Author Topic: Alix and Nicky: The Passion of the Last Tsar and Tsarina by Virgina Rounding  (Read 12070 times)

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Offline primrose

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I've just begun to read this book, there's a nice plug for the AP Forum in the Introduction and great photographs, mostly from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale.

primrose
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

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Offline Geniebeanie

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I got it on my Kindle Fire and aleady finished it.  Loved it.

Offline Suzanne

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I just finished reading this book and enjoyed it. Rounding discusses aspects of Nicholas and Alexandra's marriage that have not received enough attention in previous works such as the couple's friendship with Anna Viroubova, the precise nature of Alexandra's health problems (although the unhelpful term "hysteria" is still employed in a few instances), and their artistic and literary tastes. It was very interesting to know how their tastes in sentimental novels compared to the avant-garde cultural millieu of the broader Russian aristocracy. Rounding also uses sources that have been underutilized by previous authors such as Spiridovich, Hanbury-Williams, and the reports concerning the Imperial family in the British press.

My only criticism concerns the structure and footnotes of the book. At first it appears that Rounding is adopting a thematic approach to the material, addressing issues such as Russian mysticism and Alexandra's health but subsequent chapters address Alexei's birth, Bloody Sunday, and the opening of the Duma chronologically before returning to Nicholas and Alexandra's courtship in Chapter 5, which is called, "Beginnings." After this chapter, the work follows a chronological framework, except when it skips over the years covered in the opening four chapters such as 1913 and 1905. This approach would be particularly confusing for a reader learning about Nicholas and Alexandra for the first time and often results in the repetition of material. (For example, Queen Victoria's influence over Alexandra in both the health chapter and the  "Beginnings" chapter). I made a similar critique of the structure of "The Russian Court at Sea" elsewhere on this forum. Also, I would have been interested to read Rounding's full footnotes and bibliography as there were some sections that I was interested to learn more about, such as the author's argument that the Imperial children were left "alone" with Rasputin, which I never thought was the case, considering the vast number of servants and security personnell surrounding the Imperial family at all times - and the number of people gossiping about Rasputin's visits to the nurseries.

Overall, an enjoyable read with an interesting new perspective on the Imperial couple.

Offline Suzanne

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Offline Georgiy

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It made for a very interesting read, and a different perspective from Nicholas and ALexandra. A couple of errors that would need to be fixed for the next edition are the implication a couple of times that Alexandra was the third daughter of Princess Alice, and that Joy was shot at Ekaterinburg. Other than that a thumbs up!

Offline LisaDavidson

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I am still reading it, but other than the structural issues mentioned by "Suzanne", it has some terrific insights and is a good read so far.

Offline VR2009

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Well, it's a great relief to me you like it!

Virginia
Virginia Rounding
Author of "Alix and Nicky: The Passion of the Last Tsar and Tsarina"

Offline EmmyLee

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I'm still reading it, but I can say that I'm enjoying it. I agree with Suzanne about the structure of the book, because I don't understand why it started with those chapters and then skipped back to the Beginning.

Offline LisaDavidson

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Virgina, I'm so glad you are posting here! I always get nervous when members are posting their opinions about my writing, and I hope our candor won't bother you.

Offline s.v.markov

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I've had problems acquiring a copy here in UK, but at last one has arrived today (via an importing company). I'm so looking forward to getting started : I had the same feelings of anticipation and excitement as a student in 1967 (Massie), as a teacher in 1996 (Maylunas and Mironenko), and now as a retired person in 2012 (Rounding)......If no-one hears from me for a week or so, you know I'm immersed..,.......!

Offline koloagirl

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Aloha from Kaua'i!

I ordered the "sample" chapters for my Kindle to see if I wanted to purchase it - and enjoyed them so much that I decided I should
actually order the "book" for my library - rather than Kindle!

Just got it yesterday and am looking forward very much to reading it!

Janet R.
Janet R.

Offline Louis_Charles

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Just finished it, and enjoyed it very much. I tend to agree with the criticisms of the book's structure, but the content was so interesting that the structure became less obtrusive as I read. It was too short, actually --- clearly Roundling has all sorts of interesting perspectives about the relationship (she is sharply critical of AF by the war years, and I would have enjoyed further insight into how Nicholas "dealt" with his wife's meddling), and this was by far and away the best analysis of the relationship of the imperial couple with Vyroubova. Even then, the relationship makes no sense.

Good job!

Simon
"Simon --- Classy AND Compassionate!"
   
"The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, so take snacks and a magazine."

Offline Griae

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This moning I finished my copy of 'Alix and Nicky' and I must say I really liked it. I like that fact that the author really tried to give a different perspective of the events and tried to focus on different aspects.
I enjoyed the chapters about Alix' health, or Nicholas' character. And I was very much intrigued by the analasys of the friendship with Anna Vyrubova.
I do have the same problem the others already mentioned, the overlap in things caused by first a couple of chapters about certain topics, and then some chapters starting again with the beginning.

But I liked the writing style and I enjoyed reading it very much. For me, this is a good addition to me Romanov collection.

greetings, Bettina

Offline imperial angel

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I enjoyed the more personal(and less political) info about N and A.The Anna Vyrubova part was interesting, but I don't believe it included a part from the Count Alexander Grabbe book, The Private World of the Last Tsar(mentioned in the bibliography) on p.163 that might have been interesting about Anna V not only making Alexandra unhappy about her and the Tsar, but also trying to make her jealous about the Tsar and someone he had never even met! The chronology of the book would be confusing a bit to Romanov newbies, but they could always read Massie's book on N and A first.I suppose the chronology of the book was like it is in an attempt to be different from other Romanov books as so much has been said.It's not confusing if you have read a couple books about the Romanovs though.

Offline GrandDuchessIsabelle

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Read this recently and thoroughly enjoyed it, very well written. One thing I noticed through was how Anya Vyrubova was portrayed. I had always thought of her as a puppy: affectionate, loving and selfless but this books seemed to show her as the opposite: manipulative, demanding and sullen. Did I miss something or have I just been very blind?
'Olga is hitting Maria, and Maria is shouting like an idiot. A dragoon and a big idiot.'
Anastasia Nikolaevna 28/10/1914

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