Monday, July 27, 2015

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia

Author: Candace Fleming
Info: Schwartz & Wade, copyright 2014, 304 pages

Here is the tumultuous, heartrending, true story of the Romanovs - at once an intimate portrait of Russia's last royal family and a gripping account of its undoing.  Using captivating photos and compelling first person accounts, award-winning author Candace Fleming deftly maneuvers between the imperial family's extravagant lives and the plight of Russia's poor masses, making this an utterly mesmerizing read...

~Goodreads Description

As a history major, I know I studied the Russian revolution, especially in the context of WWI.  But I'll admit in the years since, little was retained.  The generals, sure.  Names, dates, concepts.  But the particulars are hidden somewhere deep inside my brain...memories that are starting to darken (if you've seen Inside Out).  What replaced all that authoritative information is my love for the cartoon movie Anastasia.  Anyone?  "Once Upon a December"?

This was another assigned reading, but it was one I quite enjoyed.  I'd forgotten, in the teen fiction fog, how much I enjoy nonfiction history titles, especially those written in a way that tells a story and doesn't just regurgitate facts.  Fleming does an excellent job bringing the time, place, and circumstances to life in a way that is accessible, especially to young learners.  And the story of the Romanov family and their eventual demise is quite interesting.

The Family Romanov is the story of destiny in a way.  A young man becomes Tsar of Russia, ill-equipped to lead and ignorant of the lives of his people.  It's a story of love and family.  It's a story of wealth and privilege.  It's a story of ignorance and misuse of power.  And it's the story of tradition versus a new age.  Fleming includes excerpts from Russians of all walks of life that paint a great picture of the turmoil facing the country at that time, as well as pictures that illuminate the lives of the royal family and the peasants.  (By the way...Rasputin was a pretty creepy looking dude.)

This was a quick and easy read that I highly recommend.  And when you're done, settle down with Anastasia on Netflix just for fun.

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