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Customer Review

on 6 September 2000
This is the second book on the latter years of the Romanov dynasty from Sutton Publishing within two years, and it is interesting to compare them. The first, by Van der Kiste, tells the story in one chronological narrative from the birth of Alexander II in 1818 to the death of his his youngest daughter in 1959. This, on the other hand, is basically a collection of articles on members of the family, and while it is fun to dip into, it does involve a certain amount of overlapping and repetition in referring to events. Ms Zeepvat's enthusiasm for and insight into their personalities is evident, but I found her text sometimes lacking in objectivity, as if she is so passionately devoted to her subjects that she cannot bear to say a word against any of them. The defensive account of Grand Duke Serge in this book rings less true than the harsher, more detached and arguably more realistic analysis of his character in the other title. Her line drawings are attractive, but the quality of some of the plates leaves much to be desired. Also I agree with the previous reviewer; her insistence on using the Russian names (e.g. Pavel for Paul) is distracting, and her obsession with 'Grand Prince' in preference to 'Grand Duke' irritating. She expends considerable energy in the front of the book explaining why, but it all seems rather unnecessary. Other authors have followed the Anglicised names and 'Grand Duke' style for years, so what is the point of being different for the sake of it? ...
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