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The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II Paperback – June 15, 1993


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The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II + The Rasputin File + Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (June 15, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385469624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385469623
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This valuable new account of the murder of Czar Nicholas II and his family contradicts the official Soviet version, in which Siberian Bolsheviks ordered the executions without Moscow's clearance. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A prominent Russian playwright has turned his talents to historical investigation and produced an account containing intriguing new details for the Western reader and revelations for the previously uninformed citizenry of the former Soviet Union. Long fascinated by the death of Nicholas II, his wife, and his children, Radzinsky gained access to long-closed national archives containing state documents, diaries of the tsar and his family, and eyewitness accounts. To the well-known fact that the Bolsheviks who held the royal family executed them hastily out of fear that advancing White forces might recover the tsar, Radzinsky adds documentation of Lenin's approval of the local Reds' actions and full descriptions (from participant accounts) of the killings and disposal of the bodies. He also introduces evidence suggesting that two of the Romanovs survived. Early chapters are routine, and a trained historian might have handled the material differently, but this book will attract attention. For most collections.
- Rena Fowler, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

He put their comments in the book.
Anna the Reader
This well-written story - told many times previously - is informative and sympathetic about one of history's tragic figures.
Meliora
This book is likely to become the definitive work on the last years of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.
Kendra

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 85 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am Russian and my family background is not peasant at all, so I have been always interested in Romanov's history and sympathized with Tsar before I had red the book. The book has only strengthened the feelings of sympathy and sorrow I feel for the last Russian Tsar.
The reviews I have red above are obviously written by Western readers, who have studied the Russian history but don't possess the Russian mentality, so doesn't see the role of personalities in Russian politics, the place of religion the same way Russians do. Perhaps, because of that, in my opinion, they are missing the main point. It is not a political pamphlet or historical textbook. It is an account of one family's life. In the book by Radzinsky Tsar is shown as a person - a boy, a young men in love, a father, a husband, a prisoner, and only lastly - a ruler & politician. When Radzinsky looks at the Romanovs he looks at them as a family - that's my understanding. So in brief I would describe this book as "A story of a family".
Probably as a Russian (and I hope not Soviet) I can feel some things about the book as an insider and will try to express it. It is very important to understand how religious were both Nicolay and Alexandra and how it all fits in the scheme of his somewhat fatalistic approach to his rule, to Rasputin, to war and revolutions. I can see how shy, naïve and kind young men has to take over a rule in one-sixth of the Globe and it is no easy task, never has been. Radzinsky shows clearly that Nicolas was kept ill-informed and hence some of the worst mistakes he made in politics.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
This very factual and well-written book is, in my opinion, the very best on the life and death of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. Replete with both historical and familial details, it reads like a well-plotted, well-characterized fiction novel. The book, however, is all the more horrifying and heartbreaking because it is true. Unlike some of the previous reviewers, I enjoyed Radzinsky's writing style and consider him to be the ultimate authority on all matters Romanov. The only book more factual may be Nicholas and Alexandra, A Lifelong Passion which consists solely of the family's letters. The Last Tsar is definitely a must read for those interested in Romanov Russia and a book that will be enjoyable to all.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Michael Samerdyke on November 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Although I've studied Russian history, I have never been that fascinated by Nicholas II. However, I got this book as a gift and found it quite interesting.
What makes this book special is not so much Radzinsky's account of Nicholas' last days but his access to Communist archives that let him reconstruct how and why the Bolshevik leadership decided on killing Nicholas as they did. (Apparently this was done to thwart Trotsky, who wanted a public trial of Nicholas with himself as prosecutor.)
Also fascinating is Radzinsky's account of the subsequent careers of Nicholas' murderers, how they became minor league Communist celebrities, telling Komsomol (youth group) assemblies how they had shot the Tsar. This went on until Stalin decided they had become drunken embarassments and kept them out of the public eye.
So I would say if you want a book that looks at the last days of Nicholas from a broader perspective, this is the book to get.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kendra on March 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
A man is sitting at a book-covered table in the Central State Archive of the October (1917) Revolution in Moscow. The surviving diaries of the last imperial family of Russia are there, unclassified at last. Reading them, his thoughts carrying him back and forth in time, the man is moved when he finds pressed flowers in the journals of the tsar's daughters: "Souvenirs of a destroyed life".

Edvard Radzinsky is that haunted man, sitting at a table strewn with memories of a broken dynasty. "The Last Tsar" is the product of his research and his sadness. A playwright, Raszinsky is well-qualified to explore the human depths of the lives of Tsar Nicholas II, his family, and the others who were part of their doomed world.

The book gained a great deal of publicity when it was first released here for its sensational assertion that two of the family may have escaped execution on that terrible night in 1918. And this work of popular history merits the attention. This book is likely to become the definitive work on the last years of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

Rarely is a work of history so beautifully written, so thoroughly researched, and so permeated with emotion and insight. A great debt is owed to the translator for her lyrical and poetic voice while retaining a sense of historical authority.

Radzinsky's attitudes and feelings are juxtaposed with those of the two main characters of the story-- Tsar Nicholas and his queen, Alexandra. The inclusion of the author's feelings is unorthodox in a historical work however, in this case, it's a success and it offers a perspective that is both personal and realistic.

The tone of the book is conversational rather than scholarly.
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