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.
For a beautiful 5-star review by "a customer" who is Russian go to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Tsar-Life-Death-Nicholas/dp/0385469624/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255373524&sr=1-1
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.
An in-depth account of the life, reign, and final days of the last Russian tsar draws on Nicholas II's personal diaries, firsthand accounts of the murder of the royal family, and other sources. Reprint. 90,000 first printing. $90,000 ad/promo. NYT. K
This book is good if you are looking on basic background of last Tsar Nicholas II and why he was overthrown and him and his family later executed. The author's over use of diary entries made the book a bit choppy and thus it did pan out as the deep historical analysis I prefer in history books. Yet thats me, others may really like this book. I was expecting more in depth analysis which the book did not provide.
So the incompetent ruler who was responsible for the deaths and misery of millions of his subjects, from the famine of 1894 to the slaughter on the Eastern Front, was killed. Good riddance! I searched in vain for any mention of his efforts to take better care of his subjects, but couldn't find much. Didn't want to waste my time studying and fawning over such a mediocre man, as apparently so many others do.
The author obtains most of the text from diaries, letters, and the like, interspersing these with explanatory text that moves the history along very effectively. I read on the subway only Chapter 8: The Fall of Atlantis, pp. 169-209, which deals with the time of the Provisional Government. As it is a somewhat familiar story one can read almost any chapter with appreciation; I also liked that the author gives the fate of the characters in the text, such as the poorly attired revolutionary that takes pleasure in bringing an arrest order to the former Czar. This chapter would also serve as good supplemental reading for interested high school students in a history class that emphasizes reading a hundred pages a week. (10 pts for reading this, 10 pts for group discussion).
I chose this chapter to read because I wanted to see how the author handled Kerensky. When I was 13 an older student saw me reading 'I Am Anastasia' and talked me into going with her to call on Mr. Kerensky who was wintering in Santa Monica. I don't remember how she knew that or his address (he long worked for the Hoover Institution) but we took the bus across town and he was nice to us. On the way back she accepted my offer to buy some fried shrimp on the Pier (3 for four bits) and insisted on going Dutch, buying a couple of sodas. She was 15 so we never had another 'date' but would say hello when I got to high school.