The Romanovs 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Published by Widenfeld and Nicolson

Synopsis

The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world’s surface. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world’s greatest empire? And how did they lose it all?

This is the intimate story of twenty tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. Montefiore’s gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence and wild extravagance, and peopled by a cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries and poets. Written with dazzling literary flair, drawing on new archival research, THE ROMANOVS is at once an enthralling chronicle of triumph and tragedy, love and death, a universal study of power, and an essential portrait of the empire that still defines Russia today.

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My thoughts

In this massive 700+ page book, the author charts the rise and fall of the Romanov family from 1613 to 1918.

Now, before reading this I knew very little about the Romanovs but know more  thanks to Montifores writing style which is easy to read and understand. I will admit that Russian history has always intimidated me, however after reading this, I feel more comfortable and ready to delve a little bit further into that history.

Obviously it is a large book, covering some 300 years of the Romanovs, but even at this size cannot delve into each Romanov in great depth, but now I have completed this book I feel better prepared to read a full biography of peter the Great or Catherine the Great., and hope to do so shortly..

I have heard that there are a few mistakes in the book, but this is not a major problem and shouldn’t put any one off reading it. It did take me over 3 weeks to read this, but about 100 pages was source notes and bibliography.

If you are interested in the history of the Romanovs then I do recommend this book, but be prepared as it is a very big book.

I gave this 4 out of 5*

 

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