Review

The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy At Ekaterinburg

by Helen Rappaport

After enduring just over a year under house arrest with his
family, first at the Alexander Place in St. Petersburg and then
later at Tobolsk in Western Siberia, Nicholas Alexandrovich
Romanov, the former Tsar of Russia, and his unhealthy wife
Alexandra, the former Tsarina, are put on a special train on the
Trans-Siberian Railway and shipped to the Siberian city of
Ekaterinburg. The remote town, nestled on the eastern slopes of the
Ural Mountains, festers with unrest and is the last place the Tsar
hopes to be sent.

With the later arrival of their five children --- Olga, Tatiana,
Maria, Anastasia and the sickly Alexy --- the spirits of the royal
couple lift. They endure the best they can. As spring gives way to
summer, the devout family has settled into the cramped, stifling
quarters where they are held prisoner. During their captivity, they
are stripped of their privileges while Nicholas awaits trial or
exile --- or worse.

In the summer of 1918, Russia is engulfed in a civil war between
the “Red” Bolsheviks and counter-revolutionary and
monarchist forces known as the “Whites.” After 300
years of Romanov rule, the victorious Bolsheviks chart a course of
terror and revenge against the Imperial Family. World leaders watch
helplessly as the fate of the royal family rests in the hands of a
group of blood-thirsty Bolsheviks. The world is shocked and
horrified by reports of the brutal murders of the entire family,
who are led to the basement where they are shot and then bayoneted
to death.

THE LAST DAYS OF THE ROMANOVS captures the essence of the dreary
and desperate days from late April 1918, when the former royal
couple is put on a special train, until the entire family’s
brutal “liquidation” on July 16, 1918. The photographs
of the once regal Ipatiev House and the Romanovs, especially the
children, intensify the feeling of the senselessness over the
execution of the royal family. Helen Rappaport paints an
even-handed picture of the close-knit and devout Romanovs, as well
as their relationships with their servants and the men who guard
them during captivity.

This biography is rich in detail, vividly portraying a historic
sense of time, place and emotions. Using new and previously unseen
eyewitness accounts of the situation in Siberia in 1918, Rappaport
realistically shows the forces and historic figures who brought
about the inevitable and tragic ending of 300 years of Romanov
rule. It is a chilling and fascinating read.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt (dvolkenannt@charter.net) on December 30, 2010

The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy At Ekaterinburg
by Helen Rappaport

  • Publication Date: January 19, 2010
  • Genres: Biography, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 0312603479
  • ISBN-13: 9780312603472