Alexandra The Last Tsarina

Carolly Erickson

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

384 Pages



Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy

Just as Edvard Radzinsky wrote the ultimate account of Nicholas II in The Last Tsar and Robert Massie memorably described the imperial marriage in Nicholas and Alexandra, Carolly Erickson has created an indelible portrait of Alexandra, the woman blamed by contemporaries for the downfall of the Romanovs.

Under Erickson's expert scrutiny the full dimensions of the empress's singular psychology are laid bare: her childhood bereavement; her long struggle to marry the deeply flawed man she loved, Nicholas; the anguish of her pathological shyness; her painful, bruising conflicts with her in-laws; her increasing eccentricities and loss of self as she became more and more preoccupied with matters of faith; and her growing dependence on a series of occult mentors, the most notorious of whom was Rasputin.

Alexandra's thorny personal story unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of Russian history in the last decades before the Revolution of 1917, a time of opulent palaces, bejeweled aristocrats, and lavish wealth—and also of anarchist bombings and pervasive violence and fear. While the rich of St. Petersburg were carried away in a frenzy of fin-de-siècle merrymaking, the empress—acutely feeling the burden of being her husband's emotional mainstay—sought answers to Russia's overwhelming problems through mediums and charlatans. We also learn of how Alexandra sought to find healing aids for her hemophiliac son in Rasputin's many and mysterious powers.


Praise for Alexandra

"Alexandra's story is heartbreaking . . . Erickson excels in the details."—Chicago Tribune

"[Combines] immaculate research, psychological insight, and a fluent prose style . . . Erickson proves it is possible to write narrative history that is both popular and good."—The Mail on Sunday

"Extraordinary . . . [Erickson] brings Alexandra to life."—The Sunday Times

"[Alexandra] makes a complex time accessible."—Library Journal

"Entertaining . . . One of the book's strengths is its emphasis on the private life of the court . . . Erickson's popular biography will satisfy readers seeking the scoop on Russia's last empress."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt


IN THE DARKENED BEDROOM OF THE NEW PALACE IN DARMSTADT, ALICE, Grand Duchess of Hesse, lay dying. She was only thirty-five, but looked fifty, her white face with its sharp features gaunt, her eyes deeply sunken in their...

Read the full excerpt


  • Carolly Erickson

  • Distinguished historian Carolly Erickson is the author of Rival to the Queen, The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots, The First Elizabeth, The Hidden Life of Josephine, The Last Wife of Henry VIII, and many other prize-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. Her novel The Tsarina's Daughter won the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. She lives in Hawaii.

  • Carolly Erickson Photo: Brian Reed