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Nelipa, Margarita - Alexander III; his life and reign

Nelipa, Margarita - Alexander III; his life and reign
Margarita Nelipa’s new book on Emperor Alexander III is the first comprehensive biography in English about this little known and unjustly neglected sovereign who ruled Russia for only 13 years, from 1881-1894. Her work is the only publication to explore Alexander’s childhood, his life as a Grand Duke and then as the Tsesarevich (Heir) as well as his reign as Emperor of Russia following his father, Alexander II’s assassination in 1881. His reign, as Nelipa points out, was marked by peace on the international scene but Alexander’s domestic policy involved several repressive measures as well as social advances in the fields of education and justice. The book also explores a more personal side of Alexander III, as a devoted and loving husband to his wife, the Empress Maria Feodorovna, and father to their six children. The only other biography in English appeared almost 120 years ago and has the shortcoming of being published before Alexander III’s death. The book is a comprehensive biography of Alexander as both man and monarch. Adding to the unique quality of this book, Nelipa once again relies on Russian primary sources which include diaries, letters, courtroom documents as well as memoirs and newspapers of the day all translated by the author and which have never been previously brought together. Extensive annotations, several appendices and a rich collection of photographs add rigor to this work. Nelipa provides remarkable details about the court process that Alexander III had sought against his father’s assassins and likewise she offers details about the legal case that followed the Borki train accident, which in the author’s opinion led to Alexander III’s terminal illness. Using excerpts sourced from medical notes that were left by Alexander III’s physicians we closely follow the sovereign’s final days of life. The autopsy report that was sourced from the Russian Archives sheds new light on Alexander III’s cause of death. This book spans more than 600 pages of text and is complimented with another 163 pages containing some 230 photographs and illustrations, many of which have never been published in the West. Margarita Nelipa’s book will not only captivate as a portrait of a complex human being but it will introduce readers to a Russian Emperor who successfully fought against and suppressed terrorism during his reign but may have sown the seeds of the downfall of his dynasty.

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