Here are the things I felt I knew before reading this book.
Alexandra Feodorovna: A Life From Beginning to End is a publication of a group known as Hourly History. Alexandra was the wife of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the last Tsar. In my mind she was the dominant one in the family, the Tsar was manipulated by many. She, in turn, is famous for being manipulated by the colorful, frequently drunk, and always unhygienic Rasputin. Alexandra was the mother of the constantly bleeding Prince Alexei (hemophilia) as well as several daughters. The entire family would be executed by a Bolshevik faction but would leave behind a mystery about one of the daughters, Anastasia. Did she survive? If she didn’t, there would be pretenders surfacing occasionally in later years to claim her identity. These are things about Alexandra Feodorovna that stick in my mind. What more can I learn from this Hourly History publication?
And here are things I added to my knowledge.
Alix grew up in Darmstadt, Germany in an English household. Her mother, Princess Alice of Great Britain and her grandmother, Queen Victoria, cemented her status as one of the nobility. Queen Victoria was hesitant about Alix marrying Nicholas, she was wary of Russia. Tsar Alexander III, father of Nicholas, didn’t like Nicholas marrying a German. To further complicate things, Alix was a Lutheran and Nicholas was Orthodox Russian, a religion that viewed the Tsar as God on earth, an equal to God in heaven. It seems everything was against the match.
The wedding went on. At a time when most royal marriages were arranged as a way of cementing political alliances, the marriage between Nicholas and Alexandra was a love match as well. There was, however, no love for Alexandra from the Russian people. Socially inept and completely devoted to hands-on care of her children, the public saw Alexandra’s absence from the social scene as a snub. Alexandra never quite got the Russian language and struggled with French, a language of diplomacy used at the Russian court. With the outbreak of WW I, many suspected Alexandra of being a German spy.
As the forces of the Russian Revolution established their spheres of interest and power, the royal family was moved to ever humbler residences until they were finally executed. I didn’t know that their doctor and three servants were also executed. And I was surprised to learn that the family’s remains were finally interred in 1998.
Hourly History’s slogan, motto, logo, or claim to fame is that their publications can be read in under an hour. The subject of each work will rest in the minds of many readers as something or someone familiar. Reading these publications won’t make you a historical authority but it could motivate you to further research. Think of the fun facts you can dredge up at parties when you know just a little bit more about a subject than the average headline news reader.
I give these publications five Amazon stars for content and for their unique structure of delivering information in one-hour blocks.
Go to their website https://www.hourlyhistory.com and sign up with an email address. Every Friday you will receive an email with a selection of books, typically between three and six, all free. If you go to their website and click on a title, you will be redirected to an Amazon page where most of the books are free to read on KU or they can be purchased at varying prices. I have found the average price to be USD 2.99. Wait for Friday and get the same books for free or buy them on a day of your choice? I look forward to Fridays. This is almost a public service.