Top positive review
Convincing and intriguing - even in the light of later evidence
4 September 2016
I wondered whether it was worth reading this book, which I knew to support Anna Anderson's claim to be Tsar Nicholas II's youngest daughter, Anastasia, having already read Robert Massie's 'The Romanovs: The Final Chapter' with its DNA evidence to the contrary. However, I have always been fascinated by the Romanovs and enjoy mystery and detective work, so when I discovered 'Anastasia' in the Countdown Deals, the decision was made for me.
In the light of the later evidence, I found the argument surprisingly convincing. I shared the author's frustration at the double standards of the trials relating to Anna Anderson's case; witnesses for her were always asked for the evidence as to how they recognised her, while those testifying against her were not asked how they knew she was NOT Anastasia. I noted that sometimes a witness for her had much more credibility and an account which stood up to scrutiny much better than a witness called to prove that her claim was impossible. (I won't give details - I am assuming that you are trying to decide whether to read the book for yourself.) I wondered how Anna Anderson could have gained certain specific details of the Russian Imperial family, if she were not one of them and was intrigued to read that her ear measurements matched Anastasia's so completely that under most circumstances it would have been regarded as evidence of identity. Anna Anderson's lack of spoken Russian, but ability to understand it has, of course, always been a problem - and one neatly solved by her actually being Polish.
Peter Kurth clearly believed in Anna Anderson and put forward such a good case that it had me reading chunks of Massie's 'The Final Chapter' to check how watertight the evidence was. After all, DNA evidence is only as good as the samples provided. At the end of it all, we have the choice between a conspiracy theory of clever tissue substitution to invalidate the DNA evidence, or an imposter, with a striking resemblance to the Tsar's daughter (right down to her ear detailed ear measurements), who perhaps acquired her knowledge through mixing with Russian emigrés. Either version of the events is slightly larger than life. I recommend both books.