Dec. 7, 2017

Way too much detail...

The Last of the Tsars by Robert Service

How the mighty have fallen…

My thanks to my contacts at Pegasus Books, Iris Blasi, Katie McGuire, and Maia Larson, for my advance reading copy of this book. You ladies rock!

Nicholas Romanov, Tsar Nicholas II, was the last royal ruler of Russia. When he was crowned on November 1, 1894, he could not have foreseen the terrible end that was coming, or that the royal line would end with him.

This is the story of the man who lost everything. The reign of Nicholas II was unfortunately marred by a series of bad decisions and worse luck.  There was the Khodynka Tragedy, a human stampede after his coronation that caused the deaths of 1,389 people. He had a penchant for executing political rivals. He was blamed for the Russo-Japanese War, which led to his being nicknamed Nicholas the Bloody.

He instituted ant-semantic rules to try to force Jews into becoming Russian Orthodox, then the State Religion. On Sunday, January 22, 1905, people trying to bring a petition to Tsar Nicholas were fired upon by the Imperial Guard. This is remembered as “Bloody Sunday.”

Along with the Russian people, even the Nobles began to be dissatisfied with the Tsar’s rule. Losses on the battlefields, a food shortage, and the growing influence of Gregory Rasputin did not help the matter at all. The Tsar finally abdicated in 1917 following the Russian Revolution, and his family was placed under house arrest. Still fearing Nicholas and the Romanov dynasty, the Tsar, and his entire family was executed on July 16, 1918.

This is the story of the Romanov family. It is very detailed and features seemingly every character the author could squeeze in that was remotely connected to the case. The story was fascinating in places, and at other times it dragged like a broken muffler behind a car. It does succeed in establishing the human side of Tsar Nicholas, but some of the writing could have been omitted without harming the book in the least.

I personally had a hard time wading through this book. Historically, it is accurate and thus valuable as insight to these troubled times and the end of an era. I give the book three stars…

Quoth the Raven…

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