The Last Days of the Romanovs

The Last Days of the Romanovs

Tragedy at Ekaterinburg

Book - 2009
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A brilliant account of the political forces swirling through the remote Urals town of Ekaterinburg at the bitter end of the First World War. Challenges the view that the deaths of the Romanovs were a unilateral act by a maverick group of Bolsheviks, and identifies a chain of command that stretches to Moscow-- and to Lenin himself.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2009
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780312379766
Characteristics: xii, 254 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Rappaport, Helen Ekaterinburg


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Mar 27, 2019

A charting of the last months of the lives of the Russian Imperial Family that is absolutely chilling. Rappaport is an excellent writer and has meticulously researched her subject, and also writes in a style that is easy to follow and utterly engrossing.

What I particularly enjoyed about the book is that Rappaport takes the time to discuss each family member. So often they are just lumped together, particularly the four Grand Duchesses (indeed, they so often signed or referred to themselves as OTMA - the first letter of each of their names). I really enjoyed learning about each of the girls and their own distinct personalities.

Rappaport also takes the time to explore and catalog the build up to the assassination, to chart how it came to be, and also to explore the aftermath and how the bodies were hidden and how the truth of the murders was so thoroughly obfuscated and twisted.

What hits a reader the most, however, is the description of the murders. These people did not die easily or painlessly, but in the midst of savagery and violence. Whatever the sins or crimes of the Tsar and Tsaritsa, their five children were innocent, and yet they were not spared and instead suffered even more horrifically than their parents, who were among the first to die.

An enthralling, heartbreaking read.

Apr 26, 2017

I was so pleased to find this book in the FVRL collection detailing the last days of the Tsars's family in confinement at Ekaterinburg. The description of the family member's routines, their accommodation, their morale, and their relationship with their captors is vivid as is their murders in the basement of the house they were kept in. Other books I have read don't give the details of their jailors - names, ages, background, pictures - which this one does. The author even describes how the murderers clumsy attempts to get rid of the bodies in the nearby forest was a disaster as far as carrying out a thought-out plan of disposing the bodies. She shows how the Bolsheviks covered up the murders from the West and why they were finally anxious to carry out the deed after keeping the family in captivity for almost a year and a half. The book is very readable and provides an excellent bibliography. I found a website listed there that provides sources of first hand information from the Tsar's household who were not simultaneously killed with the family. The book does provide some background to the reasons for the Revolution as well and the failed efforts of the West to help the Tsar and his family after his abdication. If you enjoyed this book, you might also enjoy this book in the FVRL collection called, "Former People" in which the author describes how the lives of the aristocracy changed and what they lived through during the Revolution. FVRL has a book on Olga's diaries (she was the Tsar's oldest daughter).

Jun 27, 2016

This book got me so hooked into the history of the imperial family.

Oct 13, 2015

I first read The Romanov Sisters, by the same author as it was more in-depth, and this one was the last days of their lives. It's so well detailed, researched, written, etc. I just finished the book and I know I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight. Absolutely tragic and horrific. I particularly like this author because it's refreshing to read at a more challenging level.

Jan 16, 2015

Interesting, a little hard to read, too many Russian names!

I loved this book, a great introduction for readers not all that familiar with this historical event. It has inspired me to read more about his tumultuous period of history.

May 06, 2010

Rappaport puts together an oft told tale in a readable way without sacrificing the facts. She uses sources that were new and interesting to me.

If you've read all that's been written about these ?last days' there's not much new here. But, she does include more on the ?efforts' various nations considered to rescue them or give them asylum. Always intriguing to me.

Dec 05, 2009

A very readable piecing together of the last few weeks in the lives of Tsar Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, their five children, and the unfortunate faithful retainers who shared their fate. Each chapter moves the narrative along a few days, or a day (towards the end), then focuses on a protagonist in order to give the background of the event leading up to the massacre.

As we know what happened, the feeling of tension and inevitable doom builds until we reach the very graphic chapter that describes, in horrific detail, what happened to the Romanovs and their servants. To be frank, I didn't read that chapter all that closely.

Ms Rappaport has researched meticulously and set out her arguments and narratives clearly. She succeeds in finding a balance between the Romanovs-as-saints and Romanovs-as-oppressors camps, and even manages to shed light on the motivations of their executioners. I was left with a feeling of sadness, not so much for the Romanovs and their company who were, after all only eleven out of millions who have suffered despair and death in Russia over the past century, but that such suffering is not likely to be over any time soon.


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Nov 12, 2010

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Mar 27, 2019

On the sweltering summer night of July 16, 1918, in the Siberian city of Ekaterinburg, a group of assassins led an unsuspecting Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, his wife, the Tsarina Alexandra, the desperately ill Tsarevich, and their four beautiful daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia, into a basement room where they were shot and then bayoneted to death.
This is the story of those murders, which ended three hundred years of Romanov rule and set their stamp on an era of state-orchestrated terror and brutal repression.

The Last Days of the Romanovs counts down to the last, tense hours of the family’s lives, stripping away the over-romanticized versions of previous accounts. The story focuses on the family inside the Ipatiev House, capturing the oppressive atmosphere and the dynamics of a group—the Romanovs, their servants, and guards—thrown together by extraordinary events.

Marshaling overlooked evidence from key witnesses such as the British consul to Ekaterinburg, Sir Thomas Preston, American and British travelers in Siberia, and the now-forgotten American journalist Herman Bernstein, Helen Rappaport gives a brilliant account of the political forces swirling through the remote Urals town. She conveys the tension of the watching world: the Kaiser of Germany and George V, King of England—both, like Alexandra, grandchildren of Queen Victoria—their nations locked in combat as the First World War drew to its bitter end. And she draws on recent releases from the Russian archives to challenge the view that the deaths were a unilateral act by a maverick group of the Ekaterinburg Bolsheviks, identifying a chain of command that stretches directly, she believes, to Moscow—and to Lenin himself.

Telling the story in a compellingly new and dramatic way, The Last Days of the Romanovs brings those final tragic days vividly alive against the backdrop of Russia in turmoil, on the brink of a devastating civil war.

-- From GoodReads, taken from the summary flap of the book itself


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