In that sense, to say that I have read this book as a thriller or mistery novel though, paradoxically, everybody knows how it ends! To sum up, this is definitely one of the best history books that I have ever read, a volume that deserves the entirety of its praises and my 5 humble stars.
View all 11 comments. This is a very readable biography. Although focusing on the Romanov's last weeks of captivity, there are separate chapters about each family member's life, as well as those of their faithful staff. The narrative therefore becomes very personal, and their hopes, fears and frustrations become especially poignant in those last few days, with you knowing what will happen to them, knowing that they don't. There are also chapters about the men who killed them, and the royal European cousins who could a This is a very readable biography.
There are also chapters about the men who killed them, and the royal European cousins who could and should have saved them. The night of the massacre is chillingly told. Their brutal deaths and hideously haphazard burials are morbidly detailed, but equally fascinating. An incredibly sad story, very movingly told. This is an excellent overview of the death of the tsar by a fine writer. I learned things I'd never known and I've been reading on this topic for 40 years. The only flaw I saw was after devoting a chapter to the tsar, the tsarina and the girls wonderful , I expected a similar chapter on Alexei.
Recommended if you're interested in Russian history and the Romanovs in particular. Romanov's dynasty tragic end continues to fascinate public. As I'm reading this book, a certain Russian MP a former prosecutor with dubious mentsl health also tries to publish her "book" on the errors in the upcoming film on the balerina Matilda Kseshinskaya, a mistress to now saint Nicolas II.
The saint couldn't have had any affairs! He was a saint! Helen Rappaport, on the other hand, tries to show how ordinary and regular this saintly family was. Nicolas was an indifferent ruler, incompet Romanov's dynasty tragic end continues to fascinate public. Nicolas was an indifferent ruler, incompetent and unwilling at times to concern himself with the huge problems of the vast country.
He was not very well liked, his horrible nickname "Bloody" for his political repressions and poor governing skills. So it was probsbly understandable that he was to be executed after the change of power, though not justified. But why the whole family suffered this horrible and tragic end? Poor tsarevich, sickly invalid child who might not survive anyway, lovely girls and their quiet reticent mother all perished under the bloody wheels of history.
This book provides an intimate insight into the quiet life of the diffucult family, thrown yet unwilling to be in the public eye. In the end, forever hiding in their Tsarksoe selo proved to be a poor preparation for their brutal meeting with real Russia and its people. They didn't live lavish lives, preferring modest surrounding and simple living, certain in their own priviliged position. They failed to understand the irrevocable change in their country and its people. After suffering for centuries under the brutal rule of oppressive violent tsars, Russians no longer viewed them with any reverence, recognising their sudden nakedness and powerlessness.
I feel sorry for the family, their death was pointless, yet so were many other deaths under the tsar regime. What came after was just the continuation of the same oppression and brutality, following in the footsteps of the tsarist regime. Russia was never free and probably never would be, not in my lifetime anyway. Perhaps, if Nicolas made earlier decision to leave throne in , his life and of his family would be spared. Oh, where to begin? I wasn't expecting high scholarship, if only from the terrible cover.
To the smart aleck saying not to judge books by their covers, let me take a second and tell you why this cover is worthy of judgment. It's anyone's guess why this woman decided to put a cover on said book featuring a red-tinted, badly-shopped image of the Rothschild egg over the Livad Oh, where to begin?
It's anyone's guess why this woman decided to put a cover on said book featuring a red-tinted, badly-shopped image of the Rothschild egg over the Livadia portrait of the Imperial family. Please notice the idiotically superimposed Imperial eagle right over the cockerel's neck. The 'shop job is so bad that in person, you can see the pixels.
Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs Paperback – International Edition, March 1, This item:Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport Paperback $ The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Romanov Sisters and Caught in the Revolution, The Last Days of the Romanovs is Helen Rappaport's.
The back cover praises Rappaport for a fair and unbiased treatment of her subject matter, but as you can imagine, a woman with such credits as Lenin in Exile , Joseph Stalin: A Biographical Companion , and the Encyclopedia of Women Social Reformers , she was about as balanced as a chocolate diet. Mostly all she does is use the word "hagiographer" incessantly and dedicate whole paragraphs to demeaning these supposed flattering biographers, whoever they are.
Greg King her obvious mentor and responsible for chunks of her ridiculous bibliography praises her to the skies. All this told me that this "nonfiction" work was going to be this close to a waste of time. But librarians read things that are wastes of time. So you don't have to. Let me break down not only what made this book so terrible or "what made me dislike it so much," if you're a stickler but also why you shouldn't read it.
Go ahead, judge the book by its cover. Because this crudely podged together cover is a perfect summation of the slapped together idiocy that passes for the book's "scholarship.
I mentioned her "bibliography" a second ago -- it doesn't even deserve the name. From misspelled names to flat-out incorrect titles, she makes every mistake in the book -- including the first mistake everyone makes in freshman composition, which is to split the bib into "primary" and "secondary" sources and then define "primary" as "stuff I used the most" and "secondary" for "stuff I didn't use that much. For example, she didn't cite Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich's biography even though he was Nicholas' Favorite, his aide for many years, and also deeply involved in the murder of Rasputin.
She also doesn't reference his sister's autobiography, the two-volume memoirs of Grand Duchess Marie. You might defend this by pointing out that this book focused on the "last days" of the Romanovs and neither of those two were around for that, but I would answer that 1 she spent so much time skipping through dates that their lack is conspicuous and odd, and 2 she referenced others who were just as little involved in the actual "last days.
Not to mention sources she must have used and didn't bother to put in the bib at all -- when I came across a quotation that I knew where she had gotten it, I found it impossible to find the citation in either her "primary" or her "secondary" sources. Oh, and by the way, I had to recall where the quotation came from because she never cited anything in the text.
Now, she wrote this book in a narrative style that jumps back and forth in the timeline, apparently just to give her enough words to pad out each chapter, and maybe for that reason she decided against using any kind of system whatsoever to identify quotations, paraphrases, or other references to information she didn't just make up off the top of her head. On the other hand, the advantage to reference-free writing is you can make up whatever you want off the top of your head and no one will know the difference.
For example, if I subtly slipped into the next paragraph that she wrote extensively about the empress' pet green hippo, you'd have no way of knowing this wasn't true. Even if it sounds peculiar, you couldn't determine if I was lying without clapping hands on the document. Now imagine if I were discussing some 40 or 50 documents -- the only way you'd know I was talking crazy is 1 to sift through the dozens of documents yourself, or 2 know the subject well enough to know.
In the meantime, plenty of ignorant readers who don't know or care to find out will blithely carry on the misinformation about a green hippo. And that's why it makes me angry. Honestly, that sums up the gravest faults of the book and there's not much else to say. I suppose she thought she divided it cleverly: But she followed nothing close to a timeline, starting with events in and then jumping around, back to Nicholas' childhood, forward to , back to , back again, forward, back. And outright mistakes aren't limited to the bibliography either.
She couldn't get Michael Romanov's name or the details of his death right, and while the American President Wilson gets a page and a half of flowery, poetic description, Nicholas is repeatedly condemned for the apparent crime of not doing things Helen Rappaport and Greg King's way. Wilson wasn't the only random she jumped around to, either, and all these other unrelated individuals seemed to get more positive treatment than the Romanovs themselves -- especially poor Alexandra, whom she framed as a terrible wife and mother, a hypochondriac who drove her husband nearly insane, and also little Alexei, whom she basically denounced as a brat.
Unable to conceive of a loving, tightly-knit Christian family, Rappaport depicts the Romanovs' final days as the torment of a fractured, fragmented group held together by nothing more than their captivity. Not only did she make me feel like they all welcomed death just to escape one another, she made me rather long for death as well! So much of this book is useless, unverifiable padding, and cruel fantasy where the jabs at Nicholas and Alex's marriage are concerned.
This book doesn't even deserve to be flung across the room, as Dorothy Parker would say -- don't even do it the honor of picking it up. Review via Hundredaire Socialite A charting of the last months of the lives of the 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 - th A charting of the last months of the lives of the Imperial Family that is absolutely chilling. 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. I absolutely love Rappaport's writing about the Romanovs. This is heartwrenching and difficult to get through because of the detail in which she describes their deaths and the rush to attempt to dispose of the bodies.
But I--who have read so many books on this topic--learned quite a bit. She has certainly done her research. Put that together with her easy-to-read, beautiful prose, and this is a winner. I really enjoyed this. If you're interested in Russian history, I highly recommend this book t I absolutely love Rappaport's writing about the Romanovs. If you're interested in Russian history, I highly recommend this book to you. I became fascinated with the Romanovs after reading Rappaports book on the Romanov sisters.
This book was much more historic, not an easy read also because of all the names and terms. A well-written ending to the tragic story of the Romanovs. Rappaport goes into more political detail here, which I appreciated. Her epilogue was a little too saccharine and gushing for my taste, which betrayed her very sympathetic attitude towards the family throughout the whole narrative, a sympathy certainly legitimate for the children, quite a bit less so for the Tsar and Tsaritsa. But reading Rappaport's two books in historical order is a treat and I highly recommend them for those looking f A well-written ending to the tragic story of the Romanovs.
But reading Rappaport's two books in historical order is a treat and I highly recommend them for those looking for a "light" in treatment, not subject matter and detailed historical reading experience. I read them backwards. It picks up virtually where The Romanov Sisters left off.
The book is told in a countdown form, with each chapter representing one day. It describes the background of each of the main players in the story, from Nicholas and Alexandra to their children, Dr. Botkin, and even the backgrounds of their future assassins and communist leaders. This is a very honest account of the end of the Romanov dynasty. For years the family has been painted as devoted and happy and loving and finally Rappaport breaks this down by showing their human side. I mean think about I love my family a great deal too but there are times they drive me mad and the same is true with the Romanovs.
They were trapped in a house with little room to exercise, the windows sealed and painted over and in the middle of the summer heat. I'm sure more than a few tempers flared during their last days. I liked the varied perspectives given, from George V in England to Lenin in Moscow and even Woodrow Wilson in America and the introduction of a truly amazing woman Maria Bochkareva, who asked the Tsar for the right to fight on the front with the men and ending up leading an all female battalion, someone who seems to have been lost to history sadly.
Day by day the story counts down and you see all sides of it. The end is not for the faint of heart for sure as it is the most graphic account of the murders I think I have read. Even the guards and the shooters were disgusted by what they had done. Some said that after the Tsar and Tsarina were shot most didn't have the guts to kill the children, but ultimately in the chaos of the room no one was sure who shot who.
The story ends with a description of how the Romanov family has been romanticized over the years, turned into saints and martyrs. She touches on the Anna Anderson saga and about the recent then in finding of the last two bodies. The book was very engaging, and offered new insights, I like learning not just about the Romanov family but also about their guards and what was going on behind the scenes to decide the fate of this family and is a perfect companion to The Romanov Sisters. Thanks to Sher ProfilerSR for recommending this book in It was a hot, humid evening in Ekaterinburg, in the industrial town located in Siberia.
July 16th started as other days for the Romanovs. They entertained themselves by playing cards, reading and caring for their young son and brother. Frail from blood that refused to clot, they continued their hovering and worrying. Thin from lack of food, they were hungry. Weary of the constant rudeness and cruelty of the guards, their spirits were depressed.
Hoping this terrible seclusion would end, they prayed religiously for rescue. Earlier that day, it was noted in Alexandra's diary that the kitchen boy was dismissed by the guards. He was a likeable fellow who helped to ease Alexey's pain. They ate their small rations of food and noted the unusual treat of hard boiled eggs. Later, the barbaric killers of the family ate the excess eggs.
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Thank you for your feedback. Read reviews that mention last days helen rappaport days of the romanovs romanov family ipatiev house anyone interested final days well written special purpose imperial family tsar and his family nicholas and alexandra highly recommend romanov sisters russian revolution tsar nicholas royal family tragedy at ekaterinburg house of special well researched. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. As someone with no previous knowledge of the Romanovs or the Tsar Nicholas II, I bought this as a first basic introduction.
I wanted something easily readable and interesting, and this book did not disappoint.
The writing is good and holds your interest. The author clearly knows her stuff and pieces her full stock of anecdotes, research and knowledge into a tantalising narrative. Under her pen, the final humdrum 14 days of the Romanovs in captivity are converted into a tense account, with elements of a thriller. She maintains this doom-laden strength even while making tangential forays into the wider world of Rappaport has a knack for bringing figures of the past back to life.
We are given intimate and personal portraits of Alexandra, Nicholas and their daughters, as well as the humanity, honour and dedication of some of the ordinary people surrounding the family- the dear Dr Botkin; the servants, even one or two of the guards. There are also a few pages of photographs. The author also lightly garnishes the well-known facts with her own angle and conclusions, which nicely smoothes the overall effect, although the lack of footnotes or endnotes somewhat undermines its credibility as historic documentary.
Very long - difficult to get into.
Rather than stutter, stop, and restart in order to quibble with every different variation, Rappaport can focus on the personalities, the atmosphere, the slow and inexorable tightening of the noose. His health did not seem to weaken, nor did his hair whiten. But this is the first book I have come across which does so in such detail. I want an author who, even if he's passionate about the subject and can rant about it for days, it won't show on paper. I suggest that anyone curius about what really happened to the last Tsar read this book. Even the guards and the shooters were disgusted by what they had done. Olga Romanov poses on the beach, one or two years before her killing.
However, there are some moments when it seems to get more interesting, only to fall back into repetitive sludge all over again. It is bothersome that there are no footnotes, as others have mentioned. I would find myself reading and wonder how the author "knew" certain things that are presented as fact - when I think a lot of it is conjecture. The author is close to her subject and impassioned by it, however no one really comes across as likeable, and I have to wonder why to any or all of it. Why would anyone want to rescue the Romanovs - or why would they want to annihilate them other than for the fact that the Russian people were desperately poor and the Romanovs were completely out of touch?
I didn't realize that the book was supposed to account for the last 14 days of their lives. If that is indeed the case, it jumps back and forth far too much. At the centre were the neurotic Alexandra, her never very robust health undermined severely by worry ever since they had discovered that their son Alexis was a haemophiliac who could die at any time from an attack of internal bleeding and nearly did several times during his short life , under the spell of the peasant and self-proclaimed 'holy man' Rasputin who assured her that 'the little one will not die' until his murder in , and the mild-mannered Nicholas, who was easily influenced by the last person who spoke to him and somehow learnt to live with his wife's temperament while turning a blind eye to her hysteria on occasion in order to preserve his own sanity.
It was a fatal combination. We have a stark portrait of how it must have been for the bored and fearful family in captivity with a weak father, patiently resigned to whatever fate had in store for him, a chronically unwell mother also resigned to some degree, and despite her German birth insistent that she would rather die in Russia than be rescued by their foes the Germans , their terminally ill son of 13, and the four once high-spirited sisters aged between 17 and 22, doubtless hungry for male company and friendship yet denied it.
One of the latter, the extroverted, flirtatious Maria, inevitably succumbed to temptation and was caught in a compromising situation with one of the guards. Just how far we do not know and never will, but the rest of the family were shocked by behaviour which most other parents would probably have shrugged off as a perfectly understandable adolescent lapse. Throughout the narrative, as their approaching doom comes closer day by day, the indifference or helplessness of the outside world, the ever more oppressive restrictions placed on the family in the claustrophobic 'House of Special Purpose' as more palisades went up and the windows were locked, also whitewashed to prevent them from seeing the world outside, the sheer boredom they must have been faced with, the increasing realization that they would probably never get out alive, and the utter loathing for them by some of their captors, all create a chilling mood.
As for the descriptions of the scene that early morning when the family are awakened and taken down to the cellar under the misapprehension that they are about to be rescued, and the scenes in the forest afterwards let's just say 'disposal' and leave it at that — for anyone not familiar with the ghastly detail, let me just suggest you read the book, but be warned that the detail really is horrific in places.
Maybe we can take some mitigating comfort in the fact that Yurovsky, who had taken on himself the mantle of chief executioner and organiser of the firing squad, had some difficulty in finding men prepared to gun down the innocent children as well as the former autocrat dubbed by some of them a mass murderer himself. There have been many books about the fate of the Romanovs during the last thirty years or so. I have read a number, and have sometimes wondered whether there is anything new to be said on the subject.