worldwide. Few authors have captured their uniqueness, and their vulnerability. While Rounding promised us new information, there is not much new here, and often what she focuses on is the minutiae of their daily routine, or witless observations of some of the reign's most pivotal events - the October Manifesto, for one, which she passes over as just another day. A poor historian with a weak grasp of events, this is bad stuff. If you want a basic primer on their lives, Robert K. Massie's "Nicholas and Alexandra" is a much better written and balanced book, and gives a true focus on Alexei's illness and its effect on their parents, and ultimately the loss of their empire.
I did enjoy reading this latest biography of the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia although I found it difficult to stay focused at times. The author quotes heavily from their almost daily correspondence which gives it a heavier style. Nonetheless, the book explains the great love Nicholas and Alexandra had for each other and it also clearly explains how their relationship with Rasputin and their friend Ania led to their demise and subsequent murder. If you enjoy historical biographies, this is a good one.
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