Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore

I guess this is one of the books that I'm not fated to own (it sounds dramatic but it's the best translation I can think of for 没有缘). I saw it in a bookstore while on transit, but balked at buying it because of the high price. I decided instead to keep an eye out for it in London, to see if it was cheaper. Guess what? On the first train we boarded, the guy opposite me was reading this. But alas, I didn't see it in any of the bookstores I went to. Like I said, no fate.

Luckily, this book was available as an ebook from the library and I managed to borrow and read it on the flight back.

The Romanovs is a chronical of the Romanov dynasty, covering roughly 500 years and twenty tsars and tsarinas. As you can imagine, this is a huge topic which means that this is a huge book. Even so, there isn't much space to dive deep into any one person - each tsar/tsarina deserve their own book - but there is enough detail to understand the life and rule of each person and the people close to them. Each chapter starts with a 'cast' of people, although I didn't really look at the lists of names.

And wow, these people led very tumultuous lives. I'm actually surprised there aren't more dramas about them (or maybe there are and I just don't know). Almost every Tsar/Tsrarina's life was filled with intrigued and danger, from the first Romanov who didn't want the throne, to the last.

Tsar Nicholas II probably gets the most amount of page space, with the book opening with him (to parallel the first tsar) and the last few chapters about him and his families' life and death. Otherwise, each Tsar/Tsarina gets an equal amount of screen time. The book could probably go into a lot more depth, but it's long enough as it is.

I would actually be really interested in seeing this book become a series of biographies. What I read about the Romanovs is fascinating and I would like to know more about then. Or perhaps I should just look for the biographies on my own.


  1. If you liked this one I suggest reading The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport. She goes into extreme detail about them :)

    1. Oooh, thanks for the suggestion! That sounds really good!


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