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.
'This magnificent and magisterial history . . . is a wonderfully ambitious account of 300 years of Russian history . . . an authoritative and gripping account of the Romanovs. This is a superb book and it will surely become the definitive work''This splendidly colourful and energetic book . . . is structured simply, as a helter-skelter chronological narrative of 300 years. Sebag Montefiore expertly selects the best (most shocking, bizarre, sensationally theatrical) bits from that long history . . . Sebag Montefiore rises to the gaudy, gruesome subject matter, pulling all the stops out . . . Sebag Montefiore is alive to the way his story resonates across time, from Genghis Khan to Gorbachev, but he doesn't allow his erudition to hold up the narrative's gallop . . . with great gifts for encapsulating a character and storytelling con brio''A new book from Simon Sebag Montefiore is something of a literary event these days . . . His latest project is in some ways his most ambitious yet . . . However it's one that [he] pulls off with aplomb. As much a riveting read as a prodigious work of scholarship . . . he could not have picked a better time to publish this epic and enthralling history of a dynasty that rose up drenched in blood and died out in exactly the same manner''The entire Romanov dynasty is a marvellously rich bag of deshabille, despotism and occasional diplomacy, as Simon Sebag Montefiore's feisty history brilliantly displays . . . Countless illuminating details, gleaned through arduous dedication to scarcely used archives, stud the pages of The Romanovs . . . immensely enjoyable . . . full-blooded and totally enthralling''An obvious work of great scholarship and research''A comprehensive overview of the Romanov dynasty . . . which skilfully interweaves the personal with the political . . . Montefiore is the perfect author for a book of the ambition and scope of The Romanovs . . . The Romanovs is old-fashioned narrative history at its colourful and unpretentious best. Montefiore is a wonderful guide . . . the writing sparkles . . . The Romanovs deserves the best praise any book can get: it never bores . . . Montefiore has much to say about political machinations as he does about personal friendships and love which lifts his work far above drily academic history''Simon Sebag Montefiore has written a magisterial account of unlimited power and sexual decadence based on a remarkable correspondence''From dramatic rise to revolutionary fall, 20 autocratic Romanov tsars and tsarinas ruled over three centuries of blood-soaked war and brutal peace, breathtaking riches and absolute power, passionate love and ruthless ambition, madness and decadence. With ease and expertise, Simon Sebag Montefiore brazenly presents the Romanov royal history as a mesmerising family saga, always spectacular and finally in 1918, tragic''It's like reading 20 riveting, plot-thickening novels in the space of one volume. And the packaging looks equally scintillating''As Simon Sebag Montefiore demonstrates in this magnificent, sweeping history, the Russian royal family was a remarkable dynasty, turning a vast but backward country into a mighty empire capable of defeating Napoleon at the zenith of its power. Despite the extraordinary depth and range of his research, the author avoids the dryness of more academic volumes. Instead he embarks on a rollicking, racy narrative across more than three centuries of Romanov rule, weaving a tale that is packed with salacious gossip and gruesome details''As Simon Sebag Montefiore shows in this superlative account of the last royal dynasty that attempted the task, Russia is not an easy place to rule . . . In part, the book is a vivid family chronicle of court life full of extraordinary stories . . . a sparkling narrative of 300 years of glittering opulence and majesty, as well as thoughtless waste and frivolity . . . He is a shrewd analyst of high politics - and the low cunning needed by successful leaders . . . I read much of this book grateful that the dynasty was about to fall - until I remembered the worse horrors that followed after the Revolution''Panoramic . . . Montefiore tells it compellingly''In a brilliant introductory essay, Sebag Montefiore discusses the principle of tsarist autocracy, the limits of imperial power, the challenges of succession and the operation of government . . . Sebag Montefiore's book is an immensely entertaining read . . . it features some of the most outrageous characters you are likely to find in a history book . . . The story of the last Romanovs has been told a thousand times, yet it is a tribute to Sebag Montefiore's skill as a narrator that you turn the pages with horrified fascination''A glorious history of the Romanov dynasty bursting with blood, sex and tears''Simon Sebag Montefiore's blockbuster history of the Romanov dynasty arrives with exquisite timing . . . The historian's account of the last months, days and hours of the Romanovs will not disappoint ... [and] show Sebag Montefiore's narrative bravado at its scintillating best. There is unlikely to have been a racier account of how the last Romanovs met their end . . . Masterly''A very lively story. This retelling could hardly be more timely . . . To make the most of the dramatic nature of his story, Simon Sebag Montefiore has hit upon the ingenious idea of dividing the history of the Romanovs into three acts, with numerous scenes in each - more like a play than a 700-word series of biographies . . . Dr Sebag Montefiore has proved himself a chronicler worthy of their achievements and, for his readers, revealed a fascinating, if doomed, imperial cavalcade''This history of Russia's famous (and infamous) dynasty is compelling, accessible stuff, covering its huge timespan and vast cast of characters in typically vibrant fashion. It's insightful about the continuing legacy of the Romanovs in Russia today, too''In another great work of history, Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem, tells the bloody and decadent stories of the 20 tsars and tsarinas of Russia's last imperial dynasty. The Romanovs is like 20 gripping novels in one''Hugely entertaining history that takes savage delight in its tales of human pleasure and suffering''Power, sex and death - you certainly can't say that the Romanovs, who ruled Russia for over three centuries, led quiet lives . . . Drawing on new evidence it paints a vivid portrait of a remarkable, and ultimately doomed, dynasty''Russian history is as colourful and dramatic as any novel and anyone who has enjoyed the excellent recent TV adaptation of War and Peace should be directed towards Simon Sebag Montefiore's lively The Romanovs which details the madness, cruelty, excess and deceit that would prove the undoing of the dynasty that ruled Russia for more than 300 years''Anecdotal, gossipy, irreverent . . . this sumptuous, old-fashioned narrative history is wonderful entertainment. From its earliest days in the seventeenth century to its brutal downfall during the First World War, Simon Sebag Montefiore is an observant, fluent and knowledgeable guide to the Romanov dynasty''Dazzlingly definitive''Simon Sebag Montefiore's 700-plus page account of the gory, greedy, gut-wrenching and occasionally glorious antics of the Romanov tsars uses previously untapped archives to make Game of Thrones seem like Milly-Molly-Mandy''Historian Simon Sebag Montefiore dives enticingly into the world of the Russian Romanov family, the most successful dynasty of modern times, who once ruled a sixth of the world's surface. This richly multi-layered and gripping family chronicle covers the lives of 20 tsars and tsarinas, revealing a secret world of unlimited power and ruthless ambition''[Montefiore] reveals in marvellous detail and meticulous documentation the 300 years of Romanov dynastic survival . . . he writes so well, sometimes with a thrilling impulsion''A sparkling narrative full of tantrums, tsars and tiaras''This enthralling and gruesome book mixes sexual exploits, torture, war, betrayal and diplomacy. It partly describes how Russia morphed from miserable weakling into mighty empire. But it is mainly the story of the personalities: the cruelty of Ivan the Terrible, the unstoppable willpower of Peter the Great, and then Catherine, perhaps more deservedly "the Great" for her brains, charm, vision and sex drive. Sebag Montefiore's thesis, broadly, is that Russia's vastness leads to outsize politics: autocracy tempered by strangulation" as Madame de Stael puts it''It takes true historical daring to tackle such an immense subject . . . Montefiore's novelistic gift of drawing vivid characters with a few choice words never fails him . . . The main portraits are invariably memorable . . . spellbinding . . . This monumental work is an essential addition to the library of anyone interested in Russian history and the doomed dynasty of Romanovs''Sebag Montefiore paints an unforgettable portrait of characters fascinating and charismatic, odd and odious. Magnificent palaces, elaborate balls, and a culture that produced Pushkin, Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy existed alongside pogroms, torture and murder . . . Erudite and entertaining''Wonderfully written and fascinating down to the last footnote . . . [Montefiore's] style is polished, lively, informed . . . Montefiore is an accomplished storyteller, and what might have been a plodding succession of reigns reads instead like a novel - specifically, in its interplay of themes and motifs, and especially its pairing of opposites, like Gabriel GarcÃa MÃ¡rquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude . . . 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''A fascinating psychological study of this succession of megalomaniacs, madmen and mediocrities . . . He writes with knowledge and gusto''A rollicking look at one of the most successful - and violent - regimes in history''The ill-starred Romanovs are revealed in their full pomp and perversity''[A] joyful romp through 300 years of the dynasty's epic follies''A superlative history of the last royal dynasty to govern Russia, brimming with extraordinary stories of murder and torture, sex and excess, featuring madmen, monsters megalomaniacs and fanatics. This is an epic story of 300 years of high politics and low cunning - War and Peace meets Game of Thrones''This was a world of sibling rivalry, ruthless ambition, lurid excess and sadistic depravity; a world of impostors, false prophets, giants, freaks, wizards and nymphomaniacs. More than just a story about a dysfunctional royal family, this book is an examination of the Russian addiction to autocracy. Historians, embarrassed by Romanov excesses, often censor the truth. Not Montefiore''Simon Sebag Montefiore's superb The Romanovs covers the whole extraordinary three-century saga of those often ruthless libidinous and expansionist tsars in gruesome, eye-popping detail'[Montefiore's] vivid descriptions of the savage ways of old Russia belie an immense scholarshipAn absorbing history of the dynasty that ruled Russia for 300 years. Along the way we meet the great, the good, the not so good and the downright appalling, who took a vast wilderness, far beyond the horizon, and turned it into a world power, until the world turned on them. Unputdownable.A cruel history of hereditary power, by a master storyteller who lifts this unfamiliar narrative with vivid, amusing and surprising details
This meticulously researched account of Russian history from the 17th to the 20th century makes
Game Of Thrones seem staid by comparison. Beneath the astonishing wealth of historical detail
runs the constant theme of the impossible challenge, even for a dynasty of autocrats, of ruling the
'ever-expanding, multi-faith, multi-ethnic empire' that was Russia
|Simon Sebag Montefiore