The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg

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Macmillan, Feb 3, 2009 - History - 254 pages

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.

 

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THE LAST DAYS OF THE ROMANOVS: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg

User Review  - Kirkus

You-are-there account of the grim 1918 countdown toward the deaths of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.British historian Rappaport (No Place for Ladies: The Untold Story of Women in the Crimean War ... Read full review

The last days of the Romanovs: tragedy at Ekaterinburg

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Using a wide range of primary sources in English and Russian, Rappaport (Queen Victoria: A Biographical Companion), a British author who specializes in Russian studies, concentrates on the final weeks ... Read full review

Contents

The Red Urals
1
1 Behind the Palisade
11
2 The Dark Gentleman
28
3 The Man with a Cigarette
44
4 The Woman in a Wheelchair
58
5 Girls in White Dresses
73
6 The Boy in the Sailor Suit
86
7 The Good Doctor
98
11 Absolutely No News from Outside
144
12 Something Has Happened to Them in There
159
13 Ordinary People Like Us
170
14 The House of Special Purpose
175
15 The Will of the Revolution
184
16 The World Will Never Know What We Did to Them
203
The Scent of Lilies
208
Note on Sources
224

8 Our Poor Russia
106
9 Everything Is the Same
118
10 What Is To Be Done with Nicholas?
128
Bibliography
228
Index
243
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About the author (2009)

Helen Rappaport studied Russian at Leeds University and is a specialist in Russian and nineteenth-century women's history. Her previous book No Place for Ladies: The Untold Story of Women in the Crimean War (Aurum Press) was published to acclaim in the UK in 2007. She lives in Oxford.

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