The Romanovs: The final chapter
By Robert Massie
Publisher: Random House
Rating: Four stars
The Romanovs: The final chapter is the continuation of Robert Massie first book on the Romanovs. This book was written 20 years after Massie first book Nicholas & Alexandra. I haven’t read this book, but I have every intention of doing so. I have been wanting to dip my toes into more Russian history.
I have decided to start with the Romanovs, I know a little more about them from other areas of history that I have studied. I’m a big fan of English history. So anything, Tudors, Stuarts, Victorians, Windsors, etc. I also did read Peter Kurth’s book on Anna Anderson, though I don’t know how reliable it is, considering that Kurth fully believed that Anna Anderson was Anastasia. Kurth is later on mentioned in this book.
This book was split off into three sections. The first part, starts off with the night that Romanovs were killed. One orders from Lenin, Yako Yurovsky, and his men lead the Romanov family down into the cellar and shot them to death. Massie gives a minute by minute account of this. This was for me was hard to read. It feels like your in the room, witnessing the murders yourself.
The rest of this section talks about the Bolsheviks disposing of the bodies, interesting fact, fearing that the white army would find the remains of the family. They came back and reburied them somewhere. Had they not done that I don’t think that the Romanovs would have been discovered.
They also talk about the discovery of the bones, which for me was interesting. The bones were actually discovered years earlier , but was kept hidden due to fear of repercussions from who was in power at the time. Boris Yeltsin was in power when they actually felt safe to reveal it, though like many things the reveal was wrapped up in its own controversy.
I think that the testing of the bones and all the DNA stuff could have been its own separate book honestly. Massi spent a lot time on this subject. Even in the third section of this book, which delved into the Romanov impostors, a lot of this section by Anna Anderson, imparticularly the drama over the testing to see who she really is.
All of it was fascinating, but at the same time it was kind of annoying. Everyone seemed to have their agendas, and it was not necessarily in the best interest in finding the truth.
The last section of this book just tells what happens to the remaining Romanovs, and takes a look at the current family members that are still alive. The Very last chapter starts at the beginning. Gives an account, through diary entries of Alexandra, of the days/months before their death. I thought that it was very interesting that Massie would leave this part for last.
I thought Massie covered a lot of ground and went into great detail, which is always a winner for for me. Clearly he took his time in writing this. Though if I had one criticism. He seemed to be switching from first to third person a lot, which was driving me nuts. Sometimes he would be going in third person an almost an entire chapter and then suddenly switch to first person and it would be right in the middle of a paragraph. I’m not usually a grammar Nazi but that was particularly irritant for me. Overall, I thought that this was a good book. I would definitely recommend this book if your wanting to read about the last days of the Romanovs.