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The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and…

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia (2014)

by Candace Fleming

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Detailed, enthralling description of the last tsar of Russia, his rule, and his family. Interesting information about the lives of Russian peasants, as well. Includes many photographs. Curricular connections: Social Studies/history--what factors led to the Russian Revolution? English--compare the facts of the Russian revolution and Lenin as presented in this book with the beginning of Animal Farm. ( )
  KristineCA | Apr 26, 2016 |
This review is also available on my blog at http://ireadtilldawn.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-family-romanov-murder-rebellion.ht... (it keeps goofing up when I post the HTML)

This was an amazing read. There was so much intimate detail it read like a historical fiction, but everything was strictly true according to the information we have available. I have read many a book about the Romanovs, most of which are fictional and the majority of which focus on the final months of the royal family (usually involving either Maria or Anastasia's survival), but I learned a whole wealth of information about the family in this book. Facts I knew about the family's lives were put into context, so I didn't just know the small pieces of the Romanov story; I saw the large picture as well.

Scattered throughout the book are firsthand accounts from peasants and soldiers living in Russia during Tsar Nicholas's reign and through to the beginning of Lenin's reign (which was when the Romanovs died). While I'm sure those excerpts provide a good picture of the horror of the lives of the average Russian, I'm afraid I skimmed over and even blatantly skipped most of the excerpts. What can I say? I read half of the book late at night while babysitting (the kids were in bed), and the other half in a foggy sleep-deprived state the next day. I absorbed the intimate details about the royal family (seriously, their diaries were like extensions of their hands!), but I found the inserts more a distraction than anything else. Others might find them more interesting than I did, though.

There are two sets of photographs set into the book, the first half of which focus on the time before the war and revolution, and the latter half providing glimpses into the war as well as the increasingly confined Romanovs. If you're not a reader but you're interested in the Romanovs, then get this book from the library and just look at the pictures. They tell the entire story in an intimate, heartbreaking tale that begins with pictures of people in fancy dress and of opulent houses, and ends with pictures of bones laid out on a table and a holy icon bearing the image of the sainted royal family. It is very moving watching the downward spiral that was their lives. The photographs are amazing; there were many pictures of the royal family that I had never seen before, and even the ones that I had already seen were given new meaning because of the detail the text provided. It really puts the names to faces, if you know what I mean.

All in all, a great historical nonfiction book about a fascinating point in history. If you are at all interested in the Romanovs, this is the perfect book for you! ( )
  Jaina_Rose | Mar 1, 2016 |
Children's non-fiction at it's best! ( )
  EmilyRokicki | Feb 26, 2016 |
Narrated by Kimberly Farr. I only had a flicker of knowledge of the Romanov family and less about Rasputin (wasn't there a song from the '80s about him???), so this was a fascinating history lesson not only about this sheltered wealthy family but the historic events happening in Russia at the time (revolution and the rise of Lenin, the Bolsheviks and communism). Farr's authoritative performance will hook listeners on the doomed family's story as she reads with tones of compassion, indignance, and skeptical wonder depending on the content. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
RGG: For those interested in all things Romanov. Engaging, approachable. Reading Interest: 12-YA.
  rgruberexcel | Jan 15, 2016 |
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When Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, inherited the throne in 1894, he was unprepared to do so. With their four daughters (including Anastasia) and only son, a hemophiliac, Nicholas and his reclusive wife, Alexandra, buried their heads in the sand, living a life of opulence as World War I raged outside their door and political unrest grew into the Russian Revolution. Deftly maneuvering between the lives of the Romanovs and the plight of Russia's peasants and urban workers--and their eventual uprising--Fleming offers up a fascinating portrait, complete with inserts featuring period photographs and compelling primary-source material that brings it all to life.
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