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The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia Library Binding – July 8, 2014

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 0950 (What's this?)
  • Library Binding: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (July 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375967826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375967825
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,148,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—The tragic Romanovs, last imperial family of Russia, have long held tremendous fascination. The interest generated by this family is intense, from debates about Duchess Anastasia and her survival to the discovery of their pathetic mass graves. A significant number of post-Glasnost Russian citizens consider the Romanovs holy to the extent that the Russian Orthodox Church has canonized them. This well-researched and well-annotated book provides information not only on the history of these famous figures but also on the Russian people living at the time and on the social conditions that contributed to the family's demise. The narrative alternates between a straightforward recounting of the Romanovs' lives and primary source narratives of peasants' lives. The contrast is compelling and enhances understanding of how the divide between the extremely rich and the very poor can lead directly to violent and dramatic political change. While the description and snippets on the serfs and factory workers are workmanlike, the pictures painted of the reclusive and insular Romanovs is striking. Unsuited to the positions in which they found themselves, Nicholas and Alexandra raised their children in a bubble, inadequately educating them and providing them only slight exposure to society. The informative text illuminates their inability to understand the social conditions in Russia and the impact it might have had on them. This is both a sobering work, and the account of the discovery of their bones and the aftermath is at once fascinating and distressing. A solid resource and good recreational reading for high school students.—Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* History comes to vivid life in Fleming’s sweeping story of the dramatic decline and fall of the House of Romanov. Her account provides not only intimate portraits of Tsar Nicholas; his wife, Alexandra; and the five Romanov children, but it also offers a beautifully realized examination of the context of their lives—Russia in a state of increasing social unrest and turmoil. The latter aspect is shown in part through generous excerpts from letters, diaries, memoirs, and more that are seamlessly interspersed throughout the narrative. All underscore the incredible disparity between the glittering lives of the Romanovs and the desperately impoverished ones of the peasant population. Instead of attempting to reform this, Nicholas simply refused to acknowledge its presence, rousing himself only long enough to order savage repression of the occasional uprising. Fleming shows that the hapless tsar was ill equipped to discharge his duties, increasingly relying on Alexandra for guidance; unfortunately, at the same time, she was increasingly reliant on the counsel of the evil monk Rasputin. The end, when it came, was swift and—for the Romanovs, who were brutally murdered—terrible. Compulsively readable, Fleming’s artful work of narrative history is splendidly researched and documented. For readers who regard history as dull, Fleming’s extraordinary book is proof positive that, on the contrary, it is endlessly fascinating, absorbing as any novel, and the stuff of an altogether memorable reading experience. Grades 9-12. --Michael Cart --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

A very well written and documented book!
Linda Weaseman
Fleming contrasts the Romanov's lifestyle with poignant and somber first-person accounts of what life was like concurrently for peasants.
Teen Reads
The book is very well written and does read more like a novel than a dry history book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By D_shrink VINE VOICE on July 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A treat for history buffs in general and specifically for those interested in Tsarist/Czarist history as am I.

The three stories are:
1. A story of the intimate lives of the Romanov family itelf
2. A description of the events from the worker strikes of 1905 until Vladimir Lenin took power in 1917
3. An observation of the life of the average man/ a peasant at the turn of the 20th century and how it contrasted with the lives of the very wealthy, particularly the Tsar and his extended family.

The book is of moderate length with two seperate groupings of approximatley 70 Black & White plates showing the most interesting characters discussed in the narrative. The chapter lengths are quite short with easy to read narrative and a derth of long and obfuscative words, so that it would be suitable for ate middle school readers andothers expecially interested in Russian History. This narrative history is further divided into four sections:
Part One: Before the Storm
Part Two: Dark Clouds Gathering
Part Three: The Storm Breaks
Part Four: Final Days

The author thought to include a rather extensive bibliography, a more than adequate index, and a page of references for internet sites that also enable further study and a lot more pictures of the times and characters discussed.

Most people would agree that the murder of the Tsar and his entire family and some of his entourage along with Anastasia's pet dog was a heinour and brutal crime, yet the author takes great pains and showing that Tsar Nicholas and his wife Tsarista Alexandra or Alix in German [she directly came from the house of ZHesse in Germany] and both she and Nicky were grandchildren of Queeen Victoria of England and also cousins.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By OpenBookSociety dot com on July 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt

This book brings the history of the Romanovs (the last Russian royal family) to life in photos and wonderfully written insights. We get to see inside the family with intimate first person accounts of this tragic family. The photos are truly amazing and enlightening. Reading this well written book gives us a true vision into the before, during, and after events that brought down this family. As well as the events that forever changed the face of Russia.

It is really interesting to see not only the history of the family, but also the information on the state of Russia, its citizens and their view of royalty in the face of war and the devastation that drove the peasants to revolt. Nicholas II and his family were not prepared for inheriting the throne in 1894. His wife wanted to live the opulent life, but deal with none of the responsibilities. There daughters Marie, Tatiana, Olga and of course Anastasia are brought to life in snippets of fun and real life. The citizens of Russia are heard from in their own accounts and that really brings it to life. And let’s not forget that famous mystic Rasputin is in this true tale. So many stories, fictional and non have been written about Rasputin and Anastasia that it is nice to hear the historical facts.

This book is written to satisfy Common Core Standards and therefore written for young adults. It is lively and easy to read. A big feat for me since I have a very hard time reading non-fiction these days. If I can get through it and enjoy it, I am sure history buffs will devour it. The layout of the book is friendly and entertaining. Nothing is dragged out so that you get bored or forget what you read. Yep that happens to me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sunday Cummins on February 22, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Extremely well written, appealing and accessible. While I knew the ending, I didn't want to put it down. Fleming not only tells the story of this family, but also of the world around them - starving peasants and academics, workers without rights, terrible living conditions and so forth--much of which the royal family took for granted or ignored, leading to their demise. The ideas and details in this book are haunting me because they resonate with many current issues in the 21st century world - Egypt, Syria, and the gap between the rich and the poor in the U.S. even.

I'd recommend for 8th or 9th grade and up--independent reading or reading in a literature circle or for an advanced 7th grade reader who has background knowledge about this era. There could be some amazing discussion about Fleming's choice of details and how she weaves primary sources into the narrative as well as the central ideas in the book.

Also, Fleming makes an interesting point in her author's notes about how thoughts about the Tsar and his family were, for many decades, based on former nobility's fond memories of the times with family, nobility that fled to Europe when the Soviets took control. For decades citizens of this part of the world were forbidden to talk about the murder of this family. With the fall of Communism in 1991, though, the outside world was allowed to access Nicholas' diaries and letters as well as diaries written by the children and to gain a better idea of what these people were like. There was also access to documents related to the investigation of the family's murder with accounts from villagers and even the man who was in charge of their execution. It would make for interesting conversation to compare a book or text written about the Romanov family prior to 1991 and this one by Fleming.

This book has received much well-deserved recognition and many awards including NCTE's Orbis Pictus Award for 2015 and ALA's Sibert Honor Award 2015.
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More About the Author

I have always been a storyteller. Even before I could write my name, I could tell a good tale. And I told them all the time. As a preschooler, I told my neighbors all about my three-legged cat named Spot. In kindergarten, I told my classmates about the ghost that lived in my attic. And in first grade I told my teacher, Miss Harbart, all about my family's trip to Paris, France.

I told such a good story that people always thought I was telling the truth. But I wasn't. I didn't have a three-legged cat or a ghost in my attic, and I'd certainly never been to Paris, France. I simply enjoyed telling a good story... and seeing my listener's reaction.

Sure, some people might have said I was a seven-year old fibber. But not my parents. Instead of calling my stories "fibs" they called them "imaginative." They encouraged me to put my stories down on paper. I did. And amazingly, once I began writing, I couldn't stop. I filled notebook after notebook with stories, poems, plays. I still have many of those notebooks. They're precious to me because they are a record of my writing life from elementary school on.

In second grade, I discovered a passion for language. I can still remember the day my teacher, Miss Johnson, held up a horn-shaped basket filled with papier-mache pumpkins and asked the class to repeat the word "cornucopia." I said it again and again, tasted the word on my lips. I tested it on my ears. That afternoon, I skipped all the way home from school chanting, "Cornucopia! Cornucopia!" From then on, I really began listening to words--to the sounds they made, and the way they were used, and how they made me feel. I longed to put them together in ways that were beautiful, and yet told a story.

As I grew, I continued to write stories. But I never really thought of becoming an author. Instead, I went to college where I discovered yet another passion--history. I didn't realize it then, but studying history is really just an extension of my love of stories. After all, some of the best stories are true ones -- tales of heroism and villainy made more incredible by the fact they really happened.

After graduation, I got married and had children. I read to them a lot, and that's when I discovered the joy and music of children's books. I simply couldn't get enough of them. With my two sons in tow, I made endless trips to the library. I read stacks of books. I found myself begging, "Just one more, pleeeeease!" while my boys begged for lights-out and sleep. Then it struck me. Why not write children's books? It seemed the perfect way to combine all the things I loved: stories, musical language, history, and reading. I couldn't wait to get started.

But writing children's books is harder than it looks. For three years I wrote story after story. I sent them to publisher after publisher. And I received rejection letter after rejection letter. Still, I didn't give up. I kept trying until finally one of my stories was pulled from the slush pile and turned into a book. My career as a children's author had begun.

For more information visit my website:

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