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The Fate of the Romanovs (History)
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 1 December 2003
The last of the tsars, his wife and children and the last members of his household were executed in July 1918. Ever since controversy surrounds these events: Who is to blame? Who has to take responsibility? Did somebody survive(Anastasia)? Have the remains been found? Bolsheviks and monarchists alike used the brutal murder for their own propaganda purposes - bloody Nicolas versus saintly Nicolas! Propaganda, fabrications, lies, the need of justification and a lot of emotions seem to make it nearly impossible to get to the truth as everybody involved to date seems to have a hidden (and sometimes not even that) agenda.
King and Wilson try to cut through all of this web and suddenly the lines between friends and foes blur, the persons involved emerge as human beings and not just as tools of one or the other political ideology. 600 pages might be heavy reading for some, but I enjoyed every page!! Of course the findings and the conclusions will be - as usual - debated, rejected or welcomed, but future works will have to deal with King and Wilson's findings and future works - I am sure there will be some the subject matter is far too fascinating - will have to take this into account. So properly this book will not be the last word on the execution of the imperial family, but it is properly the best to date.
While reading sometimes one wonders whether anybody really wants to learn the truth?! Why is that - after 85 years. I suppose that it proves the theory right that a nation's wounds are healing very slowly if the past not dealt with. This proves to be an obstacle for the future. Think of more recent situation where nations have to go through a very difficult healing process. (Nazi-Germany, Franco-Spain, Apartheid in South Africa, Military dictatorships in South America and the like). Properly in Russia that has not even started. A lesson to be learned?
The Fate of the Romanovs by King and Wilson can only be recommended. Read it!!!
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on 18 February 2015
I would recommend this book to anyone who has a genuine interest in the tragic fate of the Romanovs - as a family - but the political and social analysis of the times - which the book goes into shows that they were - to some extent - responsible for their fate. The personalities of the Tzar and the Tzarina - the influence that Rasputin gained over the couple - the fact that their only son was a haemophiliac - the commencement of
World War I all conspired to bring about their downfall - they can be described as being in the wrong place at the wrong time = but they were also the wrong people - looking back to a Russia that probably never was - incapable of responding to a country that was being forced to modernise.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I was much impressed with this incredibly well researched book. It's a heady mix of science,history, crime and tragedy!

Packed full of details that really paint the picture.It does not contain any particular bias. It has the feel of a court cross examination, really weighing up all the evidence that often is contradictory, the evidence is then meticulously cross referenced.

This story kept me gripped from start to finish, sometimes i found attention to details to be somewhat lengthy however only in one chapter did i find it this attention to detail to be a little tedious and a detracting from the main thread of the tale. The majority of the small facts and information were for me spell bounding as it added meat to the bones of the story.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2009
I bought this book a few years ago for my mother - she lent it to a friend who didn't return it, so I was thinking about buying her another copy. We both read it cover to cover and were very impressed with the wealth of detail it contains.

But... on Googling the book title I came across some interesting debates about it on discussion forums. And I was shocked to find that there is a lot of doubt hanging over it. At best the sources seem to have been quoted selectively and at worst information presented as fact has been pulled out of thin air. In some cases the original source turns out to say the opposite of what appears in this book, or doesn't say anything at all.

This makes me question everything that is stated as fact in this book. I am really annoyed about this because when you read widely about a subject, as my mother has done about the Russian Revolution, you often don't know where all the info in your head has come from - so now it's difficult for her to disentangle the `facts' she got from this book from those that came from more reliable sources.

It seems that the authors believed in Anna Anderson, an Anastasia imposter, at the time of writing the book - even though DNA evidence had already proved her to have been a fraud. Some people have suggested that the authors massaged the facts to fit this theory, and I must say that, having looked into it a bit, I am inclined to think that they may be right. Apparently the authors were planning a book about Anna Anderson, but the discovery of the `missing' daughter's remains have thrown a spanner in the works - the authors now believe, finally, that Anna Anderson was a fraud and are now intending to produce an account of her life from this point of view.

What other preconceptions did they have while writing the book? Quite a few, I suspect. Certainly the problems with their use of sources, and their presentation of speculation as fact, don't seem confined to the areas related to Anastasia's 'survival'.

I am always suspicious of history written by people who have agendas and who therefore prejudge what their research is going to turn up - conclusions should be made to fit the evidence, not the other way round.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Given the complexities of Russian Politics between the reign of the last Tzar and modern times, this book, which compares closely information discovered and released throughout this time period, is understandably large and complex. Thankfully, it is however written in an accessible style, allowing the reader to become familiar with the events of 1918 in a political environment filled with Royalists, Communists, Menshaviks and Bolsheviks not to mention the Red, White and Czech military powers and the varying political and military interests of Great Britain, Czechoslovakia and Germany.

"The Fate Of The Romanovs" follows the story of the Tzar, Emperor Nicholas II, and his family, from his abdication in the face of the rising Soviet republic, to the massacre of him and his family in the basement of the "House Of Special Purpose" in Ekaterinburg. The book then proceeds to analyse two major themes arising from this incident. Firstly, the various analyses done on the remains of the bodies over the years with various improving levels of scientific advancement to try to establish the true identity of some of the remains. Secondly, a look at the folklore and political propaganda built up during the cold war that changed the idea of the Imperial family from an autocratic dictatorial ruling elite to a gentle family brutally murdered. It is of course true that they were brutally murdered, and their story is indeed a sad one, partucularly for the children; full of hope of freedom right until the last moment.

I only have the following minor criticisms: Firstly, that for a Western European audience, there are obviously a lot of unfamiliar and similar-sounding names which can be hard to keep track of as it is, without the author's style of referring to people interchangebly by either title, first or last names. Secondly the unusual style of throwing in discriptive prose in the middle of technical information. The author is often particular in describing fine details, such as duty lists of guards, specific dimensions of each room in a house, technical names of guns people are holding, and the like. However this is often punctuated suddenly by descriptions of crisp autumn leaves and tyres crunching on gravel. It's no major issue but it often affects the flow of his particular reportage-style of writing. Finally, I was disappointed with his avoidance of the whole episode and controversy of Anna Anderson's emergence claiming to be Anastasia.Whilst not completely overlooked, it's hardly mentioned and certainly not investigated. It appears that the situation remains with the Americans believeing that Anastasia's body is the missing one, and the Russians believing that Tatiana's body is the missing one.

In summary, a really interesting, well-researched and resourced book on a most complex era of Russian history and one of the most emotive political stories in the world. It exposes the deep familial links between the European monarchies, and explains the incoherence of the early Soviet regime and the various factions within and outwith it. Ultimately it records the last tragic months of a young family on the road to their doom, and how the population subsequently changed its opinion of them.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Being completely interested in the Romanov history I read this book late 2003. Three years further down the line, out of all Romanov-history/biography books that I own and have read, this one I would definately point out as a "Must-read". Also due to its detailed description of facts, the research that has been done on this subject and also the scientific point of view I would highly rate this.

Being Belgian I was living in the UK at the time I read this book. In this story I discovered something of which I had no knowledge prior to this time : that some of the "real" relicts of the Tsar's family were kept in a Russian Orthodox Church near Brussels (Ukkel). The relicts would've been "buried" inside one of the Church's wall. Though the book didn't really tell me the exact location of where to find this I dug myself into it, in finding out myself. Then flew over to Brussels for a weekend, went to the Church to find it ... closed. No way had I come all this way to find a closed church. Until I found somebody, a Russion person related to this Church. After explaining my intents, that I would love to visit inside the Church to have a look at their "Official Marblestone" inscriptions on the wall relating to the complete Romanov family, this person was so kind enough to open the Church for me.

I could not believe my luck!

Now, if the contents of a book/history can make me do all this, that's when it is a good book for me indeed ...I've gained extra knowledge due to this book.

I can highly recommend this to all Romanov-junkies :)
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on 21 December 2014
The end of a dynesty, for what?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2012
Couldn't put this book down. A must read for anyone interested in the circumstances leading up to the brutal and undeserved murder of the whole Imperial family. Difficult to read some of the graphic details of what happened in the cellar and what they went through at the end which was nothing more than a cold blooded slaughter of the young innocent Grand Duchesses and Heir.
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