Robert K. Massie was born in Lexington, Kentucky, grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, graduated from Yale University, and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University where he read Modern History. For four years, he served as an air intelligence officer aboard aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean and the Pacific.
Mr. Massie was on the staff of Newsweek from 1959 to 1962 where he was a book reviewer, foreign news writer, and United Nations Bureau Chief. His writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine, Saturday Review, Life, Architectural Digest, The Smithsonian Magazine, and other publications.
Mr. Massie’s interest in the Imperial family was triggered by the birth of his oldest son, who was born with hemophilia—a hereditary disease that also afflicted Tsar Nicholas’s son, Alexei. His first book Nicholas and Alexandra (1969), which remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for 46 weeks, was translated into seventeen languages, and made into a film nominated for nine Academy Awards. Over six million copies of this book have been sold around the world. Mr. Massie’s next book, Journey, written with his first wife, was an account of their family’s experience with hemophilia. Journey was followed by Peter the Great: His Life and World, which won a Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Peter the Great became a major network mini-series, winning three Emmy Awards and starring Maximilian Schell, Laurence Olivier, and Vanessa Redgrave. Mr. Massie then went on to write Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming of the Great War, The Romanovs: The Final Chapter, and Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany and the Winning of the Great War at Sea. His latest book, Catherine the Great, won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Non Fiction.
Massie has twice been a professor at Princeton University, has served as the Mellon Professor of Humanities at Tulane University, and was long-serving trustee of Vassar College. He has been a juror for the Pulitzer Prize for History, for the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, and a judge for the National Book Award. From 1987 to 1991, he was the president of the 8,000 member Authors Guild of America. Over the years, he has been an historical adviser to, and has made frequent appearances on, a number of national television programs and documentaries.
Mr. Massie lives in Irvington, NY with his wife Deborah Karl and three children.