Robert K. Massie
|Born||Robert Kinloch Massie III|
January 5, 1929
Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.
|Alma mater||Yale University|
University of Oxford
Massie was born in Lexington, Kentucky. He spent much of his youth in Nashville, Tennessee and studied United States and European history at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and Oxford University in Great Britain (United Kingdom), respectively, on a Rhodes Scholarship. Massie worked as a journalist for Newsweek news magazine from 1959 to 1962 before taking a position at the old Saturday Evening Post.
In 1967, before he and his family moved to France, Massie wrote and published his breakthrough book, Nicholas and Alexandra, an authoritative biography of Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918, reigned 1894-1917) and Alexandra of Hesse (1872-1918), the last Emperor and Empress of Russia. Massie's interest in the Russian Imperial Family of Romanov was triggered by the birth of his son, Robert Kinloch Massie IV, who was born with hemophilia--a hereditary disease that also afflicted Nicholas's son and heir to the imperial throne, the Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich. In 1971 the book was the basis for an Academy Award-winning biographical feature film with the same title, which starred Michael Jayston alongside Janet Suzman. 28 years later in 1995, in his book The Romanovs: The Final Chapter, Massie updated the Nicholas and Alexandra historical biography with much newly discovered information following the opening of some Russian and Soviet archives after 73 years and the end of the Cold War with the opening of the Berlin Wall, the fall of communism in 1989 and subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1990-1991. Their bodies and those of some of their children were later exhumed from unmarked hidden forest graves, identified from modern DNA evidence and given a State and Church funeral by the new Russian Federation and interred in the restored Russian Orthodox cathedral in renamed St. Petersburg in 1998.
In 1975 Robert Massie and his then-wife Suzanne Massie chronicled their experiences as the parents of a child with hemophilia and the significant differences between the American and French health care systems in their jointly-written book, Journey.
Massie later won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for Peter the Great: His Life and World. This biographical book inspired a 1986 NBC television network miniseries, Peter the Great, that won three Emmy Awards and starred Maximilian Schell, Laurence Olivier and Vanessa Redgrave.
Since then, Massie has written a number of books, and his most recent biographical book, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman was published in 2011 about the Tsarina Catherine the Great (1729-1796, reigned 1762-1796).
From 1987 to 1991, Massie was President of the Authors Guild, and he currently serves as an ex officio council member. While President of the Guild, he famously called on authors to boycott any store that refused to carry Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses because of threats from the Islamic /Muslim world.