The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

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"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 Helen Rappaport aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections.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.

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About the author

HELEN RAPPAPORT studied Russian at Leeds University and is a specialist in Russian and nineteenth-century women's history. She lives in Oxford.

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St. Martin's Press
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Published on
Jun 3, 2014
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Biography & Autobiography / Royalty
Biography & Autobiography / Women
History / Russia & the Former Soviet Union
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Eligible for Family Library

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The dramatic story of Emperor Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna, the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia—A penetrating and deeply personal study that gives profound psychological insight into their marriage and how it shaped the events that engulfed them.

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.

The New York Times bestseller about the historic dealings between Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill—“A superb tribute to the neglected art of compromise” (Daily News (New York)).

Tip and the Gipper is an “entertaining and insightful” (The Wall Street Journal) history of a time when two great political opponents served together for the benefit of the country. Chris Matthews was an eyewitness to this story as top aide to Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, who waged a principled war of political ideals with President Ronald Reagan from 1980 to 1986. Together, the two men became one of history’s most celebrated political pairings—the epitome of how ideological opposites can get things done.

When Reagan was elected to the presidency in a landslide victory over Jimmy Carter, Speaker O’Neill was thrust into the national spotlight as the highest-ranking leader of the Democratic Party—the most visible and respected challenger to President Reagan’s agenda of cutting the size of government programs and lowering tax rates. Together, the two leaders fought over the major issues of the day—welfare, taxes, covert military operations, and social security—but found their way to agreements that reformed taxes, saved Social Security, and, their common cause, set a course toward peace in Northern Ireland. Through it all they maintained respect for each other’s positions and worked to advance the country rather than obstruct progress.

At the time of congressional gridlock, Tip and the Gipper stands as model behavior worthy of study by journalists, academics, and students of the political process for years to come. “This book is an invitation to join Tip and the Gipper in tall tales about how grand it was in the old country” (The Washington Post).
La historia, tan cautivadora como trágica, de Olga, Tatiana, María y Anastasia, hijas del último zar y las cuatro princesas más glamourosas de Europa.

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.»
Daily Express

«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.»
Publishers Weekly

«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.»
The Telegraph

«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

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