Nicholas and Alexandra Critical Context - Essay

Robert K. Massie

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

The success of Massie’s book may be traced to the public’s fascination with the agony of old Russia on the eve of its assassination. The book was published in 1967, the fiftieth anniversary of the fall of the dynasty to the revolutionaries. Numerous editions and printings have been issued, as in 1989 when, with the imminent fall of communism, there was a renewed interest in Russia’s last royal family.

Massie was aided in this work by his wife, Suzanne, whose own interest in Russia resulted in a photographic essay on the old regime, Land of the Firebird (1980). Together, they published Journey (1975), a work about hemophilia among children. The interest of this husband and wife in the fate of the last Russian royal family is partly suggested by the fact that one of their children suffered from the same disease that afflicted young Alexis.

After the successful reception of this work and of a British film version in 1971, Massie continued his research into the Romanov family to produce his massive study of the most famous czar of Russia, Peter the Great: His Life and World (1980). In 1982, he wrote the introduction for the notes of Vyrubova, entitled The Romanov Family Album.