Robert Massie, who has died aged 90, was a historian who could claim to be one of the most popular and successful of the past half-century.
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His books, mainly on Tsarist Russia, sold well over six million copies, not counting bootlegged versions snapped up as the Soviet Union crumbled by Russians eager to learn about their country’s past.
Massie’s interest in the Romanovs was sparked in the 1960s when his son was found to have haemophilia. While researching the disease, he spent long hours in the New York Public Library, where he became fascinated by the story of the Tsarevich Alexis, son of the last Russian emperor, who also, famously, was a haemophiliac.
Massie left his job as a book reviewer…