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The Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson, and the World's Greatest Royal Mystery 1st Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470444986
ISBN-10: 0470444983
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

On the bitter-cold night of February 17, 1920, a distraught, physically battered, and psycologically damaged young woman stepped off of Berlin’s Bedler Bridge and plunged into the icy waters of the Landwehr Canal. For nearly two years, this unknown girl, who carried no identification, refused to give her name to the doctors and nurses who cared for her after her failed suicide. When, finally, she broke her silence, she declared herself Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Nicholas II of Russia. Thus began a cause célèbre for thousands of displaced Russian aristocrats yearning for a past that would never return—and the most enduring mystery of the twentieth century.

In The Resurrection fo the Romanovs, the celebrated authors of The Fate of the Romanovs come together once again in order to reveal the truth behind the violent end of the Romanov Dynasty and the woman whose name is now forever linked to it.

Drawing on thirty years of research and thousands of pages of previously undiscovered or unpublished documents, Greg King and Penny Wilson penetrate the intriguing mythology that long surrounded the execution of Tsar Nicholas and his family to reveal the true fate of his youngest daughter. They mine interviews, investigations, and court proceeding to uncover the evidence for and against the claim of the woman who became known as Anna Anderson; to understand why so many people, including members of the imperial family, believed and endorsed her claim with such passion; and to find out who Anna Anderson really was and what motives lay behind her fraudulent claim. The answers they provide are frequently surprising and sometimes shocking.

For the first time, the authors document the extent of Anna Anderson’s scars and other injuries, explain how she received them, and reveal the absence of wounds that several doctors claimed, under oath, to have seen. They also reveal the limitations of Anna’s often-touted linguistic abilities and provide a critical analysis of the posthumous DNA tests that proved her an imposter. Adding to the drama is a disturbing account of the appalling confrontation between Anna Anderson, whose real name was Franziska Schanzkowska, and her birth family.

They offer a cogent analysis of the all-too-familiar role of the press in transforming the desperate claims of an emotionally disturbed woman into an international controversy and compelling insights into why so many people around the world wanted to believe that she was indeed Anastasia. Complete with eighty-five photographs, many never before published, The Resurrection of the Romanovs paints a startling and unforgettable psychological portrait of history’s most memorable imposter.

From the Back Cover

The Truth about the Twentieth Century’s Most Controversial Mystery

“Covers the subject so thoroughly and so honestly that this is almost certainly the last book that needs to be written.”
—Robert K. Massie, author of Nicholas and Alexandra.

The passage of more than ninety years and the publication of hundreds of books have not extinguished an enduring intetesrt in the mysteries surrounding the 1918 execution of the last Russain tsar, Nicholas II; the long uncertain fate of his youngest daughter, Anastasia; and the woman known as Anna Anderson, whose claim to be the missing grand duchess perplexed and captivated the world for decades. Refuting long-accepted evidence in the Anderson case and including dozens of previously unpublished photographs, The Resurrection of the Romanovs finally explodes the greatest royal mystery of the twentieth century.

  • Documents, for the firsty time, Anna Anderson’s scars and how she received them, and uncovers the surprising limtiation of her lingusitic abilities.
  • Offers dramatic new information about Anna Anderson’s childhood.
  • Reveals why Anna Anderson made her claim and how she convinced so many people that she was Anastasia.
  • Exposes those who lied in the historical record.
  • Recounts shocking confrontation between Anna Anderson and her birth family.
  • Paints a startling psychological portrait of Anna Anderson.
  • Explores rumors of Anastasia’s survival as a cultural phenomenon and explains why people needed to believe that Anna Anderson was Anastasia.
  • Draws on more than a decade of international research and presents unpublished letters, statements, legal documents and reports, including those from the Hessian and British royal families.
  • Includes the results of an important new DNA test conducted on Anna Anderson.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 397 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470444983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470444986
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #741,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By H. M Pyles on January 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Others have and will comment here on the story of a minor ruse that grew into a worldwide legend that is adroitly recounted in this book. But I want to discuss this book for what I think is its most remarkable aspect: a tour-de-force deconstruction of how false history can be invented by letting the desire, sometimes almost unconscious, for a certain outcome dictate the presentation and interpretation of evidence.

Greg King and Penny Wilson were ideally suited to this task. Not only were they accomplished historians of late imperial Russia, but both thought for years that Anna Anderson might really be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, supposedly massacred along with her family in 1918. More than most other advocates for the view of Anastasia's survival, they were deeply versed in the myriad evidence that had been put forth for almost ninety years in support of this claim. But the 1990's began to unsettle the picture, as discoveries of bodies in a remote Russian forest and DNA testing of those bodies and of tissue samples of a now-deceased Anna Anderson deepened the doubts surrounding Anderson's famous claim.

In light of this emerging evidence, King and Wilson began to show their mettle as historians and to reassess their own long-held convictions. As this process brought them to serious doubt of Anna Anderson's claim, there was one hurdle they still could not easily clear. Since 1920 there had been claims that Anna Anderson, who was originally dubbed "Miss Unknown" by Berlin police who fished her out of a canal after a suicide attempt, was, in fact, known by some to be a Polish woman who had come to Berlin seeking work in the wartime factories then being staffed largely by women.
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Format: Hardcover
"Water streamed from her hair down her clothes into her shoes, and ran out at the heels. Yet she claimed to be a real Princess....There, that's a true story." ~from "The Princess and the Pea" by Hans Christian Andersen

The above quote is borrowed from Tom Summers and Anthony Mangold, who used it to preface their chapter on Anastasia Manahan, alias "Anna Anderson," in their 1977 bestseller "The File on the Tsar". The book dealt with the fate of Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra and their family, as well as the possibility of the survival of the Grand Duchess Anastasia in the person of "Anna Anderson," a mysterious girl pulled from Berlin's Landwehr Canal in 1920 after a suicide attempt. I have been interested in the assassination of the Russian Imperial family since college and graduate school when I took several classes in Russian history, focusing on Soviet ways and methods. As a senior at Hood College I was nominated to present a paper on Soviet Russia at the 1984 Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference in Annapolis, MD. In grad school, I concentrated more on the Romanovs and the mystery of "Anna Anderson" which is when I discovered Peter Kurth's witty and informative book about the most famous of all claimants, "Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna Anderson." I have since tried to remain informed about the ongoing developments in the cases of missing and found Romanovs. Now that the gods of science have spoken, declaring "Anna Anderson" to be none other than Franziska Schanzkowska, a Kashubian peasant, one may wonder at the purpose of yet another book on the subject.
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Too many books on this topic since Kurth's 1983 biography of "Anna Anderson" have simply recycled previously published material. Once again, King and Wilson have done a huge amount of original research, uncovered much that is new, and tried to reconcile conflicting data from different sources. There are still at least two sources which remain inaccessible to all authors and researchers in 2010. One is the investigation carried out by Helmut Zahle and now held in a Danish Royal Family Archive. The second is material compiled by Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich and apparently now in the hands of claimant to the Russian throne (Grand Duchess) Maria Vladimirovna.

Even if all this material were available, the conclusion about "Anna Anderson" by the authors and by informed readers would be the same. Disappointments are minor, such as the lack of any further pre-1920 photographs of Franziska Schanzkowska. Anyone who is interested in a mystery, or the fall of the Russian Empire, and appreciates the detective work and writing skills of King and Wilson should go out and buy this book, which is compelling reading.
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King and Wilson lead their readers through the complex maze of truth, lies, expectations, and trauma that made up the legend of Anastasia. Starting with the actual Anastasia, the least wanted of the last tsar's five children, the readers learn the scant facts about the 17 year old teenager who was murdered by the Bolshevik secret police along with her family in 1918. Nearly instantly, rumors of her survival start fermenting in Siberia, making their way throughout Europe. Less than three years later, a woman is pulled from a canal in Berlin. That woman's story, Anna Anderson, makes up the second and largest part of The Resurrection of the Romanovs. Although much of this has been presented before, it has frequently appeared either as evidence for Anderson's being the Grand Duchess or an imposter. By presenting Anderson's story objectively, the authors are able to show how Anderson was able to slowly learn her "part", which started simply as a desire for attention by pretending to be Anastasia without an intention to continue the impersonation for the rest of her life. Recognition of t her claim or the lack thereof became a royal litmus test for nearly 40 years. Anderson finally died in 1984 without ever proving or disproving her identity as Grand Duchess Anastasia. By far the strongest part of the book is the final section of the book, revealing Anna Anderson's true identity as Franziska Schanzkowska. King and Wilson show how class prejudices prevented even well educated royals and historians from comprehending how a "Polish peasant" who was in fact a Kashubian of minor nobile descent was able to impersonate the dead Russian Grand Duchess for most of her life. It turns out Schanzkowska wasn't the adventuress many imagined but rather was a complex and damaged individual rejected by her own mother. A fascinating read, solidly researched and eloquently told, this is a must have for anyone who wants to know the truth about the legend of the lost grand duchess.
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