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From Splendor to Revolution: The Romanov Women, 1847--1928 [Kindle Edition]

Julia P. Gelardi
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $7.99
Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

This sweeping saga recreates the extraordinary opulence and violence of Tsarist Russia as the shadow of revolution fell over the land, and destroyed a way of life for these Imperial women

The early 1850s until the late 1920s marked a turbulent and significant era for Russia. During that time the country underwent a massive transformation, taking it from days of grandeur under the tsars to the chaos of revolution and the beginnings of the Soviet Union.

At the center of all this tumult were four women of the Romanov dynasty. Marie Alexandrovna and Olga Constantinovna were born into the family, Russian Grand Duchesses at birth. Marie Feodorovna and Marie Pavlovna married into the dynasty, the former born a Princess of Denmark, the latter a Duchess of the German duchy of Mecklendburg-Schwerin.

In From Splendor to Revolution, we watch these pampered aristocratic women fight for their lives as the cataclysm of war engulfs them. In a matter of a few short years, they fell from the pinnacle of wealth and power to the depths of danger, poverty, and exile. It is an unforgettable epic story.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. While providing insight into famously doomed Empress Alexandra Romanov, Gelardi (Born to Rule) focuses on four lesser known but indomitable women who achieved glory at the height of czarist Russia™s global power only to witness its fall to revolution. Danish-born Empress Marie Feodorovna (Nicholas II™s mother) and three of her sisters-in-law: Greek Queen Olga, Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna, and Duchess Marie Alexandrovna, developed from four extravagantly indulged girls into dominant matriarchs who still could not prevent the decline of royalty and centuries-old traditions. Relating the drama and tragedy of royal life, Gelardi ably weaves in the extended family ties that connected most European rulers, including Queen Victoria, while also including helpful genealogy charts. Gelardi™s narrative framework of the four Romanov women™s long lives works well to explain not only the realities of the European courts and alliances but also the unique aspects of the Russian dynasty, which suffered repeated assassination attempts even during the age of splendor, resulting in young Nicholas II™s observation of his grandfather™s murder, possibly hastening Russia™s slide to revolution. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Feb.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Independent historian Gelardi has done her homework, drawing on an impressive array of primary and secondary sources to deliver a joint biography of four women who were part of Russia’s imperial dynasty in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Two of the women, Queen Olga of Greece and Marie Alexandrovna, Duchess of Edinburgh, were born Romanovs, and two, Empress Marie Feodorovna and Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna, married Romanovs. Against the backdrop of a tumultuous period in Russian history, this is really a book about an extended family, with a family’s sorrows, joys, squabbles, and scandals, albeit on a very grand scale. Even with the helpful genealogical charts, it’s easy to get lost in a thicket of names, and the prose style is often as bland as a press release (As patroness of the Russian Red Cross, Marie Feodorovna oversaw the philanthropic organization’s numerous important projects, assuring that they ran well or came to fruition). Still, this is an absorbing account that will appeal to Russian history buffs and to those who enjoy reading about royals. --Mary Ellen Quinn

Product Details

  • File Size: 1414 KB
  • Print Length: 512 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (February 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004XJ5N3I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,352 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another favorite . . . well worth the wait March 17, 2011
I waited and waited for this book to be released, and I was not disappointed. Once again I enjoyed a book by Gelardi to the hilt. One barometer I like to use when I read a biography is whether the book inspires me to read more about the main characters, as well as other players, and this book definitely did. "From Splendor to Revolution" is very well researched and infinitely interesting, and, as much as I thought I knew about the last Romanovs, I found that I still had a lot to learn. The book moves through the lives of Marie Feodorovna, Marie Alexandrovna, Marie Pavlovna and Olga Constantinova seamlessly - sympathetically or critically as needed. A most enjoyable, informative and interesting account of four women, related by blood and marriage, united in life by revolution and tragedy.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Subject Marred By Lackluster Delivery March 15, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
From Splendor to Revolution is a parallel biography of four women linked by blood and marriage to the Russian Imperial Family. Marie Fedorovna, born Princess Dagmar of Denmark is the primary connector, since her marriage to Tsar Alexander III made her sister in law to Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna, later Duchess of Edinburgh and Coburg, and to Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna, who married Grand Duke Vladimir, a brother of Alexander III and Marie Alexandrovna. The fourth woman was Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna, a cousin of Alexander III's who married Marie Fedorovna's brother King George I of Greece.

The book really begins in the 1860s and 1870s when the four women married. The Romanov dynasty in Russia was the world's wealthiest royal family, leading luxurious lives that amazed even other royals. But Russia was in turmoil and all four women were touched repeatedly by terrorism, most notably the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881. Their opulent homes and magnificent jewelry could not disguise the fact that they were all living in a state of siege. Gelardi does a good job of describing the womens' personalities: warm, good hearted Olga and Marie Fedorovna and imperious Marie Pavlovna and Marie Alexandrovna. They managed to have a good deal of influence behind the scenes, particularly Marie Fedorovna and Olga, who as wives of monarchs had some informal say on state affairs. Marie Pavlovna was probably the most intelligent of the four, as well as the most difficult to get along with, while Marie Alexandrovna came close to intimidating even her mother in law Queen Victoria.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and well researched March 22, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book doesn't really provide any new insights into the lives of the women it addresses, but it is written in a readable, qute engaging style and has no flaws or inaccuracies that can easily turn one off this sort of book once they are detected. The narrative is well paced and the research has been thorough.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing September 12, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really wanted to love this book since I enjoy reading about Russian royalty-especially the Romanovs. This book covers 4 Romanov women and I knew that the author was not able to go into really detailed scale since each woman would require her own book, however, unless you are already well-versed in the life of each of these women, this book is not for you. I'm glad that I had some knowledge of each of these women and also that I was aware of the history of the time period covered because most of the book assumes that the reader is since it skims over pretty important parts. For example, in one sentence you are reading about the Vladimir clan and the very next sentence states "...then he (Grand Duke Vladimir) died....". How did Alexandra meet Rasputin? Why did Anna Virubova get divorced? How did Queen Olga of Greece meet her husband? What were Queen Olga's children like? To me, this book seems like the author kind of threw this book together on the quick. It jumps from woman-to-woman in a matter of sentences. You may be reading about one of the women and something interesting about them and the next sentence is about a different woman. My head was spinning. Towards the last third of the book, I was skimming the text and couldn't wait for this book to end. On the good side: there were quite a few photos that I hadn't seen before which was great.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Misleading information March 4, 2014
By Nic
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the second historical chronicle by Ms. Gelardi that I have read and included in my vast library on the royal personages of pre World War I Europe. The book itself is not a difficult read and is filled with information that one would find difficult to attain about these four women if one wasn't familiar with the subjects. Ms. Gelardi pays a great deal of attention to her four subjects and does give a great deal of insight into their personalities and their positions.

My main problem with Ms. Gelardi is that she feels she must have the expected "villians" in her retinue. She's falls back onto the old charges about the Empress Alexandra that many authors used to excuse the Romanov's for the blame of the failure of their own empire. Blaming the Empress Alexandra as the reason for the Russian Revolution is about as absurd as it would be to just blame Nicholas II. But aside from that she makes an unsuccessful attempt to paint Alexandra as woman who didn't have the best of relationships with her children which anyone who has made a study of the last Tsar and his wife is completely erroneous.

Some the more glaring falsehoods that Ms. Gelardi attempts to lay at the feet of her subjects are baseless. She briefly talks about the famous fire at Greek Palace at Tatoi and implies that there was a common belief that the fire that took quite few lives of royal retainers was orchestrated by the King. Anyone who has made of study of these personages knows full well that the theory Ms. Gelardi leaves the reader with is not an accepted historical fact. And to make her assertion she fails to tell her readers that the King and the Queen and many of the royal family were trapped by the fire at Tatoi.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, lots of detail. The book describes the ...
Interesting, lots of detail. The book describes the lives of 4 inter-related members of European royalty descended from Queen Victoria. Literally from youth to death.
Published 7 days ago by Laura J. Lien
1.0 out of 5 stars HOW ON EARTH DID THIS BOOK GET PUBLISHED? Little more than dates &...
I wanted to love this book but my impression is: HOW ON EARTH DID THIS BOOK GET PUBLISHED – only in the Kardashian culture we live in is it possible. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Anon
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book Ever On The Lives Of The Families Of The Romanov Grand...
There is a large group of readers who are entranced with the last imperial dynasty of Russia, the Romanovs, and the immediate aftermath of their downfall. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Philip L. Tudor
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fascinating look at the Romanovs
This book is definitely interesting. I enjoyed reading it very much and Julia Gelardi is a very good writer. Read more
Published 2 months ago by R Helen
Published 4 months ago by LIC: FERNANDO CEDENO
5.0 out of 5 stars Love books about 19th century European Royalty
Love books about 19th century European Royalty. This was interesting. I read about the same people over and over.
Send me books about them all the time.
Published 5 months ago by ida der hovanessian
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Very entertaining as factual. It answered the question why did the revolution occur.
Published 5 months ago by Tony
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragedy all around
Although the underlying theme of this book is the end of the Tsarist reign in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century, the author has chosen an interesting way to present those... Read more
Published 9 months ago by chris poppe
5.0 out of 5 stars SPLENDOR TO REV
Published 9 months ago by Rene J. Gonzalez
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
Well researched and written. It follows four Romanov women before, during, and after the revolution. Read more
Published 9 months ago by TCB
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More About the Author

Julia P. Gelardi is an independent historian, currently specializing in European royal history mainly encompassing the Victorian era to the present. Julia grew up in Florida and has lived in Miami, London, Toronto, Phoenix, Vancouver, B.C. and now resides in Minnesota. After receiving her M.A. in History from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Julia has has embarked on a writing career with a focus on royalty. Julia's researches have taken to her to several countries including England, France, Italy and Switzerland. Her books are Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria (St. Martin's Press, 2005), In Triumph's Wake: Royal Mothers, Tragic Daughters and the Price They Paid for Glory (St. Martin's Press, 2008) and From Splendor to Revolution: The Romanov Women, 1847-1928 (St. Martin's Press, 2011).

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