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Russian hearts are strange

Andrew Solomon, 20 June 1996

The Romanovs: The Final Chapter 
by Robert Massie.
Cape, 308 pp., £17.99, November 1995, 0 224 04192 4
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The Fall of the Romanovs: Political Dreams and Personal Struggles in a Time of Revolution 
by Mark Steinberg and Vladimir Khrustalev.
Yale, 444 pp., £18.50, November 1995, 0 300 06557 4
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... documents from the very end of the tsarist period which tells the story of Nicholas’s last days. Robert Massie’s The Romanovs: The Final Chapter tells what happened to the Romanovs after they died. Massie’s book is a movie, big on atmosphere and set pieces, while Steinberg and Khrustalev’s book is a book, as ...

Bad Nights

D.A.N. Jones, 23 October 1986

The Casualty 
by Heinrich Böll, translated by Leila Vennewitz.
Chatto, 189 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 9780701129286
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Augustus 
by Allan Massie.
Bodley Head, 339 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 370 30757 7
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Gabriel’s Lament 
by Paul Bailey.
Cape, 331 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 224 02823 5
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The Mind and Body Shop 
by Frank Parkin.
Collins, 221 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 00 217695 5
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... deal with bed-wetting, a sad problem for sufferers and not much fun to read about. However, Allan Massie’s novel about Caesar Augustus may attract attention, if only for its grand ambition. The first Roman Emperor was only 18 when he began to take over the world and he was nearly eighty when he crowned his brilliant career by becoming a god. Allan ...

Walking backward

Robert Taubman, 21 August 1980

Selected Works of Djuna Barnes 
Faber, 366 pp., £5.50, July 1980, 0 571 11579 9Show More
Black Venus’s Tale 
by Angela Carter.
Next Editions/Faber, 35 pp., £1.95, June 1980, 9780907147022
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The Last Peacock 
by Allan Massie.
Bodley Head, 185 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 370 30261 3
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The Birds of the Air 
by Alice Thomas Ellis.
Duckworth, 152 pp., £6.95, July 1980, 0 7156 1491 6
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... all the view happens to include. What matters is the truthfulness of what it does show, and Allan Massie is strikingly detached and truthful, leaving it to the reader to observe and judge. Not that this means that in a literal sense he tells the truth about the Scottish landed classes. His subject is a way of life with very little sustenance in it, and the ...

Rough Wooing

Michael Brown: Flodden, 23 January 2014

Fatal Rivalry: Flodden 1513 
by George Goodwin.
Weidenfeld, 288 pp., £20, July 2013, 978 0 297 86739 5
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... into invasion and battle by the requirements of more powerful states. Flodden left what Alex Massie described in the Scotsman as a ‘shrivelled, enfeebled Scotland’. What had been a confident, cultured and stable kingdom was dogged by ‘a century of instability’. Subsequent generations of Scots showed an understandable reluctance to embark on war ...

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