Russian Royal Classics . . . and then there were three!

Following the 1917 Revolution, a number of prominent persons who served at the Court of Emperor Nicholas II, as well as members of the Russian nobility wrote their memoirs in exile. Their writings provided curious readers in Britain, Europe and America with eyewitness accounts of the private world of the last Tsar and his family, and life in Imperial Russia.

Following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the subsequent discovery of the remains of the Imperial Family, a whole new generation of Romanovphiles emerged. Their quest for knowledge was often met with disappointment, as by the 1990s, those memoirs which were originally published in the 1920s and 1930s were long out of print.

As a result, I embarked on a new series of 12 of the most popular titles and aptly named them as my Russian Royal Classics series. Each title was copied exactly from its original, complete with photos. I had the series published as library editions: a hard cover book having a superior quality of paper, binding, but without a dust jacket.

The series proved popular with Romanovophiles, so much so that out of the 12 original titles published, I have copies of only 3 remaining in stock. Once they are gone, there will be no reprints.

Below, I have provided a summary of each of these titles, and links to order in either US or Canadian dollars. In addition, I have provided a link to download and print an order form, for those who prefer to pay by personal check. The books are priced at $25 each + shipping and handling. Order information located at the bottom of this page.

LIFE & TRAGEDY OF ALEXANDRA FEODOROVNA
by Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden

*THIS EDITION IS A HARD-COVER REPRINT OF THE ORIGINAL 1928 EDITION

Hard Cover Edition. 360 pages. Illustrated with 18 black and white photographs!

The intimate life of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna is told by the Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden who became acquainted with the Empress in 1904, and appointed a lady-in-waiting in 1913.

From the outbreak of the Revolution, the Baroness shared the captivity of the Imperial Family at the Alexander Palace, remaining with them till May 1918 — just before the regicide at Ekaterinburg — when, with other members of the household, she was forcibly separated from them.

This book is in part a vindication of the Empress, contrasting her devotion to her husband and his country and the affection felt for her by those who really knew her, with the widespread rumours of her unpopularity and the part she played in bringing about the calamity which had overwhelmed Russia.

Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden (1883-1956), served as a lady in waiting to the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. She was often chosen by the Empress to accompany the four grand duchesses on official duties. Sophie Buxhoeveden was the author of two other memoirs about the Imperial family and about her own escape from Russia: Left Behind: Fourteen Months in Siberia. December 1917-February 1919 (1929) and Before the Storm (1938).

MY RUSSIAN LIFE
by Princess Marie Bariatinsky

*THIS EDITION IS A HARD-COVER REPRINT OF THE ORIGINAL 1923 EDITION

Hard Cover Edition. 351 pages. Illustrated with 18 black and white photographs!

This remains one of the most interesting memoirs written by a member of the Russian aristocracy, featuring fascinating details about Princess Marie Bariatinsky’s (1876-1933) life in Tsarist Russia, and her impressions of the Imperial Family.
The author’s husband was a personal friend of Tsar Nicholas II, so that both Prince and Princess Bariatinsky attended all the important Court functions. The Tsar’s Coronation, the magnificent ball that followed, the Emperor’s historic visit to Paris in 1901, the Bariatsinky’s life in Manchuria, regimental duties in Tashkent, home life on the vast Bariatinsky estate are all vividly depicted in these reminiscences.

The personalities of the Tsar and Tsarina, Grand Dukes and Russian Generals are intimately portrayed. During the First World War the Princess superintended a hospital at Kiev, once invaded by the Bolsheviks.

As a writer, Princess Bariatinsky possesses a distinct gift of graphic eye-witness description, while a lively style adds to the attractiveness of her reminiscences.

AT THE COURT OF THE LAST TSAR
by A.A. Mossolov

*THIS EDITION IS A HARD-COVER REPRINT OF THE ORIGINAL 1935 EDITION

Hard Cover Edition. 273 pages. Illustrated with 14 black and white photographs!

Alexander Alexandrovich Mosolov (1854-1939), was a Russian military commander, diplomat, and Lieutenant-General. From 1900-1916, he served as permanent secretary of the Ministry of the Imperial Court – his immediate superior was the Minister of the Imperial Court, Count Vladimir Fredericks. He was the head of court censorship (department of the office of the Ministry of the Court), that is, he carried out a preliminary censorship of materials in which persons of the Imperial family were mentioned.

During his sixteen years at the Imperial Court, General Alexander Mossolov, was in close personal touch with the Russian Court. He was among the close circle of Emperor Nicholas II, and here describes the intimate life of the Emperor and Empress and their children, and reveals the strange relations between the Tsar and his Ministers and the foibles and difficult nature of the Empress.

His memoirs provide an interesting picture of foreign affairs as seen from the court of the Father of all the Russians: what “Nicky” thought of the Kaiser’s little ways and how he dealt with his visits and that of King Edward VII. A notable feature is General Mossolov’s authoritative account of the battle fought in a vain attempt to break the demoniacal influence of Rasputin, with descriptions of personal interviews with him.

***

Click HERE to order any of these 3 titles and pay in US DOLLARS – payment can be made securely online with a CREDIT CARD or PAYPAL

For those of you who prefer to pay for your order by PERSONAL CHECK or MONEY ORDER, please click HERE to download and print an ORDER FORM. Payment can be made in either US or CANADIAN DOLLARS.

© Paul Gilbert. 19 June 2021

Independent Researcher Paul Gilbert announces 4 NEW publishing projects

Earlier this year, I announced that after more than 26 years as an independent publisher, that I had decided to retire from publishing. Over the course of the past six months, I have been reflecting on four important publishing projects, which remain unpublished. These are works which I began working on as early as 2018.

After careful reconsideration, I have decided to temporarily come out of retirement, in order to bring these four previously planned titles into publication.

Why? Since 2018, I had invested many hours of researching and writing for each respective title to simply abandon them. Each of the four titles falls in line with my personal mission to clear the name of Russia’s much slandered tsar Nicholas II, therefore, it is important for me to see each of these projects come to fruition.

It is my sincere hope, that these new titles will provide a more truthful understanding of the life and reign of Nicholas II, and a welcome alternative to all the negative literature published about his life and reign, particularly since the 1990s.

I have provided a brief summary of each title, including an image of their respective covers.

Please NOTE that at the time of writing this announcement, that I have no timeline for the completion of any of these publications, so for those of you who are interested in any of these titles, I do ask for your patience. It may take a year, it may take two years to complete all four projects. I can assure you, however, that I will publicize each new book as it becomes available, on my blog and Facebook page, as well as via my bi-weekly news updates.

NICHOLAS II. MONUMENTS & MEMORIALS
by Paul Gilbert
ISBN: 978-1-927604-41-0

This richly illustrated title is the first book of its kind to be published on the subject. Nicholas II. Monuments & Memorials explores the nearly 100 monuments, busts and memorials established in Russia, since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Among them is the first bust-monument to the Tsar installed and consecrated on 17th July 1993 – the day marking the 75th anniversary of the murder of Nicholas II – on the grounds of the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral, in Tsarskoye Selo to the most recent, a magnificent equestrian monument installed on the grounds of the Church of the Holy Martyr Michael (Gusev), lin the city of Kulebaki, Nizhny Novgorod region.

In addition, the book explores a series of Triumphal Arches constructed in a number of cities across Siberia, to mark the visit of Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich (future Emperor Nicholas II), following his Eastern Journey (1890-91); and the memorials to Nicholas II established in Europe following the exodus of White émigrés who fled Bolshevik Russia after October 1917.

This book is a companion volume to Nicholas II. Portraits, published in 2019.

TRAITOR TO THE TSAR!
GRAND DUKE KIRILL VLADIMIROVICH and NICHOLAS II
by Paul Gilbert
ISBN: 978-1-927604-54-0

In June 1917, Grand Duke Kirill was the first Romanov to flee Russia. Not only was his departure “illegal”, as Kirill was still in active duty as a rear admiral in active military service in a country at war, he had abandoned his honour and dignity in the process.

Grand Duke Kirill, was clearly a man who lacked a moral compass. In this book I discuss his entering into an incestuous marriage with his paternal first cousin and a divorcee, Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1905, defying both Nicholas II by not obtaining his consent prior, and the Russian Orthodox Church.

But it was Kirill’s traitorous act during the February Revolution of 1917, in which he is most famous. It was in Petrograd, that Kirill marched to the Tauride Palace at the head of the Garde Equipage (Marine Guard) to swear allegiance to the Russian Provisional Government, wearing a red band on his uniform. He then authorized the flying of a red flag over his palace on Glinka Street in Petrograd.

In 1922, Kirill declared himself “the guardian of the throne”, and in1924, pompously proclaimed himself “Emperor-in-Exile”. Further, I explore Kirill and Victoria’s alleged Nazi affiliations during their years in exile, as well as Kirill’s shameful infidelity.

This work is the first of its kind to thoroughly examine the treachery of Grand Duke Kirill towards Nicholas II. It is based primarily on documents from Russian archival and media sources, many of which will be new to the English reader.

NICHOLAS II IN POST SOVIET RUSSIA
by Paul Gilbert
ISBN: 978-1-927604-53-3

The image of Nicholas II, whom historians have criticized as an ineffective leader – and who was demonised by Soviet ideology – has been undergoing a renaissance in post-Soviet Russia.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, a series of significant events have taken place which have helped Russia re-evaluate the life and reign of the country’s last emperor Nicholas II.

These include the discovery of his remains in Ekaterinburg in 1991, his interment in St Petersburg 1998, his canonization by the Moscow Patriarchate in 2000, his rehabilitation in 2008, the status of his remains by the ROC, and of the centenary marking his death and martyrdom in 2018.

Among the other topics explored in this book, are the results of polls taken in Russia, whereby the populace have reevaluated their assessment of Nicholas II’s reign in a more popular light. In addition, this book explores the long-held theory that Lenin ordered the murder of the Tsar, as well as Russian president Vladimir Putin’s assessment of Russia’s much slandered Tsar, and the fact that the Russian State Archives still hold documents on the Ekaterinburg regicide, which to this day remain sealed and off limits to researchers.

NICHOLAS II. A CENTURY OF MYTHS AND LIES
by Paul Gilbert
ISBN: 978-1-927604-35-9

For more than a century, many myths and lies about the reign of Nicholas II have endured to the present day. For more than 70 years, the Bolsheviks and later the Soviets were perfectly content to allow these negative myths to stand. The Soviet government’s philosophy to avoid or revolutionize many facts pertaining to Imperial history, including the adoption of extreme censorship, affected what was permitted to be published inside the Soviet Union and thus helped the Bolshevik regime to discredit the last Russian Emperor.

Soviet historians portrayed the Tsar as indecisive, weak-willed, incompetent, and out of touch with the modern world. Their assessment is based on slanderous fabrications, particularly during the early 20th century, which are still deeply rooted in the minds of both Westerners and the Russian people even to this day.  

Sadly, it is these same myths and lies which many modern day historians and biographers cling to in their biographies and studies of Nicholas II. It seems that rather then challenge the old myths by researching new documents in Russian archives, they prefer instead to keep up with popular thought rather than attempt to dispel a legend. This is not the sign of a good historian.

Nicholas II. A Century of Myths and Lies explores 25 of the most popular myths, for example: “that Nicholas II was weak and indecisive” or “that Nicholas II was indifferent to the Khodynka Tragedy” or “that Nicholas II was influenced by Rasputin” or “that Nicholas II was to blame for Bloody Sunday” or “that Nicholas II was wrong in assuming command of the Russian Armed Forces during WWI” or “that Nicholas II’s death was met with indifference by the Russian people” . . . plus, 19 other myths.

© Paul Gilbert. 14 June 2021

FOR SALE: The correspondence of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna, 1914-1917

I am pleased to offer two editions of the correspondence of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna from my personal library.

Between 24th April 1914 to 7th March 1917, Emperor Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna exchanged nearly 1,700 letters . The original correspondence has survived to this day and kept in the Novo-Romanovsky Archives of the State Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF) in Moscow.

Their letters – all of which were written in English – reveal the enormous love the couple shared against the backdrop of a bloody war and the approaching end of the Russian Empire. In addition, Alexandra offers extensive commentary on hospitals and the wounded (she was a volunteer nurse). Nicholas II reports on the military and the war effort. The growing influence of Rasputin is also thoroughly documented in these texts. The reader sees in detail the crises that led to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the collapse of the tsarist regime.

This historically Important correspondence will serve as a valuable resource for all students of late Imperial Russia and World War I, and essential for those interested in the last Emperor and Empress of Russia.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS AN AUCTION SALE: I am offering each edition to the highest bidder. I have set the bidding price of each at $150 USD. I invite those of you who are interested to send me a private e-mail [royalrussia@yahoo.com], quoting your highest offer. Please ensure that you also note the item number (noted below). The winners will be notified by e-mail on Sunday, 20th June 2021.

Item No. 0576 – THE NICKY-SUNNY CORRESPONDENCE 1914-1917

This edition includes two volumes in one: The Letters of the Tsar to the Tsaritsa 1914-1917 and The Letters of the Tsaritsa to the Tsar 1914-1916. Published by Academic International Press in 1970, it is a reprint of the original English edition, published in 1923.

Volume I includes an introduction by C. T. Hagberg Wright. Notes by C. E. Vulliamy; Volume II includes a 38-page introduction by Sir Bernard Pares (1867-1949).

Pares was a noted English historian and diplomat. During the First World War, he worked for the Foreign Ministry in Petrograd, Russia, where he reported political events back to London. He returned to London as professor of Russian history. He is best known for his numerous books on Russia,

Hard cover edition. 802 pages. Index. Size: 6-1/2″ x 9″ x 2″.

CONDITION: Near mint!

Opening bids start at $150.00 USD

AUCTION SALE: I am offering each edition to the highest bidder. I have set the bidding price of each at $150 USD. I invite those of you who are interested to send me a private e-mail [royalrussia@yahoo.com], quoting your highest offer. Please ensure that you also note the item number. The winners will be notified by e-mail on Sunday, 20th June 2021. *Shipping, handling and insurance are not included in the price.

Item No. 0577 – THE LETTERS OF THE TSAR TO THE TSARITSA 1914-1917 and THE LETTERS OF THE TSARITSA TO THE TSAR 1914-1916 – 2 Volume Set

Volume I: The Letters of the Tsar to the Tsaritsa 1914-1917

Includes an introduction by Ivan Bydzan. Illustrations. Index. Size: 6″ x 8-3/4″ x 1″. 324 pages. Hard cover.

Volume II: The Letters of the Tsaritsa to the Tsar 1914-1916

Includes an introduction by Ivan Bydzan. Illustrations. Index. Size: 6″ x 8-3/4″ x 1-1/2″. 462 pages. Hard cover.

This 2-volume edition was published by the Hoover Institute Press of Stanford University in 1973, it is a reprint of the original English edition, published in 1923.

each volume contains inscription on inside title page and embossed book mark. Both copies are in excellent condition with solid binding.

Opening bids start at $150.00 USD for this 2-volume set

AUCTION SALE: I am offering each edition to the highest bidder. I have set the bidding price of each at $150 USD. I invite those of you who are interested to send me a private e-mail [royalrussia@yahoo.com], quoting your highest offer. Please ensure that you also note the item number. The winners will be notified by e-mail on Sunday, 20th June 2021. * Shipping, handling and insurance are not included in the price.

© Paul Gilbert. 12 June 2021

SOVEREIGN: The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II

There are few monarchs in history about whom opinion has been more divided than the last emperor and tsar of Russia Nicholas II.

Myths about the “weak-willed”, “stupid”, “bloody” tsar, created on the basis of gossip, slanderous fabrications and Bolshevik propaganda in the early twentieth century, remain deeply rooted in the minds of both Westerners and the Russian people even to this day. Modern-day historians and biographers prefer to focus on Nicholas II’s failures, and seldom reflect on the many accomplishments he made during his reign. It was these very myths and lies, which compelled me to launch SOVEREIGN in 2015.

The articles featured in SOVEREIGN are not a rehash of everything which has been written about his life and reign over the past century. There are no conspiracy theories, nor does SOVEREIGN attempt to sweep history under the rug, or whitewash Russia’s last emperor and tsar.

Instead, SOVEREIGN features many first English language works by Russian historians and experts, based on new archival documents discovered since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Thanks to this new generation of post-Soviet historians, we can now review the life and reign of Russia’s last emperor and tsar through the research of Russian historians – their time has come! In their works, they successfully challenge and put to rest many of the lies and myths presented over the past century by their Western counterparts.

SOVEREIGN was launched in 2015, and has published a total of eleven issues. 

FREE SHIPPING when you buy ALL eleven issues
NOTE: This offer is valid on CANADA and US orders ONLY!
PRICE: $275.00 USD. PAY by CREDIT CARD or PAYPAL
*Payment can also be made by personal check or money order

Earlier this year, I announced that after 26 years, I would be retiring from publishing. I am now pleased to present the following SPECIAL OFFER on a complete set – 11 issues – of this unique publication.

Each issue features first English translations of articles, researched by Russian historians and experts, based on NEW documents from archival sources. The price of each issue is $25 + postage, so the savings on postage are substantial.

NOTE: I have a limited number of copies of issues No. 1, 7 and 9 left in stock, therefore, if you want to add a complete set of this publication to your personal library, this may be your last chance!

© Paul Gilbert. 14 March 2021

New book on military uniforms during the reign of Nicholas II

On 18th February, a new Russian language book Униформа русской императорской армии конца XIX — начала XX века. История. Дизайн. Материалы. Технологии [Uniforms of the Russian Imperial Army of the Late 19th – Early 20th Centuries. Story. Design. Materials. Technologies], was presented in St. Petersburg.

The presentation took place in the concert hall of the Russian National Library, situated on the Fontanka River Embankment, researched and written by Doctor of Historical Sciences Alexei Aranovich and Vladimir Bezrodin.

Various ceremonial and field uniforms of officers and lower ranks of the military costume of the Imperial Russian Army were presented. They uniforms included: Life Guards of the Preobrazhensky, Semenovsky, Finland, Volynsky and Cossack regiments, the Gendarme squadron, the Marine Guards crew. All of the uniforms were created based on the original patterns and technology of the late 19th to early 20th centuries.

President of the St. Petersburg Military Historical Society Professor Alexei Aranovich, noted that his comprehensive work is the first of its kind dedicated to the study of the uniforms of the Russian Imperial Army, during the reign of Emperor Nicholas II (1894-1917).

The Russian language book not only presents the uniforms, but also the technologies used for their design. Military costume of the late late 19th to early 20th centuries are greatly admired for their historical and artistic values, as well as their design and technological aspects. The book is richly illustrated and supplemented with facts and information from Russian archival sources.

The publication will definitely be in demand by specialists in various fields – theater and film artists, historians and art historians, stylists and decorators, as well as designers working in the fashion industry. These materials are relevant both when creating replicas of historical costumes for feature films and documentaries, and in specialized educational institutions.

© Paul Gilbert. 19 February 2021

Paul Gilbert’s Royal Library for Sale

PHOTO: a partial view of my collection of books on the life, reign and era of Nicholas II

Four years ago, I decided that I would move back to England to take up permanent residence. Having been born in England, and lived and worked in London in the 1980s, my love for my homeland has never waned. I continue to go back “home” each year to explore new regions of this beautiful country. I recently received my new British passport, so that is one more item checked off my list of things to do before I retire in the UK..

Many of you have asked “when” I will be moving back to England, and “where” I will live once I get there. I just want to clarify that my move is still 3-4 years away, as I still have much that needs to be attended to here in Canada. I can, however, safely say that my move back home to England will be before the next US presidential election!

I will be making my new home in Northumberland, England’s most northern and least populated county, which lies on the Scottish border. This way, I have the best of two beautiful countries at my doorstep!

In preparation for my move, I am forced to sell the bulk of my personal library, which consists of more than 2,000 new, rare and second-hand titles on the royal houses of Britain, Europe and Russia, among other topics: history, art, biographies, travel, photography, etc.

The ONLY books that I will be taking with me to England, are my collection of titles on the life, reign and era of Nicholas II.

I have created a separate online bookshop for the sale of my collection. The titles listed are all one-of-a-kind, there are no duplicates! Books will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. The condition of each book varies and is noted with each listing. Titles are available in a variety of languages: English, French, German and Russian. Please check individual listings before ordering.

In addition, I will be selling off the remaining stock from my other online shop, which opened for business in 1994. These include books and back issues of Royal Russia and Sovereign, published by the publishing division of Royal Russia, published between 1994 to 2020. 

Please NOTE, that ALL prices are in US dollars! Payment can be made securely online with a credit card or PayPal. I will also accept payment by personal check or money order in USD. Shipping rates are for Canada and United States order ONLY. Please contact me by email – royalrussia@yahoo.com – for details about bulk shipping and ALL overseas orders. ALL sales are FINAL.

I have already begun listing the titles for sale, which include beautiful pictorials, biographies, historical studies, guidebooks, and much more. My collection is so vast that it is going to take me a couple of years to select, scan and list all of them.

New books will be added every week, so please bookmark or check back for new listings. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me by email – royalrussia@yahoo.com

© Paul Gilbert. 3 February 2021

Paul Gilbert Retires from Publishing

PHOTO: Paul Gilbert, Independent Publisher and Bookseller since 1994

All good things must come to an end. After more than 26 years as an independent publisher I have decided to retire. My publishing business officially closed on 31st December 2020. My decision was not an easy one, but one which I have been considering for some time now. While I had hoped to continue publishing for a few more years, circumstances beyond my control have forced me to do otherwise.

In anticipation of my retirement and plans to move back to England, I began downsizing my business back in 2016, when I turned 60. I stopped selling other publishers books, I ceased publishing books by new authors, I stopped importing books in bulk from Russia, then I closed down my Royal Russia web site, and focused on publications on the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II. 

These measures, saw my annual sales slowly decrease, however, shrinking book sales during the last few years have resulted in my business operating in the red. Amazon had a huge impact on my sales (their discounting book prices and free shipping have helped put many independent booksellers out of business). Annual parcel rate increases by Canada Post (the most expensive in the world) to the United States and overseas have had a huge detrimental impact on book sales. The final nail, however, was the COVID-19 pandemic which further affected declining sales.

I regret to announce that the books and periodicals which I had planned to publish this year have been cancelled. This includes ALL future issues of ROYAL RUSSIA (No. 15 was the last issue published) or SOVEREIGN (No. 11 was the last issue published). The articles planned for publication in SOVEREIGN will instead be published on my blog NICHOLAS II. EMPEROR. TSAR. SAINT.

My ONLINE BOOKSHOP will remain open until all remaining stock has been sold. It is at this time that my bookshop will close permanently. 

I will dedicate my retirement to researching and writing articles for my Nicholas II blog, of which the number of views increased by nearly 100 percent over the previous year: 137,235 in 2020 compared to 70,429 in 2019. It is my blog that I will now devote my time and resources, because it is through this particular venue that I can reach a wider and growing readership. 

I will also continue to update my FACEBOOK page daily with news, photos and videos about Nicholas II, and the history of the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia. I have plans to offer lectures, conferences and other events dedicated to the life and reign of Russia’s last emperor and tsar.

I am very proud of what I accomplished over the last 26+ years. I published more than 100 titles, including new books; first English translations; reprints of Russian Royal classics in both hard cover and paperback editions, periodicals and calendars.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every one of you who bought my books over the years, your patronage has been very much appreciated..

I believe that I am making the right decision and look forward to sharing my research with all of you for many more years to come. I pray that God will grant me many more years.

© Paul Gilbert. 3 January 2021

Romanov Book of the Year for 2020: ‘Empress Alexandra’ by Melanie Clegg

Based on her comprehensive research from primary sources, ‘Empress Alexandra’ by Melanie Clegg is my personal choice for the Romanov Book of the Year for 2020 – Paul Gilbert

NOTE: This book is now available in the UK and North America, and can be ordered from your favourite bookseller. As a courtesy to those who have not yet read the book, I did not want to give anything away, or publish any spoilers, therefore, I have used material from the publishers web page and added my own additional comments and notes to this review – PG

* * *

My love of reading has helped me navigate, what turned out to be a rather dreadful year for most this year. There were several noteworthy Romanov titles published in 2020, however, it was ‘Empress Alexandra: The Special Relationship Between Russia’s Last Tsarina and Queen Victoria’ by Melanie Clegg which I enjoyed the most.

In her new book, British historian and author Melanie Clegg takes a fresh and intimate look at the close relationship that existed between the last Empress of Russia and her grandmother Queen Victoria.

The story begins with the birth of Alexandra’s mother Princess Alice, who was the third child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Alice was betrothed to Prince Louis of Hesse and by Rhine shortly before her father’s death in 1861 and their wedding was described by her mother as ‘more of a funeral than a wedding’.

Alexandra was just six years old when her mother died of diphtheria in 1878 at which point both she and her elder sisters were taken immediately under the wing of their grandmother, Queen Victoria, who oversaw their education, cared for them and tried to arrange their future.

It was Victoria’s dearest wish that Alexandra should marry her first cousin Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, who was second in line to the British throne. However, Alexandra had already fallen in love with the Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich [future Emperor Nicholas II] of Russia – a match that horrified her formidable and Rusophobic grandmother.

Although Victoria was disappointed by Alexandra’s decision to marry Nicholas, the two continued to correspond until the end of her life in 1901.

What I enjoyed so much about this particular title is how the author captured the essence of Queen Victoria’s relationship with her granddaughter Princess Alix of Hesse, later Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, into one volume. The relationship between the two female rulers, who were so different in ability and personality but bound together by blood and genuine affection makes this a fascinating read!

Clegg intended this book to simply be a study of the relationship of Queen Victoria and her granddaughter, but after some reflection, she decided to begin with the birth of Alexandra’s mother Princess Alice, believing that her relationship with her mother shaped that between Victoria and Alexandra, and was highly relevant to the events that occurred later on.

The author draws from the vast collection of Queen Victoria’s letters and diaries from the Royal Archives (RAVIC/MAIN/QVJ), and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna’s letters edited by Sergei Mironenko and Andrei Maylunas.

Published by Pen and Sword Books (UK). Hard cover. 216 pages with more than 40 high quality black and white photographs from the Royal Collection Trust. 

***

My previous selections for Romanov Book of the Year include the following titles:

(2019) The Romanov Royal Martyrs: What Silence Could Not Conceal

(2018) The Race to Save the Romanovs: The Truth Behind the Secret Plans to Rescue the Russian Imperial Family by Helen Rappaport [*my review was lost after I closed down my Royal Russia blog, on 1st January 2020 – PG]

© Paul Gilbert. 31 December 2020

TOP 5 Books on the Life and Reign of Nicholas II

One of the questions I am asked most is “can you recommend a good book on Nicholas II?” For those of us who are now preparing to hunker down and “hibernate” during the long cold winter ahead, I thought this would be an ideal time to address this question.

Putting aside the numerous beautiful pictorials which have been published over the years, I have compiled the following *list of 5 books, which for the most part, present an honest assessment on the life and reign of Russia’s last Emperor and Tsar.

In addition, are the following honourable mentions: Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie (1967); Last Years of the Court at Tsarskoe Selo Vols. I (2010) & II (2017) by General Alexandre Spiridovitch; Thirteen Years at the Russian Court (1921) by Pierre Gilliard; At the Court of the Last Tsar (1935) by A.A. Mossolov; and The Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II (2012)

*NOTE: all of the books listed here are in English and listed in order of the year they were published. With the exception of Oldenburg’s 4-volume study, all the remaining titles are available from your favourite bookseller.

#1 – The Romanov Royal Martyrs: What Silence Could Not Conceal (2019)
Published by Mesa Potamos Publications (Cyprus)
508 pages, illustrated

The Romanov Royal Martyrs: What Silence Could Not Conceal draws on letters, testimonies, diaries, memoirs, and other texts never before published in English to present a unique biography of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. A lively portrait of the royal family emerges from their own personal writings and in the writings of those who lived very close to them. Based strictly on primary sources, the book also brings to light a multitude of unknown and unrevealed facts, which evince that many truths in regard to the life and martyrdom of the Royal Martyrs remain silenced or distorted to this day. The result is a psychographic biography that explores the essential character of the royal family in a deeper and inspiring way.

It includes nearly 200 black and white photographs, and also features a 56-page photo insert, of more than 80 high-quality images of the tsar and his family, all of which have been colourised by the acclaimed Russian artist Olga Shirnina (aka Klimbim), and appear here in print for the first time.

The Romanov Royal Martyrs: What Silence Could Not Conceal was my personal choice for Romanov Book of the Year in 2019. Click HERE to read my review, published on 18th November 2019

#2 – The Court of the Last Tsar: Pomp, Power and Pageantry in the Reign of Nicholas II (2006)
Author: Greg King
Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (US)
559 pages, illustrated

While a massive body of work has been devoted to the last of the Romanovs, The Court of the Last Tsar is the first book to examine the people, mysteries, traditions, scandals, rivalries, and riches that were part of everyday life during 22+ year reign of Nicholas II.

This richly illustrated volume includes 24-pages of colour photographs; more than 80 black-and-white photos; floor plans of the Winter Palace (St. Petersburg), the Alexander Palace (Tsarskoye Selo), the Grand Kremlin Palace (Moscow), among others.

King’s study draws on hundreds of previously unpublished primary sources, including memoirs, personal letters, diary entries, and official documents. His research invites you to experience dozens of extravagant ceremonies and entertainments attended by members of the Imperial Court, which numbered more than fifteen thousand individuals.

Chief among these, or course, was Nicholas II, Emperor and Tsar who ruled an empire that stretched over one-sixth of the earth’s land surface. His marriage to Princess Alix of Hesse in 1894 and their Coronation in 1896 are two of the most spectacular ceremonies described in this lavish volume.

The Court of the Last Tsar brings the people, places, and events of this doomed but unforgettable wonderland to vivid and sparkling life.

#3 – A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra, Their Own Story (1997)
Authors: Sergei Mironenko and Andrei Maylenas
Published by Doubleday (US); Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd (UK)
667 pages, illustrated.

These letters, most of which are published here for the first time, offer an intimate look at some of the most momentous events of the early 1900s, including Russia’s participation in World War I and the fall of the Romanov dynasty in the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Among the correspondents are Alexandra’s beloved but domineering grandmother, Queen Victoria of England, and Nicholas’ cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. Most poignant, though, are the letters and diaries of the last Tsar and Tsarina, which stand as eloquent expressions of one of the great love affairs of this century.

A Lifelong Passion begins in 1884 with the couple’s first childhood meeting and chronicles their intense courtship and first joyful years of marriage. The Romanovs’ happiness was not to last, however, as they were quickly overtaken by the forces of war and revolution. The discovery that their only son and heir Alexei was stricken with hemophilia opened the family to the formidable and perhaps malign influence of the monk Rasputin, whose gory death at the hands of two Grand Dukes is here recounted by one of the murderers. Though unshaken in their love for one another, Nicholas and Alexandra could not hold their country together, and their story ends with a chilling account of their assassination by the Bolshevik revolutionaries.

#4 – Nicholas II: Twilight of the Empire (1993)
Author: Dominic Lieven
Published by St. Martin’s Press (US); Pimlico (UK)
292 pages, illustrated

What is there new to say about Russia’s last monarch? Almost everything. Previous biographies have told of the shy family man, the father of the hemophiliac heir, the victim of the infamous murder at Ekaterinburg in 1918. This book provides new insights into those parts of the story, but it looks above all at Nicholas as political leader and emperor, as it portrays the Old Regime’s collapse and the origins of Bolshevik Russia in a way that will surprise readers.

Nicholas II was not stupid. Nor was he weak as is commonly thought. The dilemmas of ruling Russia were vast and contradictory, and it was an illusion to think that simply by agreeing to become a constitutional monarch Nicholas could have preserved his dynasty and empire. Drawing many eerie parallels to events unfolding in Russia today, Lieven shows that social and technological change had far outstripped the existing political and executive structures. Lieven argues that the inability of the Tsar and his government to recognize these growing anachronisms and to devise new systems constructively helped lead to the devastating chaos out of which the new order arose.

Drawing on his fifteen-year study of Imperial Russia and using archival material and other sources all over the world, Dominic Lieven shows that the downfall of both the Imperial and Soviet Regimes fit into a pattern of ongoing Russian history, one that bears close scrutiny if we are to understand the turmoil of the post-Cold War period.

#5 – Last Tsar: Nicholas II, His Reign and His Russia – 4 Volumes (1975)
Author: Sergei S. Oldenburg
Published by Academic International Press (US)
228 pages (Vol. I), 315 pages (Vol. 2), 224 pages (Vol. 3), 356 pages (Vol. 4)

The 4-volume Last Tsar. Nicholas II, His Reign & His Russia by the noted Russian historian and journalist Sergei Sergeiivich Oldenburg (1888-1940), remains the most comprehensive English language study of Nicholas II to date. Originally published in 1939 in Russian, the first English edition was not published until 1975. 

It is a major document in modern Russian historiography. The final contribution of a Russian nationalist historian, it provides uniquely sensitive insights into the character, personality, and policies of Russia’s last tsar. It has no rival as a political biography of Nicholas II and is without peer as a comprehensive history of his reign.

Click HERE to read my article about this highly sought after set and its’ author Sergei Sergeiivich Oldenburg

© Paul Gilbert. 19 December 2020

NEW Romanov Books for Autumn 2020

Autumn is here, a perfect time of the year to begin stocking up on your winter reading! I am pleased to offer 2 NEW book titles, plus copies of my 2021 calendar dedicated to Russia’s last emperor and tsar.

MEMORIES IN THE MARBLE PALACE ( Click HERE to order this title)
by Prince of the Imperial Blood Gabriel Constantinovich

290 pages . 45 chapters. 28 black and white photographs. Price: $25 + postage

This is a new edition of the first English translation of the memoirs of Prince of the Imperial Blood Gabriel Konstantinovich Romanov (1887-1955). They are not just a memoir, but a very valuable resource for the history of Imperial Russia in the late 19th to early 20th century. The narrative covers the period from 1887 to 1918.

The second son of Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich, Prince Gabriel tells about events such as the coronation of Nicholas II at Moscow in 1896, the assassination of Pyotr Stolypin at Kiev in 1911; the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Patriotic War at Moscow in 1812; the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 1913; the first Russian Olympics in 1913; the outbreak of World War I in 1914; the assassination of Grigory Rasputin in 1916; the February and October 1917 revolutions in Petrograd; the beginning of the Red Terror.; and Prince Gabriel’s miraculous escape from certain death at the hands of the Bolsheviks in 1918.

Gabriel’s memoirs pay much attention to the everyday life of members of the Russian Imperial family, including Emperor Nicholas II and his family, as well as those of the Konstantinovichi branch: his grandparents, his mother and father, his 5 brothers and 2 sisters. He also provides vivid descriptions of his family’s palaces and estates, including the Marble Palace in St. Petersburg; the Constantine Palace in Strelna; Pavlovsk Palace near St. Petersburg; and the country estate of Ostashevo, near Moscow.

DEAREST MAMA . . . DARLING NICKY ( Click HERE to order this title)
Letters Between Emperor Nicholas II and his Mother Empress Maria Feodorovna 1879-1917

Trade-size 9” x 6” paperback. 244 pages. More than 200 letters. Price: $25 + postage

Written between the years 1879, when Nicky was a little boy, and 1917, after his abdication, this collection of letters are a revelation of the personalities of the Emperor and his Empress mother. They were never part of the imperial archives but the cherished possession of both correspondents, carried with them wherever they went. At the outbreak of the revolution, the letters were confiscated by the Soviets.

From some five hundred letters, more than 200 have been selected and translated from the French and Russian. They have particular bearing on the Tsar’s relatives in England, Germany, Italy and Greece; on political personages in Russia, and their Romanov relatives. All of their family but Uncle Willie, the German Emperor, found a place in their affections. To them, he was always an exhibitionist, dangerous in his national ambition. Uncle Bertie, Aunt Alix, Georgie, May, and Granny—respectively King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra, King George V, Queen Mary and Queen Victoria—emerge as human beings, minus crowns and ermine.

The correspondence sheds considerable light on Nicholas II’s character, family affairs, and politics, especially in regard to the 1905 Revolution. The preface provides an interesting assessment of the correspondence and its historical significance.

Unlike his diaries, these letters are essential human documents of great historic importance, and in the case of the Tsar, will alter many preconceived notions of his character, and the negative assessment which has persisted for more than a century.

NOTE: Dearest Nicky, Darling Mama was originally published in England in 1937, under the title The Letters of Tsar Nicholas and Empress Marie; they were published in the United States in 1938, under the title The Secret Letters of the Last Tsar. Out of print for decades, this is the first edition of this title published in nearly 90 years!

NICHOLAS II. EMPEROR. TSAR. SAINT. 2021 CALENDAR ( Click HERE to order this title)

28 pages. Illustrated with 16 photos. Price: $10 + postage

Each month features an iconic full-page black and white photograph of Russia’s last monarch, during some of the brightest and darkest days of his 22-year reign.

Nearly 70 holidays and observances in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and Russia are featured, with room to write in your own special dates and events.

Also featured, are the birth dates of members of Nicholas II, Alexandra Feodorovna, and their five children, as well as important dates in the reign of Russia’s last tsar.

ALL net proceeds from the sale of each calendar will go into my research on Nicholas II, including translation costs.

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Click HERE to order these titles from my online bookshop with a credit card or PayPal

Click HERE to download and print an order form and pay by personal check or money order

© Paul Gilbert. 18 October 2020