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The Romanovs: 1613-1918

The Romanovs: 1613-1918 - Simon Sebag Montefiore Simon Sebag Montefiore's blockbuster history of the Romanov dynasty was a great choice for me to read prior to my much anticipated trip to St. Petersburg next month. I had been looking for a book on the Romanov dynasty and this was exactly what I was looking for. It's a unique and compelling read and quite a shocking insight into all twenty of the Romanov tsars and tsarinas.

Some books especially non fiction need to be read in good old fashioned paperback in order to get the best out of them and the Romanoves is a prime example.
I originally purchased this on Audio but very quickly realized this was a mistake and switched to the hardback edition. I was so glad I did as each chapter is prefaced with a cast list and I found this extremely helpful as there is a vast amount of characters in each chapter and I found myself consulting the Cast List on numerous occasions to remind myself of who was who and I think this is reflected in the length of time it took me to complete this book. I also enjoyed the inclusion of the Family tree, maps and illustrations which really added to the enjoyment of the book and are so important additions for the reader.

From the first paragraph of the Introduction I was hooked...........

" It was hard to be a tsar. Russia is not an easy country to rule. Twenty sovereigns of the Romanov dynasty reigned for 304 years, from 1613 until tsardom's destruction. by the revolution in 1917" The Romanovs were actually the most spectacularly successful empire builders since the Mongols",

This is an epic history of The House of Romanov which was the second dynasty, after the Rurik dynasty, to rule over Russia, and ruled from 1613 until the abdication of Czar Nicholas II on March 15, 1917, as a result of the February Revolution. its packed full of facts and intrigue and details that any reader who enjoys reading about the Romanov family from its begining until its shocking massacare of the entile family in 1918 may well find this a very interesting read. Its also a story of power, love, lust sex and violence and greed and I was at times quite shocked by the debauchery and cruelty of the time although I had come accross it in other accounts of the Romanov family its seems more highlighted in this account and may not be for the feint hearted.

A very comprehensive and detailed book and therefore a slow but extremely satisfying read for me. Its perfectly paced and meticulously researched and while it could have been a slog with such a vast amount of information and details to pack in, the author manages to bring Russian Histroy and the house of Romanov to life in a most unique and modern way and I found myself engrossed throughout.

Delighted I had the opportunity to read this before my visit to St. Petersburg and looking forward to visiting a number of places mentioned in the book.