"Helen Rappaport paints a compelling portrait of the doomed grand duchesses." —People magazine
"The public spoke of the sisters in a gentile, superficial manner, but Rappaport captures sections of letters and diary entries to showcase the sisters' thoughtfulness and intelligence." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Days of the Romanovs and Caught in the Revolution, The Romanov Sisters reveals the untold stories of the four daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra.
They were the Princess Dianas of their day—perhaps the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early twentieth century. The four captivating Russian Grand Duchesses—Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Romanov—were much admired for their happy dispositions, their looks, the clothes they wore and their privileged lifestyle.
Over the years, the story of the four Romanov sisters and their tragic end in a basement at Ekaterinburg in 1918 has clouded our view of them, leading to a mass of sentimental and idealized hagiography. With this treasure trove of diaries and letters from the grand duchesses to their friends and family, we learn that they were intelligent, sensitive and perceptive witnesses to the dark turmoil within their immediate family and the ominous approach of the Russian Revolution, the nightmare that would sweep their world away, and them along with it.
The Romanov Sisters sets out to capture the joy as well as the insecurities and poignancy of those young lives against the backdrop of the dying days of late Imperial Russia, World War I and the Russian Revolution. Helen Rappaport aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections. It is a book that will surprise people, even aficionados.
HELEN RAPPAPORT studied Russian at Leeds University and is a specialist in Russian and nineteenth-century women's history. She lives in Oxford.
After the untimely death of Prince Albert, the queen and her nation were plunged into a state of grief so profound that this one event would dramatically alter the shape of the British monarchy. For Britain had not just lost a prince: during his twenty year marriage to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert had increasingly performed the function of King in all but name. The outpouring of grief after Albert's death was so extreme, that its like would not be seen again until the death of Princess Diana 136 years later.
Drawing on many letters, diaries and memoirs from the Royal Archives and other neglected sources, as well as the newspapers of the day, Rappaport offers a new perspective on this compelling historical psychodrama--the crucial final months of the prince's life and the first long, dark ten years of the Queen's retreat from public view. She draws a portrait of a queen obsessed with her living husband and – after his death – with his enduring place in history. Magnificent Obsession will also throw new light on the true nature of the prince's chronic physical condition, overturning for good the 150-year old myth that he died of typhoid fever.
There are few characters in history about whom opinion has been more divided than the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, and his wife the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. On one hand, they are venerated as saints, innocent victims of Bolshevik assassins, and on the other they are impugned as the unwitting harbingers of revolution and imperial collapse, blamed for all the ills that befell the Russian people in the 20th century. Theirs was also a tragic love story; for whatever else can be said of them, there can be no doubt that Alix and Nicky adored one another. Soon after their engagement, Alix wrote in her fiancé's diary: "Ever true and ever loving, faithful, pure and strong as death"—words which met their fulfillment twenty-four years later in a blood-spattered cellar in Ekaterinburg.
Through the letters and diaries written by the couple and by those around them, Virginia Rounding presents an intimate, penetrating, and fresh portrayal of these two complex figures and of their passion—their love and their suffering. She explores the nature and possible causes of the Empress's ill health, and examines in depth the enigmatic triangular relationship between Nicky, Alix and their ‘favourite,' Ania Vyrubova, protégée of the infamous Rasputin, extracting the meaning from words left unsaid, from hints and innuendoes..
The story of Alix and Nicky, of their four daughters known collectively as ‘OTMA' and of their hemophiliac little boy Alexei, is endlessly fascinating, and Rounding makes these characters come alive, presenting them in all their human dimensions and expertly leading the reader into their vanished world.
Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin’s Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St Petersburg) was in turmoil – felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt. There, the foreign visitors who filled hotels, clubs, offices and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps and beneath their windows.
Among this disparate group were journalists, diplomats, businessmen, bankers, governesses, volunteer nurses and expatriate socialites. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic; to the black valet of the US Ambassador, far from his native Deep South; to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women’s Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareva.
Helen Rappaport draws upon this rich trove of material, much of it previously unpublished, to carry us right up to the action – to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened to an assortment of individuals who suddenly felt themselves trapped in a "red madhouse."
* Over 400 A-Z biographical entries, including the childhood, education, achievements, and challenges of each woman
* A timeline that spans the history of women reformers from the French Revolution, to the second wave of feminism in the late 1970s, to the disenfranchised status of women in many countries in the contemporary Middle East
* Numerous drawings and photographs of women reformers
* Two special indexes listing reformers by country and by cause
Cuatro preciosas jóvenes, tal vez las más admiradas y fotografiadas de la realeza de principios del siglo XX, objeto de incesantes rumores, nacidas en un mundo de glamour y opulencia, crecieron ajenas a su destino entre juegos, coqueteos con oficiales del ejército y mascotas... hasta la Primera Guerra Mundial y la Revolución.
Pero ¿quiénes eran realmente, más allá de su imagen edulcorada de niñas bonitas con vestidos blancos y grandes sombreros? ¿Cuáles eran sus esperanzas personales, sus sueños y aspiraciones y cómo se relacionaban entre sí y con sus padres? ¿Cómo era su vida como parte de la familia imperial? Helen Rappaport coloca a las cuatro hermanas en el centro del escenario y, basándose en sus cartas, diarios y otras fuentes primarias hasta ahora no examinadas, reconstruye la fascinante personalidad de cada una de ellas, pero al mismo tiempo traza un impresionante retrato familiar y de la Rusia prerrevolucionaria.
El 17 de julio de 1918, bajaron al sótano de una casa en Ekaterinburg. La mayor tenía veintidós años, la más joven tan solo diecisiete. Junto con sus padres y su hermano de trece años de edad, fueron brutalmente asesinadas. Su delito: ser las hijas del último zar.
La crítica ha dicho...
«Maravillosamente escrito. Una fascinante, profunda y comprehensiva investigación de las duquesas imperiales.»
«Desgarrador y muy bien escrito. El sensible retrato que hace Rappaport de las desafortunadas hermanas crea en el lector verdadero apego hacia cada una de ellas.»
Mail on Sunday
«Evocador y espléndidamente investigado y relatado, esto es historia narrativa en su máxima expresión.»
«Una reconstrucción amena y bien documentada de los últimos días de las hijas del zar Nicholas.»
«Los lectores se verán arrastrados por una narración tranquila pero elocuente mientras la autora arroja nueva luz sobre la vida de las cuatro hijas.»
«Las hermanas Romanov recrea de manera sobresaliente la claustrofóbica atmósfera provocada por el amor maternal de Alejandra. Mediante unos conocimientos sólidos, un gran dominio de las fuentes primarias y grandes dosis de entusiasmo por el tema, ofrece un estudio consistente y demuestra con rotundidad la fuerza de los lazos familiares.»
«Rappaport es una convincente biógrafa, excelente a la hora de sacar a la luz la humanidad de la historia, de ofrecer un fresco del pasado con todo su dramático detalle sin dejar de colocar a las personas en el primer plano de sus penetrantes retratos.»
Lancashire Evening Post
In Conspirator, Russian historian Helen Rappaport narrates the compelling story of Lenin's life and political activities in the years leading up to the revolution. As he scuttled between the glittering capital cities of Europe—from London and Munich to Vienna and Prague—Lenin found support among fellow émigrés and revolutionaries in the underground movement. He came to lead a ring of conspirators, many of whom would give their lives in service to his schemes.
A riveting account of Lenin's little-known early life, Conspirator tracks in gripping detail the formation of one of the great revolutionaries of the twentieth century.