The Romanovs: 1613-1918
- Narrated by: Simon Russell Beale
- Length: 28 hrs and 45 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 03-03-16
- Language: English
- Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
This is the intimate story of 20 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, from Ivan the Terrible to Tolstoy, from Queen Victoria to Lenin.
To rule Russia was both imperial-sacred mission and poisoned chalice. Six tsars were murdered, and all the Romanovs lived under constant threat to their lives. Peter the Great tortured his own son to death while making Russia an empire and dominated his court with a dining club notable for compulsory drunkenness, naked dwarfs and fancy dress. Catherine the Great overthrew her own husband - who was murdered soon afterwards - loved her young male favourites, conquered Ukraine and fascinated Europe. Paul was strangled by courtiers backed by his own son, Alexander I, who faced Napoleon's invasion and the burning of Moscow, then went on to take Paris. Alexander II liberated the serfs, survived five assassination attempts, and wrote perhaps the most explicit love letters ever written by a ruler.
The Romanovs: 1613-1918 climaxes with a fresh, unforgettable portrayal of Nicholas and Alexandra, the rise and murder of Rasputin, war and revolution - and the harrowing massacre of the entire family. Written with dazzling literary flair, drawing on new archival research, The Romanovs: 1613-1918 is at once an enthralling story of triumph and tragedy, love and death, a universal study of power and an essential portrait of the empire that still defines Russia today.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By H L Condliffe on 03-06-16
Fantastic content and narration
Fantastic if you have even the slightest interest in Russian history. Yes, the narrator speaks quickly but it's well over 24 hours long, there's so much content he has to! So much interesting detail, never boring, and I've learned so much. I love this audio book and would thoroughly recommend.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Alistair on 09-04-16
A very interesting story told poorly
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
No because as much as I love the Russian history depicted in this book, the narrator was reading the book far too fast. it quite often sounded like I had accidentally increased the speed of the narration on the Audible app.
It is somewhat disappointing since the narrator sounds incredibly bored even when it is discussing some of the most exciting parts of the history be they murders or intense political plans for succession or peace after a long war.
What other book might you compare The Romanovs: 1613-1918 to, and why?
The comparison might seem odd but the closest comparison I can think of is SPQR: A History Of Ancient Rome. The reason is simply that it takes an interesting and engaging historical story and makes It sound boring. In fact SPQR is more interesting as its author attempts to give their opinion on events rather than simply reel them off like it is required for an assignment.
If this book were a film would you go see it?
I'm not sure about a film but I have seen the author discuss various topics in television documentaries for the BBC. Those are much more engaging because it is clear that the author finds the topics personally fascinating and he attempts to explain why events happened or what could have happened if things had been different.
16 of 18 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Mikael on 06-12-17
Very fascinating story and good performance overall. Could have been a little less about the last tsars.
By Joseph on 20-08-17
informative history of the Tsars
good narration. kept me interested till the end. highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Russian history