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Rasputin and his Russian Queen (Hardback)

The True Story of Grigory and Alexandra

P&S History > British History > Victorian History P&S History > By Century > 19th Century P&S History > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > Royal History Women of History

By Mickey Mayhew
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 35 mono
ISBN: 9781399083676
Published: 31st March 2023


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RASPUTIN’S RELATIONSHIP with Russia’s last Tsarina, Alexandra, notorious from the famous Boney M song, has never been adequately addressed; biographies are always for one or the other, or simply Alexandra and her husband Nicholas. In this new work, Mickey Mayhew reimagines Alexandra for the #MeToo generation; ‘neurotic’; ‘hysterical’; ‘credulous’ and ‘fanatical’ are shunted aside in favour of a sympathetic reimagining of a reserved and pious woman tossed into the heart of Russian aristocracy, with the sole purpose of providing their patriarchal monarchy with an heir. When her longed-for son then developed haemophilia, she turned to the one man capable of curing the child’s agonising pain – Grigory Rasputin.

Some say that between them, Grigory and Alexandra brought down 300 years of Romanov rule and ushered in the Russian Revolution, but theirs was simply the story of a mother fighting for the health of her son against a backdrop of bigotry, sexism and increasing secularism. She liked to pray and he liked to party, but when they found themselves steering Russia through the First World War, her gender and his class gave society no option but to destroy them.

Bubbling with his trademark bon mots, Mickey Mayhew’s latest book breathes fresh life into two of history’s most fascinating – and polarising – figures.

This is the real story of Rasputin and his Russian Queen.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Mickey Mayhew's 'Rasputin and His Russian Queen' is a thought-provoking and captivating exploration of a tumultuous chapter in Russian history, shedding new light on the enigmatic relationship between Grigori Rasputin and the last Tsarina of Russia, Alexandra. In this meticulously crafted narrative, Mayhew reimagines Alexandra for the #MeToo generation, portraying her as a complex and sympathetic character thrust into the heart of Russian aristocracy.

One of the most striking aspects of this book is its commitment to presenting a more nuanced and empathetic view of Alexandra. Rather than perpetuating the traditional labels of 'neurotic,' 'hysterical,' 'credulous,' and 'fanatical,' Mayhew offers readers a fresh perspective on a reserved and pious woman who was primarily tasked with providing the patriarchal monarchy with an heir. This reimagining of Alexandra's character resonates with modern readers and encourages a deeper understanding of the challenges she faced.

At the heart of the narrative is the touching friendship that develops between Alexandra and Rasputin, driven by the shared goal of curing her haemophiliac son, Alexei. Mayhew expertly navigates the complexities of their relationship, illuminating how their bond had far-reaching consequences for the Romanov dynasty and, ultimately, the Russian Revolution. The author skilfully places their story within the broader context of a society marked by bigotry, sexism, and the rise of secularism, highlighting the immense pressures placed on these two polarising figures.

Mayhew's writing is characterised by his trademark wit and sharp observations. His prose is engaging and filled with bon mots that add depth and flavour to the narrative. He masterfully weaves together historical events and personal stories, immersing readers in the political and social backdrop of the time.

'Rasputin and His Russian Queen' is more than just a retelling of history; it's a poignant exploration of the complexities of human relationships, power, and the relentless march of time. It unravels the real story behind Rasputin and Alexandra, going beyond the sensationalised tales that have often overshadowed their true contributions and struggles.

Whether you're a history enthusiast or simply a reader looking for a compelling narrative, 'Rasputin and His Russian Queen' offers a compelling and insightful journey into a fascinating period in Russian history. Mayhew's dedication to unveiling the real essence of these characters is commendable, and his storytelling prowess shines brightly in this remarkable work.

NetGalley, Chelsea Littleton-Harper

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Interesting read. I'm not into memoirs, but Rasputin and his Russian Queen kept me reading all the way.
My only complaint is that the eponymous titled song was drilled into my ear for days!

NetGalley, J H Bogran

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have read so many books about Nicholas and Alexandra, and this one is by far the BEST! Succinctly written, it tells the tale of the Last of the Romanovs, as precise history staying away from rumors and false stories. Mickey Mayhew has written an outstanding book, with incredibly detailed research. How Alexandra was more than likely the one who brought down a 300 year old Tzarist rule. Her shyness was her downfall! And there is just so much more in this book. I loved it! Thank you to NetGalley and Pen and Sword Publishing for this eGalley in exchange for my honest review. Pen and Sword publishes the most interesting and historical books!

NetGalley, Ellie Potts Barrett

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Mayhew's writing is vivid and engaging, and he does an excellent job of bringing these historical figures to life.

NetGalley, Kyle Wendy Skultety

I have always been fascinated by the Romanovs and the tragedy that befeel them, including the peole they surrounded themselves with such as Rasputin.
This book was well written and well researched and I felt like I learnt a lot about both the Tsarina Alexandra and Rasputin.

NetGalley, Aria Harlow

A well researched book on Rasputin and the romanovs. A lot of behind the scenes information on the sad plight of their lives and how myths spread around Gregory Rasputin. I would thoroughly recommend it to all.

NetGalley, Lional Jones

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Mickey Mayhew delivers a remarkably readable and surprisingly sympathetic portrait of the strange relationship between the last Russian Tsarìna and the legendary beardy weirdo holy man. Did Rasputin have genuine healing powers? Apparently, yes. Was he (as Boney M maintained) the lover of the Russian queen? Almost certainly, no. Was he Russia's greatest love machine? Arguably, yes!
A great read.

NetGalley, Chris Hallam

As featured in

The Bookseller, Jan 23

I have always had a deep fascination about the Romanov family and their downfall.

While there were many reasons to the downfall of this family it is no secret or surprise that Rasputin did in deed play his part to their inevitable demise.

It was very fascinating to have a more in depth look at Alexandra's life prior to Rasputin and a more in depth look at the life of Rasputin prior to Alexandra and how their paths eventually intertwined.

If you are looking to get a clear and detailed history of the Romanov family I would highly suggest starting here!

NetGalley, Page Johnson

Well, I offically got Rasputin by Boney M stuck in my head and I don't know how to get it out. I also have the urge to watch Anastasia again. 😆😆 Other than that, this was a really interesting read. I'm not much of a non-fiction reader but I'm always willing to make an exception for history, I love learning about historical royal figures, especially ones as famous as Rasputin and Tsarina Alexandra. There are so many theories on the relationship between these two, mostly focusing on whether or not they've had a romantic affair. That romance is literally the focus of the Boney M song 😅😅 However, this book has a fresh take on that relationship, as well as more a sympathetic view of the Queen whose main concern was the well-being of her son, and her best option at helping him was Rasputin.

If you are a fan of history, this is definitely the book for you.

NetGalley, Evi Tsokkou

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant book on the connection between Russian queen Alexandra and Rasputin. One of the best which I read on that topic. The book presents a good historical background of Tsar’s Russia and the tragic end of the Romanovs. I highly recommend this book to people interested in the history of Russia.

NetGalley, meg gajda

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was invested in learning the true story of Grigory and Alexandra, I've always had a interest in the Romanov's time and there's so many rumors and myths based around this. Mickey Mayhew does a great job in telling the story and I thought it was a great read. I learned a bit and enjoyed how well it was researched.

"Many historians mistakenly moralise over these antics, parroting the prurience of those who once gasped over these self-same stories in those fashionable St Petersburg salons. Class bias is at play here, much metaphorical headshaking over Grigory’s binge drinking and visits – often platonic – to the city’s many prostitutes."

NetGalley, Kathryn McLeer

About Mickey Mayhew

Lifelong Londoner Mickey Mayhew has a PhD concerning the online cult surrounding the tragic queens Anne Boleyn and Mary Queen of Scots. He is co-author of three books relating to Jack the Ripper, published by The History Press. His first non-fiction work, The Little Book of Mary Queen of Scots, was also published by The History Press in January 2015; I Love the Tudors, by Pitkin Publishing, arrived in 2016. He has a semi-regular column in the journal of The Whitechapel Society and was previously a freelance film and theatre reviewer for various London lifestyle magazines. Through 2018/2020 he worked as an assistant researcher on several research projects for London South Bank University. Rasputin and his Russian Queen is his third book for Pen and Sword, following the release of House of Tudor and Imprisoning Mary Queen of Scots.

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