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.
Synthesizing a variety of sources, British historian Rappaport (Joseph Stalin) details the Romanovs last two weeks, imprisoned in a cramped private house in Ekaterinburg, a violently anti-czarist industrial city in the Ural Mountains where Nicholas II; his wife, Alexandra; and their five children were executed on July 17, 1918. The czars rescue was a low priority for the Allies, and several escape plots by Russian monarchists came to naught. A lax guard was replaced by a rigorous new regime on July 4, headed by Yakov Yurovsky, whose familys impoverished Siberian exile had fueled his burning hatred for the imperial family, and his ruthless assistant and surrogate son, Grigory Nikulin. How the last czar and his family died was one of Russias best-kept secrets for decades, and Rappaport spares none of the gory details of the panicked bloodbath (it took an entire clip of bullets to finish off the czarevitch because an undergarment sewn with jewels protected the boys torso) and botched burial of the corpses. Although parts of the Romanov saga are familiar and Rappaports sympathy for the czar often seems na�ve, this is an absorbing, lucid and authoritative work. 16 pages of photos. (Feb. 3)
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1 . The Romanovs
Posted July 10, 2010 by Michele Cohen , CantonThis book was well and very informative about the last days Tsar Nicholas, Alexandra, Maria,olga,tatiana, Anastasia, Alexey. the book talks about how they were treated after tthe Tsar Abdicated the throne and how he and his family were treated by yhe bolsheviks and ural soviet army, Also how violently they were killed by the people who kept them captive for about 3 months.
St. Martin's Press
January 18, 2010
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