These letters, most of which are published here for the first time, offer an intimate look at some of the most momentous events of the early 1900s, including Russia's participation in World War I and the fall of the Romanov dynasty in the Bolshevik revolution. Among the correspondents are Alexandra's beloved but domineering grandmother, Queen Victoria of England, and Nicholas' cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany. Most poignant, though, are the letters and diaries of the last Tsar and Tsarina, which stand as eloquent expressions of one of the great love affairs of this century. A Lifelong Passionbegins in 1884 with the couple's first childhood meeting and chronicles their intense courtship and first joyful years of marriage. The Romanovs' happiness was not to last, however, as they were quickly overtaken by the forces of war and revolution. The discovery that their only son and heir Alexei was stricken with hemophilia opened the family to the formidable and perhaps malign influence of the monk Rasputin, whose gory death at the hands of two Grand Dukes is here recounted by one of the murderers. Though unshaken in their love for one another, Nicholas and Alexandra could not hold their country together, and their story ends with a chilling account of their assassination by the Bolshevik revolutionaries.