Robert K. Massie, a Pulitzer Prize–winning writer and biographer who is best known for chronicling the history of Russia through his insightful books on its most fascinating and consequential figures, passed away on Monday, December 2, 2019, at age 90.
A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Massie studied American history at Yale and European history at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He began researching the Romanov family while working as a journalist for The Saturday Evening Post, eventually leaving that job to pursue his research and historical writing full time. At the time of his death, he lived in Irvington, New York, with his wife, the literary agent Deborah Karl.
His first book, Nicholas and Alexandra: The Classic Account of the Fall of the Romanov Dynasty, was published in 1967. Massie’s abiding interest in the Russian imperial house continued with the publication of Peter the Great: His Life and World, which was awarded the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, The Romanovs: The Final Chapter, and his final book, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. He is also the author of the World War I naval histories Dreadnought and Castles of Steel.