The Romanovs

Written by Virginia Cowles

For over 300 years, the Romanov family ruled over Russia.

Its glittering Tsars and Tsarinas were autocratic despots, who between them embraced all the vices (and too few of the virtues) of absolute rulers.

Their name has become a byword for excess, avarice and cruelty, they have aroused intrigue and horror in equal measure.

Virginia Cowles offers a portrait gallery of the outstanding members of this incredible family — from Alexis (a Tartar in his wrath) and Peter the Great (a terrifying giant) to the nymphomaniac Catherine and the doomed Nicholas II, last of the Tsars.

Their domination of Russia was brought to an end in March 1917, as a result of the February Revolution. Of the 65 family members, 18 were killed by the Bolsheviks and the remaining 47 were exiled abroad.

Delving behind the mass of obscure and unfamiliar historical detail, she reveals the characters and personal ties behind these strange, and often daunting, figures.

She looks beyond what is written about them in the history books and explores how their family lives and secrets affected the entirety of Russia and its many citizens.

‘Recounted at great speed, and with splendid life, vigour and readability’ – Antonia Fraser, Evening Standard

Virginia Spencer Cowles OBE was a noted American journalist, biographer, and travel writer. During her long career, Cowles went from covering fashion, to covering the Spanish Civil War, the turbulent period in Europe leading up to World War II, and the entire war. After the war, she published a number of critically acclaimed biographies of historical figures.

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