The Romanovs: 1613-1918

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He demonstrated that gift in earlier books, for example describing the prolonged death of Joseph Stalin in The Court of the Red Tsar , a horrific farce that assimilates a dozen or more firsthand perspectives. Embodied in the holy spirit of the tsar, in whom all authority resided, Russian nationalism held off invaders and maintained order and some version of justice for two centuries. Autocracy eventually, belatedly, ended serfdom, and led Russia into the modern era — and to disaster.

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The Romanovs is a study of autocratic government itself, and its fatal reliance on inherited merit. In fact, as many readers probably know, if Catherine the Great's son Paul was the offspring of her lover Saltykov, which he probably was, rather than of her husband Peter III, the Romanov bloodline ended not in but in As democratic and revolutionary thinking spread through Europe in the 19th century, the Romanovs chose not to reform Russia's system, but to entrench their authority.

They paid a significant price. Montefiore portrays an entire family relentlessly stalked by assassins "like wild game" — and growing ever more insular, inclusive and incompetent.

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Like a novel, too, this is a hard book to put down. As historical reconstruction and as storytelling, The Romanovs is an achievement of the first rank.

The Romanovs: 1613-1918 (Hardcover)

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The only comprehensive history of the Romanovs, it is lavishly illustrated and amazingly good value. Those interested in the broader history of Russia will also find it interesting, though not as enlightening as it could have been. Geoffrey Roberts is professor of history at University College Cork. We use cookies to personalise content, target and report on ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic.

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The Romanovs: by Simon Sebag Montefiore - Books - Hachette Australia

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CGI - The Romanovs 1613 - 1918: A Talk with Simon Sebag Montefiore

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