Cover image for Nicholas II : the interrupted transition
Nicholas II : the interrupted transition
Carrère d'Encausse, Hélène.
Uniform Title:
Nicolas II, la transition interrompue. English
Publication Information:
New York : Holmes & Meier Publishers, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiii, 321 pages : maps ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DK258 .C3713 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Presents a detailed history of the last Romanov czar, Nicholas II, whose execution ushered in the Communist era in Russia. Examines his early years growing up in the imperial court, and provides background on the Romanov dynasty as a whole. Includes appendices of documents and first-hand reports, a

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

If ever there was a wrong man for the wrong time, it was Czar Nicholas II of Russia. In this striking account of his private and public life, Carrere d'Encausse, a leading French specialist in Slavic history, argues convincingly that Nicholas was a hopelessly ignorant, inept ruler who could not manage Russia's possible evolution to a more open, democratic state. Although he was a devoted autocrat, he lacked the backbone necessary to suppress his opponents. He would meddle, usually with dire consequences, in political and military affairs, but he lacked the competence and sustained interest to make a particular policy work. His sensitivity and devotion to friends and subordinates, though laudable in an ordinary man, only made Nicholas more ineffectual as a ruler. Although this portrait of the czar is hardly original, in Carrere d'Encausse's skilled hands, it serves as a devastatingly definitive portrait of one of history's most notable losers. --Jay Freeman

Choice Review

In a well-written and enjoyable work, Carr`ere d'Encausse offers a new interpretive approach to Nicholas II's influence on the course of Russian history. Rather than weak and insecure, Nicholas II emerges with strongly held convictions of his obligations as autocrat though plagued by the realization of Russia's need to modernize. As for Empress Alexandra and Rasputin, they were ultimately unable to change Nicholas's fundamental positions on domestic or foreign policy. Shadowing Nicholas II's vision of Russian autocracy, the author also portrays a Russia experiencing sweeping changes in its social, economic, and political structures, changes which were largely the work of Nicholas's own ministers. Carr`ere d'Encausse emphasizes options that remained open to Nicholas II until virtually the last months before the revolutions of 1917, thus leaving open the course of Russian history. Within the context of 1917 and the end of the autocracy, Russia's journey toward a modern democratic society was interrupted by Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Clearly recognizing these competing themes, the author provokes the reader to reassess Nicholas II as a leader and as a historical figure working for change against the historical currents dominating his reign. Overall, this work presents an intriguing reassessment of Russian history and the role of great persons. Accessible to readers at any level. D. A. Meier; Dickinson State University