Books: Nicky & Alicky

NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA by Robert K. Massie. 584 pages. Afheneum. $10.

When Alexander Kerensky proposed a measure to abolish the death penalty in Russia, Czar Nicholas II was opposed to the notion. What would become of discipline in the army, he wanted to know? Kerensky, who was a bit of a fusspot but a far more decent man than any of the Bolsheviks who replaced him, tried gently to explain to the last of the Romanovs that the law he proposed was designed to preserve the Czar's own life.

Nicky was unimpressed. He was as prepared as any other Russian to lay down...

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