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Secret Lives of the Tsars: Three Centuries of Autocracy, Debauchery, Betrayal, Murder, and Madness from Romanov Russia [Kindle Edition]

Michael Farquhar
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $8.01 (50%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

“Michael Farquhar doesn’t write about history the way, say, Doris Kearns Goodwin does. He writes about history the way Doris Kearns Goodwin’s smart-ass, reprobate kid brother might. I, for one, prefer it.”—Gene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Washington Post columnist
 
Scandal! Intrigue! Cossacks! Here the world’s most engaging royal historian chronicles the world’s most fascinating imperial dynasty: the Romanovs, whose three-hundred-year reign was remarkable for its shocking violence, spectacular excess, and unimaginable venality. In this incredibly entertaining history, Michael Farquhar collects the best, most captivating true tales of Romanov iniquity. We meet Catherine the Great, with her endless parade of virile young lovers (none of them of the equine variety); her unhinged son, Paul I, who ordered the bones of one of his mother’s paramours dug out of its grave and tossed into a gorge; and Grigori Rasputin, the “Mad Monk,” whose mesmeric domination of the last of the Romanov tsars helped lead to the monarchy’s undoing. From Peter the Great’s penchant for personally beheading his recalcitrant subjects (he kept the severed head of one of his mistresses pickled in alcohol) to Nicholas and Alexandra’s brutal demise at the hands of the Bolsheviks, Secret Lives of the Tsars captures all the splendor and infamy that was Imperial Russia.
 
Praise for Michael Farquhar’s Behind the Palace Doors
 
“[A] rollicking account of kings and queens gone wild.”People
 
“Farquhar’s style is a breezy pleasure throughout.”Publishers Weekly
 
“A terrifically accessible history.”Kirkus Reviews 


Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Secret Lives of the Tsars
 
“An accessible, exciting narrative . . . Highly recommended for generalists interested in Russian history and those who enjoy the seamier side of past lives.”Library Journal (starred review)

“An excellent condensed version of Russian history . . . a fine tale of history and scandal . . . sure to please general readers and monarchy buffs alike.”Publishers Weekly
 
“Tales from the nasty lives of global royalty . . . an easy-reading, lightweight history lesson.”Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Michael Farquhar

“Michael Farquhar doesn’t write about history the way, say, Doris Kearns Goodwin does. He writes about history the way Doris Kearns Goodwin’s smart-ass, reprobate kid brother might. I, for one, prefer it.”—Gene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Washington Post columnist
 
Praise for Behind the Palace Doors
 
“[A] rollicking account of kings and queens gone wild.”People
 
“Farquhar’s style is a breezy pleasure throughout.”Publishers Weekly
 
“A terrifically accessible history.”Kirkus Reviews 

About the Author

Michael Farquhar, a former writer and editor at The Washington Post, is the bestselling author of the critically praised Behind the Palace Doors, as well as the national bestsellers A Treasury of Royal Scandals, A Treasury of Great American Scandals, A Treasury of Deception, and A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans. His work has been featured in a number of national publications, and he has appeared as a commentator on such programs as History’s top-rated Russia: Land of the Tsars and The French Revolution.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1847 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0812979052
  • Publisher: Random House (July 8, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HTMC492
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,246 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
(31)
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I don't know about you, but there is just something so magnetic about the name Romanov. For me, it conjures visions of opulence, Orthodox traditions, conspiracies, enduring mysteries and of course cursed tragedy and when I saw this title trumpeting the salacious tales from behind the doors of the House of Romanov and infamous deeds of less than royal behavior I just had read this and I am very happy with my choice. Here is a title I am excited to recommend not only for the interests it will spark in anyone with a passing curiosity in Russian history but it pulls the glittering jewels and powerful titles away and reveals human behavior (of course a lot of those are debatable) and the absurd antics that who are we kidding ourselves are just fun to read.

Mr. Farquhar has created an entertaining compulsory read that condenses 300 years of the lives of Russian rulers ranging from Ivan IV Vasilyevich (better known as Ivan The Terrible) to Nikolai (Nicholas II) Alexandrovich Romanov and presents the italicized names from history to the reader in an easy to understand lesson with details of the some of the most peculiar stories about royals you may hear and even throws in some final serious pages that hold vivid accounts of one of the main reasons the name Romanov is now synonymous with historic tragedy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I primarily wanted to read this book because I have very limited knowledge of Russian history prior to World War II and the rise of Communism. I was a bit concerned that I would have to look up a lot of people, places, and terms since this book is discussing “secret” lives of the Tsars but surprisingly, I didn’t have to use any outside sources to follow through with the book.

Secret Lives of the Tsars works both as a book that people with some general knowledge about Russian history can explore as well as a “starter’s guide” for people such as myself who can thoroughly enjoy the book without getting lost in the midst of all the information. Secret Lives of the Tsars chronologically details the lives of the Russian rulers beginning from 17th century to the early twentieth century. Though I definitely think there is a lot more history to be discussed and studied, I think this book works really well as an interesting beginner’s guide for all readers. There are certain history books that appeal only to those who are thorough devotees of history or who are historians (or politicians) themselves but this book can be loved by all, in my opinion.

Farquhar uses a really simple style of writing that is easy to follow and understand. Again, when discussing a book such as this, I think it’s important to discuss what type of demographics it is targeting and the use of common vocabulary is another level that will attract the everyday reader to learn more than what public education in American schools have taught us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay--but a bit thin July 25, 2014
Format:Paperback
A shallow but enjoyable read. If you want a bon bon that is a quick read, this would rate more than 3 stars. However, I prefer something a bit more intellectually rewarding. So, how you rate this book depends on what you want. A fun read without much depth? High rating. A fun book that is pretty shallow? Noty so much.

The book is well written. It is a good read, and the writing style propels the volume forward as one reads it.

Substantively? For on thing, it is rather titillating, emphasizing affairs, mistresses, and the like. This is part of reality, so this is worthy of coverage. But the coverage really deflects the focus on the Romanov dynasty and its, frankly, mediocrity. In power for over 300 years, there were more misses than hits. Peter the Great and Catherine the Great had major impacts on Russia's role in the world. With many others? Not really.

The arc of the work goes from the origins of the Romanov dynasty to its end during World War I, with Czar Nicholas II and his family being destroyed. The latter family and its relationshop to Rasputin is discussed in some detail. Again, salacious details tend to dominate.

So, overall, a nice work--especially if one is not interested in a detailed discussion of the politics and history of the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Over the years I have read of the Russian Tsars mostly via authors Robert K. Massie and W. Bruce Lincoln. I still learned and relearned much from Farquhar's work. Secret Lives is very well written and organized. I looked forward to picking it up every day while reading it. I highly recommend this book to new readers of the Romanov Tsars and to veteran readers who want a readable overall summary of the topic. The book was a page turner for me from start to finish. My only criticism of this joy of a book is that it does not include an index.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars secret lives of the czars
this was an interesting read although much of it seemed more like soap opera than history but the romanovs were famous for that from the better czars, peter & catherine, to the... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Edward J. Deisley
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Russian history at it's best!
Published 8 days ago by Mittens
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A entertaining overview of their personalities.
Published 8 days ago by Roger P. McCoy & Martha
3.0 out of 5 stars The title is somewhat misleading. There was NOT much ...
The title is somewhat misleading. There was NOT much new revealed. Also, there did not appear to be too many "new" secrets that were revealed.
Published 12 days ago by Michael H. Welsch
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Interesting!
Published 17 days ago by DollfaceHD
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An enjoyable and enlightening read.
Published 18 days ago by Scullville
5.0 out of 5 stars bigger than life...
the truth is always the most astonding.......this explains russia, and russians, even today.....
Published 23 days ago by sharona
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Read
As a big Romanov history buff, I enjoyed this book a lot. It was informative and very entertaining. I especially liked reading about Catherine and Peter the Great.
Published 26 days ago by Vanessa
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Met all my expectations!
Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Informative and Easy to Read
Autocracy, Orthodoxy, Nationalism was the mantra of the Romanov dynasty. Nothing much has changed except the names of the rulers. Read more
Published 1 month ago by livoman
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