The Romanovs: 1613-1918
I first became hooked on history books as a result of reading Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. After that, I followed Larson’s other books – not thinking I would find anyone else that sparked my interest quite as powerfully in the history genre – then came Simon Sebag Montefiore. The Romanovs, a family with a dark history and tragic fate, seemed to be a good starting point for some thrilling insight into the period of their reign: the dysfunction and treachery that only seems fitting in a particular HBO drama. While this 784-page volume documenting the Romanov reign seemed daunting, Montefiore had a way of appealing to a wider audience.
I was interested in the Romanov monarchy, but I suppose I wasn’t expecting as much focus on each individual family member. I would have liked to see more historical and political context, but I know Montefiore was also trying to demonstrate the effects power of this kind can have on a person. It is a fascinating read that is compelling, concise, and well-researched – I only wish I was more well-versed in this period before having read about the key players. But for what Montefiore was trying to accomplish, I cannot speak highly enough about his book.
|Simon Sebag Montefiore
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