Reading: ALEXANDER OF RUSSIA by Henri Troyat
This is the first biography I’ve read so far.
I got interested with Russia’s colorful history because when I was in high school, there seem to be lacking with what the teachers thaught us.
Anyway,back on the subject, I’d like to applaud Henri Troyat for his style of writing. There was a balanced drama to keep you wanting to read more and also the straight-forward truth in his words. I used to think that biographies possess soporific powers. *kidding*
Troyat portrayed Alexander of Russia as an ordinary human torn between his dragon-like grandmother and his temperamental father. These two prominent figures contributed to Alexander’s upbringing. He learned how to act soft and unknowing in front of his grandmother while brusque when in front of his father.
It took me by surprise when Troyat mentioned that at a young age, Alexander was able to know and meet Catherine the Great’s(who was then on her late 60’s) lovers. The last man was Platon Alexandrovich Zubov who was then around 22 years old. I mean, really, its bad enough to act crazy in front of the elders, its worse when elders act crazy in front of young ones.
Other stuff I’ve noticed in the book, “Alexander of Russia” are:
1. Men used their wives to flirt with Alexander of Russia, for ‘political reasons’. Like when Alexander of Russia started touring Europe and openly flirted with someone else’s wife.
2. ”Incidental” parricide is unspoken but common. Like when Catherine the Great allowed the assassination of her husband, and when Alexander of Russia silently allowed the assassination of his father, King Paul I. (Well, at least, according to Troyat)
3. I found it funny when the book mentioned that the common reason of death for Russian royals is apoplexy.
4. It also fascinates me that his wife, Louise of Baden (Grand Duchess Elizabeth Alexeievna of Russia ) found a lover in the name Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, one of Alexander’s best friends (belonging to the Secret Committee as per Henri Troyat) then maintained a straight face when Alexander himself took various mistresses.
There’s so much to learn about history that I think, I’ll stop reading fiction for a while to satisfy my curiosity.
Next books to read:
1. Catherine the Great (if I could find it in Booksale!)
2. Napoleon Bonaparte
Troyat, Henri. Alexander of Russia.
Despite Troyat’s description that Alexander was handsome, I couldn’t say yes. Check out the photo, would you find him..ah,..handsome?