Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Romanovs
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-08-06 22:01
Murder, love, and war
The Romanovs: 1613-1918 - Simon Sebag Montefiore

I picked up the audio of this for two reasons. The first is that after reading Romanovs: Ruling Russia 1613-1917 I wanted to know more. For some reason, I didn't know that Catherine the Great was a Romanov, so I figured I should know more. Second, Beale does the audio, and he is great.

So dense, and to be honest, the section about the fall (i.e. Nicholas) was the weakest to me for some reason. I think because he didn't seem to find the last members as interesting as the founding members (or maybe because of the reading I have done about Faberge I found it repetitive), but a good solid history.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2016-02-02 00:00
The Romanovs: 1613-1918
The Romanovs: 1613-1918 - Simon Sebag Montefiore
The Romanovs inhabit a world of family rivalry, imperial ambition, lurid glamour, sexual excess and depraved sadism; this is a world where obscure strangers suddenly claim to be dead monarchs reborn, brides are poisoned, fathers torture their sons to death, sons kill fathers, wives murder husbands, a holy man, poisoned and shot, arises, apparently, from the dead, barbers and peasants ascend to supremacy, giants and freaks are collected, dwarfs are tossed, beheaded heads kissed, tongues torn out, flesh knouted off bodies, rectums impaled, children slaughtered; here are fashion-mad nymphomaniacal empresses, lesbian ménage à trois, and an emperor who wrote the most erotic correspondence ever written by a head of state. Yet this is also the empire built by flinty conquistadors and brilliant statesmen that conquered Siberia and Ukraine, took Berlin and Paris, and produced Pushkin, Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky and Dostoevsky; a civilization of towering culture and exquisite beauty.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2014-07-01 16:10
Half of a good book
The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg - Helen Rappaport

This book went on super sale when Rappaport's new book about the Romanov daughters came out. Zam! I love cheap Kindle books. 


I read the biography of the sisters first and was disappointed in how it petered out at the end--the author said in her preface that she had already written a book about the Ekaterinburg days and didn't want to go there again. 


So I read the book about Ekaterinburg. It's got some interesting tidbits about the sisters that weren't included in their biography--namely the story about Maria getting involved with one of their jailers, which resulted in a rift in the family and a clampdown on their privileges. As I said in my review of The Romanov Sisters, I can't understand how that anecdote got left out of the biography (especially when Rappaport had nearly nothing to say about Maria otherwise). 


The structure of the book is fairly clever--Rappaport starts each chapter with a description of the Romanovs in captivity and then jumps into other details: biographical information about everyone in the family, details about how the Bolsheviks were planning the Romanovs' deaths, political maneuverings in Russia and abroad. Some of these details are more interesting than others so parts of the book drag, but overall it's a vast improvement over the utter tedium of the last third of The Romanov Sisters. 


One final nitpick: there are no citations here. Rappaport addresses this in her author's note, justifying it as a way to keep the narrative flowing. I really dislike it when nonfiction books present a bunch of subjective statements without attributing them to anyone, so not knowing which story came from which source really bothered me. 


Some combination of this and The Romanov Sisters would create a pretty interesting read. By themselves the books fall a bit flat. 

Like Reblog Comment
review 2014-06-15 00:21
Poor Anastasia
The Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson, and the World's Greatest Royal Mystery - Greg King,Penny Wilson

I've never been an Anna Anderson supporter. Even before the DNA evidence came out, pictures of her looked completely unlike Anastasia. How could anyone have believed her stories?


This book doesn't provide me with the psychological understanding of Anderson's supporters that I'd been hoping for, but it does debunk a number of the myths that have grown up around the case and ably proves that Anderson was a Polish farm girl and not a member of the Russian royal family.


The text gets a bit repetitive and dull toward the end. I would have liked more stories from people who knew Anderson and her eccentric husband in Charlottesville--they could have been the most amazing episode of Hoarders ever. 

Like Reblog Comment
review 2014-01-10 00:00
The Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson, and the World's Greatest Royal Mystery
The Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson, and the World's Greatest Royal Mystery - Greg King,Penny Wilson The author states in his introduction, "there is really no new evidence here." What a statement!! Mr. King goes through the entire case, from the grand beginnings in the Palaces of Russia and a family seeminly living in paradise, detours through imprisonment and the shattered lives ended in a basement, to the one person who seemed to walk away from it all with just a few visible scars.

Anna Anderson was the one person who brought the entire world almost to a stand still. Her claim to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the Tsar of Russia. She almost seemed bored with the entire proceeding, of having to proclaim over and over again that she was who she claimed to be. Many were taken aback by her apparent lack of care over proving her identity. The major question though is why did she not want to see certain people, how did she manage to pull the charade out for so long, and why were so many people willing to believe she was who she was claiming to be. The answer simply comes down to the fact that after the war, people were desperate. They wanted to reclaim a part of their glorious past, and perhaps if she really was who she claimed, there would be large rewards for them as well. Anderson had something of a natural charm that drew people to her. She could push them away as she was temperamental and suspected everyone of trying to take advantage of her.

In the end, DNA was able to prove what no one else could, that Anderson was NOT the Grand Duchess Anastatia. Anderson had lived with the lie for so long that she even convinced herself of the role. She built each layer so carefully, so precise, that by the end, if she has walked away, she could have opened herself to legal persecution. It was easier to live with the lie than it was to face the truth, the real person that she was. The lie was more engaging, and she was appreciated and wanted. The life Anderson led before was one of hardship, unwanted by her mother, and anonymity that would get her no where. She wanted more from life, and the executions and rumors that swarmed around the possibility that there might be a surviving daughter gave Anderson the light she needed to move forward to a new life.

I think this was a good read,full of information, BUT there were several instances where the reader will get bogged down with details so boring, with the information that seems to be on repeat... a lot. If you want to get a read comprehensive review of the entire case from pre to after without reading any other material, then this would be the book you would want to read.
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?