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The Romanovs: 1613-1918 - A New Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Romanovs
The Romanovs visiting a regiment during World War I. From left to right, Grand Duchess Anastasia, Grand Duchess Olga, Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarevich Alexei, Grand Duchess Tatiana, and Grand Duchess Maria, and Kuban Cossacks

The Imperial Russian family, the Romanovs, have been a focal point for speculation, wonder, and intrigue for centuries. In their history of 300 plus years the family changed Russian history, and the history of the world forever. In his new book British historian, Simon Sebag Montefiore enlightened readers as to the life and times of the Royal Romanov family, as well as their exploits. His book, The Romanovs: 1613-1918, observes the family from a new perspective, by viewing the geopolitical, personal, and characteristic details of the family’s rise to power, and the cause of their untimely fall in 1918.

According to Montefiore, his new book is “ a story of slaughter and magnificence, love, diamonds and death, empire and tragedy.” The author’s biggest obstacle in writing the book was turning the enormous amount of information available,  into a book that readers would enjoy reading. As for the Romanovs, each individual ruler had their own lifestyle, personality, politics and splendor. Montefiore’s uncanny ability to capture the character and mindsets of his subjects,  have given him great success in his previous books. So, it stands to reason this latest volume will likewise be successful.

Montefiore’s vivid narrative style in combination with his meticulous research give his biographies a new flavour and take on history, enabling readers to enjoy the books, while learning in depth details of the subjects.

The Romanovs: 1613-1918Inspired and influenced by Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Montefiore new piece to tell the true story behind the novel, that of Russian royalty and it’s influence on history and culture. His fascination has lead to a number of books about the Russian royal family, as well as other novels inspired by true events.

Montefiore’s new take on the tragedy and excessiveness of the Romanovs reveals these ruler’s true characters. The author’s favorite among these is none other than Peter the Great, of whom the author says; “Peter the Great was both terrifying and brilliant- he killed his own son and had a beautiful mistress beheaded, yet made Russia a great power.”

The daunting feat of compacting 300 years of Russian history into a biography of the Romanov family seems to have been not enough for Montefiore, his next non-fiction work will be a history of the world. On this upcoming task, the author simply quipped, “Yes, it is ambitious. The point is not to.. plod through every event, but to write a new sort of history.”