Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Alexandra by Carolly Erickson. Get A Copy. Published by St Martin's Press first published September 5th More Details Original Title. Alexandra Feodorovna. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Alexandra , please sign up. Does anyone feel as though Alexandra may have been misunderstood?
I am not saying that she is completely innocent by. I mean, she lost her mom young- though Queen Victoria was a motherly icon to her, she did not grow up with a mother essentially. Alexandra was also not "groomed" for Empress court life like many other princesses of the time were. See 1 question about Alexandra…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jul 11, Madeline rated it did not like it Shelves: history-nonfiction.
When it comes to Russian history, my knowledge base is not so much "spotty" as it is "basically nonexistent. Alexandra: The Last Tsarina was the second, and before that my only source for information about the Romanovs came from the Royal Diaries series the Anastasia one was really good, though and one historic fiction book about them that I read in middle school.
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Add to When it comes to Russian history, my knowledge base is not so much "spotty" as it is "basically nonexistent. Add to that a National Geographic article that I read back when the Romanov remains had been found and identified, and there you have the entire breadth of my Romanov knowledge prior to reading this book. So in that sense, I appreciated this book because just about every piece of information presented was new to me, and I was glad to finally learn something real about this doomed family.
As the title suggests, Alexandra is the focus of the book - it begins with her childhood when she lost her parents at a young age, then we get a bit about her education and some of her family drama including her grandmother, Queen Victoria , and then her extended courtship with Nicholas and how she became the empress of Russia. Throughout the book, Erickson describes Nicholas's attempts to rule effectively, Alexandra's increasing unpopularity with the Russian people, the wars and growing discontent, and Alexandra's attempts to control her husband's policies with the assistance of Rasputin, of course.
It's all good information, and the story was able to keep me interested throughout - the last few chapters are especially engrossing, just because of how goddamn sad they are. You're reading about the imperial family being held under house arrest, constantly being threatened by their own guards and thinking they'll be killed any second, and then England is like, "Yeah, you guys can totally have asylum here! We're sending a ship next week! So, to the uniformed eye, this seems like a really good, solid biography of a much-maligned woman.
Here's the problem: Carolly Erikson is a terrible historian. One of her sources used in this book is the memoirs of Martha Mouchanov, a former lady-in-waiting of Alexandra. She provides a lot of personal details about the empress's state of mind and the inner workings of the palace, and it seems like a great primary source. Unfortunately, as other reviews have informed me, not only are Mouchanov's memoirs completely fabricated, but this was known before this book was written.
So Erikson took an unreliable source and presented it as reliable, because it helped her case of presenting Alexandra as a more sympathetic figure.
Alexandra Federovna: The Last Tsarina
Similarly, Erikson will frequently make a statement about Alexandra's thought process or emotions at a certain time, with no actual evidence to back it up, and you get the sense that she's just projecting her own emotions onto Alexandra. There's no in-depth examination of why Alexandra thought that she was the most qualified person to rule Russia, Erikson merely tells us that Alexandra thought she could rule better than her husband and moves on. There's really no critical analysis of anyone here - Rasputin, clearly the most enigmatic and fascinating figure in this whole fiasco, is examined only at surface level.
Was he playing a long con on Alexandra, trying to manipulate her into destroying the country? Why did he begin by refusing large gifts of money and titles and later get greedier and more demanding? Did he really believe that he was a holy man and a healer, or was he an imposter all along?
Alexandra - The Last Tsarina - AbeBooks - Carolly Erickson:
And most importantly, how was he able to miraculously heal Alexei when no one else could? I realize that these questions haven't been given definite answers, but a little acknowledgement of them would have been nice. There's no definite closure to the story - it ends with the Romanov's execution spoiler alert! Between those two events, there's nothing: how the Romanov's bodies were disposed of and hidden, how they were discovered, who was identified and who's still missing and why, not even any information about what happened to the rest of the extended family.
It felt unfinished and unsatisfying. This book shouldn't have been nonfiction. Erikson should have just admitted defeat and written a historic fiction novel about Alexandra, because that's basically what she's done anyway - even the writing feels like overwrought fiction, like this passage: "The warm June sun continued to shine down over the domes and rooftops of Moscow, but now it was a city in mourning, and the crows, bloated and sated, floated like dark wraiths in the cloudless blue sky.
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We're not very good. One last thing, and then I'll put this book out of its misery: Erikson, for some god-unknown reason, insists on calling Alexandra and Nicholas "Alix" and "Nicky" throughout the book. Maybe this is acceptable among Romanov biographers, but it felt jarringly personal to me - imagine reading a Tudor biography that referred to Henry VIII as "Harry. View all 5 comments. May 12, Anna rated it did not like it Shelves: russian-history , biographies-and-memoirs. I disliked the writing immensily, it reads too much like historical fiction and at times Erickson cites sources that have been for years known as dubious, if not completely fake, namely Marfa Mouchanow's memoirs.
And apparently Erickson knew they were unreliable, and used them anyways - but of course these fabricated memoirs are where the fun and shocking comments come from It can be amusing and it's an easy read, but absolutely not a good source for true, reliable information on the last Tsa I disliked the writing immensily, it reads too much like historical fiction and at times Erickson cites sources that have been for years known as dubious, if not completely fake, namely Marfa Mouchanow's memoirs.
It can be amusing and it's an easy read, but absolutely not a good source for true, reliable information on the last Tsarina of Russia. I really regret spending money on it.
View 1 comment. Jun 26, Maris rated it it was amazing. A devastating story, but completely mesmerizing. Erickson weaves so much of Russian history and culture as she shapes the character of Empress Alexandra. Alexandra herself is complex and tragic, as is the story of her family's fate. An excellent biography.
Sep 10, Faten Eassa rated it it was amazing.
Very interesting and imformative. Through Alexandra's live we know about Queen Victoria, Alexandra's life in Germany before her marriage to Prince Nicholas and their life together from the start portaying life in Russia, the birth of their children and the tragedy of her son. We know so many secrets about the Royal Family and the real causes behind the Soviet Russia which so many people should know about.
The style is really interesting. Good book. At the tender age of 13 I fell in love with Nicholas and Alexandra and their children reading Readers Digest while baby sitting. This is the best account of Alex's life I have read. Carrolly Erickson's ability to write a biography that reads like fiction is amazing. The author does a great job making this accessible and readable. It felt like reading a novel rather than a biography.
She did a fantastic amount of research but also brought real emotion into the characters. If I had to lis in My Thoughts: I thought the book was fantastic. If I had to list a downside it was that it was a little overly melodramatic, but as far as I know, that is how they all are because that is how these people were.
The Tsarina's blind faith in Rasputin led her to seek his counsel not only in personal matters but also on questions of state policy.