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The Diary of Olga Romanov: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution Hardcover – December 1, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"It is a must-read for buffs of late tsarist and Romanov family history"  The Library Journal  

About the Author

HELEN AZAR is a librarian at the Free Library of Philadelphia who helps run a popular local history program. Trained as a scientist, she has worked at the Rare Book Foundation at the Museum of Tsarskoe Selo, Russia, and has published several articles on the identification of the remains of the last Tsar and his family.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Westholme Publishing; 1 edition (December 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594161771
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594161773
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Helen Azar is a public librarian specializing in history. She grew up in a Russian speaking household and as a child used to translate paragraphs from children's books and magazines for fun.

While researching for her first book, Helen visited Russia several times, and as part of academic curriculum worked in the Rare Book Fund at the Museum at Tsarskoe Selo, which holds the imperial book collection, including that of Catherine the Great and the last Tsar Nicholas II.

Helen's professional scientific training and a passion for Russian history led to co-authoring several articles on the identification of the remains of the last Tsar and his family.

Currently Helen works at the Free Library of Philadelphia and is part of a team of librarians that runs popular local history programs.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Edward T. Winn on November 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is the first of its kind, because it consists of the authentic diary entries of one of the daughters of the last Russian Tsar. In addition, it is not an indiscriminate repetitive collection of diary entries, but a collection of what looks like carefully chosen representative ones. Some of the entries have been published in Russian (never in English as far as I know), but many of the diary entries I am seeing here for the first time… As a bonus, the book does not only contain Olga’s diaries, but also some other valuable primary sources, including never before published (in English) diary entries of Tsar Nicholas II himself, as well as the memoirs of Alexander Kerensky, and the events seen from their points of view. These, and others, make this book an important resource for WWI and Russian revolution scholars and history buffs too. If you are looking for primary source material of this period, this book is definitely for you.
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74 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Blake's Mistress on June 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In August 1914, Russia entered the First World War, and with it, the Imperial family of Tsar Nicholas II was thrust into a conflict from which they would not emerge. His eldest child, Olga Nikolaevna, great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, had begun a diary in 1905 when she was 10 years old and kept writing her thoughts and impressions of day-to-day life as a Grand Duchess until abruptly ending her entries when her father abdicated his throne in March 1917. Held at the State Archives of the Russian Federation in Moscow, Olga's diaries during the wartime period have never been translated into English until this volume. At the outset of the war, Olga and her sister, Tatiana, worked as nurses in a military hospital along with their mother, Tsarina Alexandra. Olga's younger sisters, Maria and Anastasia, visited their own infirmaries to help raise the morale of the wounded and sick soldiers. The strain was indeed great as Olga records her impressions of tending to the officers who had been injured and maimed in the fighting on the Russian front.
Concerns about her sickly brother, Aleksei abound, as well those for her father who is seen attempting to manage the ongoing war. Gregori Rasputin appears in entries too, in an affectionate manner as one would expect of a family friend. While the diaries reflect the interests of a young woman, her tone increases in seriousness as the Russian army suffers setbacks, Rasputin is ultimately murdered, and a popular movement against her family begins to grow. At the point Olga ends her writing in 1917, the author continues the story by translating letters and impressions from family intimates, such as Anna Vyrubova, as well as the diary kept by Nicholas II himself.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Voves on November 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Length: 2:54 Mins
As a long time Romanov enthusiast, with a particular interest in the Tsar's eldest daughter, Olga Nikolaevna ( 1895-1918) I'm so thrilled that Olga's diaries are at long last available to the English reader!

This is thanks to Helen Azar's marvelous translations of Olga's words in the book , " The Diary of Olga Romanov: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution "

Ms. Azar also included in her book a selection of never before translated letters of Olga's as well as a wealth of other primary sources, again never available in English before.

It's wonderful that along with seeing her photographs as well as reading about the Romanovs, one can finally read Olga's own words as well!

Thank you Ms Azar!

Anne Lloyd
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Victoria Lynne on November 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Translated and published here are excerpts of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna's diary and other correspondence during WWI and the Russian Revolution. The eldest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra comes to life through her own words as never before.

This is an absolute "must read" for every Romanov/royalty/Russian history fan. Even if you are just starting out, the book has much needed information for understanding the background and timeline of events that transpire around Olga's diary. Also included is a index of the main characters, as well as helpful Russian terms. In addition, it's a beautifully bound book with a nice spread of photos, making it a delight for the eyes, as well as the heart.

Olga's diary abruptly ends in March 1917, but the timeline is continued through others words (her father's diary, memoirs of courtiers, Olga's letters, etc) and ends on that tragic night in July 1918. Many of these other documents have been translated and published in English for the first time here. What I particularly enjoyed was Olga's letters to her father, Nicholas, illustrating the closeness between father and daughter. It was also interesting to hear other people's impressions of her, as well as seeing her letters to her friend, Rita. She shows deep concern towards her brother (Alexei) and his suffering due to hemophilia, as well as great compassion towards her mother's (Alexandra) health concerns. Her close relationship with all of her sisters is evident throughout her diary, as well. She is a thoughtful, pensive and sensitive young woman who shows compassion and understanding at a young age. I wonder what her life would have been like, had the revolution not intervened and dealt her a cruel fate?
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