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The Romanovs

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,457 Ratings  ·  256 Reviews
In 1991, nine skeletons were exhumed from a shallow grave near Ekaterinberg, Siberia. Were these the remains of the last tsar and his family, murdered over 70 years before? Pulitzer Prize winner Massie now answers this question, going back to the horrifying moments of the slaughter, and describing in detail the ultimately successful efforts in post-communist Russia to disc ...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published October 10th 1995 by Random House Value Publishing (first published 1995)
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I have sad news. Anastasia is dead. Long dead. She died back in 1918 in a basement with her family. I am now convinced of this. Despite all the movies and claimants, she did not survive and escape. Meaning there is no hidden princess out there in the world. No unassuming person about to be uncovered and lavished with luxuries. Even more crushing, the probability that I am in fact a hidden princess is greatly diminished.

My ten year old self is devastated. In fifth grade, we had to script and act
This book is a departure for Robert Massie who has produced some extraordinarily readable research on the Romanovs. The book is history (his forte) but it is also journalism and a discussion of forensic science and law.

As a history buff, the beginning and ending parts were of most interest to me. Massie starts with a careful documentation of the murders of the Tsar and his family and how the news was managed by the Russian revolutionaries. The end deals with fate of other branches of the Romanov
Jun 04, 2015 Antigone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Roused from their beds at midnight, the bleary Imperial family is told they must move to the lower floors of the home in which they have been imprisoned. There is worry the local unrest will result in gunfire; there is a danger of stray bullets penetrating the quarters upstairs. They rise. They dress. It all makes an inconvenient sort of sense. They have heard the rumblings of artillery in the distance. And so they calmly descend to a dingy basement room where they are instructed to arrange them ...more
Jun 13, 2011 Darcy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, non-fiction
I had hoped that this book would give an intimate look at the last days of the family and just how they got to where they were before they were killed. The book did cover this very briefly, but mostly it focused on the aftermath, of finding the bones in the grave, of debunking the imposters, petty turf wars among the scientific community in their search for the truth, and petty disagreements of the remaining family members of just who is really the "head" of the family now that the original fami ...more
Linda Lipko
Apr 22, 2011 Linda Lipko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written in 1995, at the time of publication, only nine of the eleven bodies of the Romanov family and their servants were found. In 2007, the bodies of young Alexei and his sister Maria were discovered.

Massie is the author of the classic, well-documented and meticulously researched book Nicholas and Alexandra. Obviously, still interested in the fate of Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and their five children, Massie, tenaciously pursued the details surrounding the discovery of the remains in a wo
Jul 02, 2014 Lynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in Russian history and particularly of the downfall of the Romanovs
Recommended to Lynne by: myself
Shelves: history
The Romanovs chronicles the discovery and identification of nine sets of bones found in a shallow grave near Ekaterinburg, where Tsar Nicholas and his family spent their final days. Massie, author of Nicholas and Alexandra, had been very outspoken in renouncing all those who claimed to be the Tsarevich Alexei or the Grand Duchess Anastasia throughout the 20th century, so of course he had a keen interest in this find.

Several reviews criticize this book for lacking background information necessary
Jun 05, 2011 Arsyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been an avid reader of anything having to do with the Romanov family for years. When I discovered this book, I must say I was ecstatic to finally see some scientific evidence pertaining to the tragic fall of the Last Tsar and his family.

Yes! That is exactly what this book provides. It describes years and years of research and archaeological work done in Russia both through historical documents and field work done in the supposed burial sites of the Romanov bodies. The evidence found is f
Rachel Jackson
Dec 29, 2013 Rachel Jackson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have no other person to credit for my interest in the Romanovs, Russian history and Russia itself than Robert K. Massie. I first read his book Nicholas and Alexandra when I was about seven years old, and although much of it was way over my head, it remained among my all-time favorites, and I've reread it numerous times over the years. The Final Chapter takes my interest a hundred times farther by finishing the story as best as Massie could in the 1990s post-Soviet collapse.

The Final Chapter re
☽ Moon Rose ☯
Give strength, Just God, to us who need it,
The persecutors to forgive,
Our heavy, painful cross to carry
And Thy great meekness to achieve.

When we are plundered and insulted
In days of mutinous unrest
We turn for help to Thee, Christ-Savior,
That we may stand the bitter test.

Lord of the world, God of Creation,
Give us Thy blessing through our prayer
Give peace of heart to us, O Master,
This hour of utmost dread to bear.

And on the threshold of the grave
Breathe power divine into our clay
That we, Thy chil
Having just read and loved Robert K. Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra, I pounced on this one with somewhat unseemly glee. Alas, this was mostly about a group of academics squabbling over old bones and just it didn't grab me. Bottom line spoiler: (view spoiler) If you are interested in an updated version of the DNA testing, Google: 'Romanov, bones'!
Nov 21, 2015 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of gruesome in some parts, although you probably won't think so if you're a fan of CSI or NCIS or any of those forensic crime shows. Also, it was published before some of the mysteries were solved or certain things were decided, even though people were in the process, and it hasn't been updated to include the solutions to any of the situations, if any. Other than that, it's really interesting, and in most cases, each person's point of view is represented fully and objectively. I enjoyed lea ...more
Elizabeth Sulzby
My only quibble with this book is the title. While this book is about the Romanovs around the time of the 1917 revolution, the imprisonment and murders of the Tsar and his family, the bulk of the book is about the Anastasia pretenders, and particularly about Anna Anderson/Anna Monahan. Purely by accident I met two of the pretenders whose photos appear in this book. In 1974 my husband and I were invited to accompany another couple to a cocktail party in honor of Eugenia Smith, from Illinois, who ...more
Maan Kawas
Oct 28, 2014 Maan Kawas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very beautiful book that provides lots of details about the final night in the life of Tsar Nicholas II Romanov and his family and the few others were with them, the murder of the family in 1918 and its aftermath, and the discovery of nine of the eleven bodies of the Romanov family (the other two were discovered in 2007), and the following scientific investigations. The book is a kind of detailed account of the investigations (forensic, lab test, DNA, etc..) took place in order to find and ide ...more
Aug 16, 2014 Danielle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20-in-14
Where I've torn through Massie's other books, this one took me quite a while to finish. Extremely informative as always, but the emphasis of the first third of the book is on the science and confusion of determining the bones of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, the 2nd third is on the legal challenges to the bones as well as the legal proceedings of several imposters/family members and others and the final third regards the descendants and claims to the nonexistent crown.

Everything is interesti
May 25, 2010 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, non-fiction, romanov
The follow-up to the highly addictive Nicholas and Alexandra was equally riveting. While the first book was published long before any remains were discovered, the second book explores the unearthing of the royal family’s final resting place, the authentication of the bones, the contention of a variety involved parties and the mystery of whether there were any survivors.

The first part of the book dealt with the identification of the remains. I had to slow down a bit to really absorb the various
An absolute must-read for anyone interested in not only the Romanovs, but also Russian history or forensic science.

I recently returned from living in St. Petersburg where I visited the mass grave of the Romanovs and their servants in Peter and Paul Fortress, saw icons of Nicholas II as saint/martyr in several churches, and watched news reports on memorial services held in Ekaterinburg on the anniversary of the murder. If you've experienced Russia or read a lot of Russian history, you unders
Jan 25, 2015 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book concerns itself more with the discovery of the Romanov remains rather than their lives and death. It's fascinating to read about all the politics and intrigue involved in the discovery of the bodies. It's a bit dated, and so I was disappointed not to be able to read about the discovery of the final bodies and learn what happened there, but since it was written while all these discoveries were being made, it still felt fresh and taught me a lot about the subject.
Helen Azar
Jan 31, 2010 Helen Azar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am currently re-reading this book, which I originally read about 6 or 7 years ago... Having behind me several articles on the subject, as well as having worked in the Russian archives, I can now fully understand and appreciate the painful process described in this book. I feel the frustration and pain the key players experienced during this investigation,which should have been fairly straight forward. From the extremely dysfunctionally bureaucratic Russian system to the foolish rivalries among ...more
Sep 04, 2015 Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you read Nicholas and Alexandra, this book is a must read. It begins with their deaths and follows through the location of their bodies. There was much legal wrangling through the story which became tedious to me. The DNA work was very interesting. I really enjoyed the book.
Dee Mellott
Dec 09, 2014 Dee Mellott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the end of the Romanovs
Nov 29, 2015 Kelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Massie's definitive biography, Nicholas and Alexandra, was written prior to the discovery of the remains of the Romanovs and their most devoted servants and doctor who were murdered by the Bolshevists in 1918. This book, The Final Chapter, highlights the the challenges faced in identifying the remains, including the views of competing interests who either wanted or didn't want the remains to be identified. This book was is a logical follow-upmost to his classic biography of the Imperial c ...more
Nov 30, 2014 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in conjunction with Helen Rappaport's The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg. Between the two works, you can learn just about everything there is to be learned about the Romanovs' last days as well as a conclusive debunking of any and all "survivor myths." The Massie work is more factual while the Rappaport book deals more with the mood and pathos of the Romanov family as they live their last few weeks in captivity before their assassination. Both works use the r ...more
Dec 17, 2014 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In July 1991, nine skeletons were exhumed from a shallow mass grave near Ekaterinburg, Siberia, a few miles from the infamous cellar room where the last tsar and his family had been murdered seventy-three years before. But were these the bones of the Romanovs? And if these were their remains, where were the bones of the two younger Romanovs supposedly murdered with the rest of the family? Was Anna Anderson, celebrated for more than sixty years in newspapers, books, and film, really Grand Duches ...more
Aug 10, 2014 Katy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating stuff. I felt like I was reading an episode of Bones (self-important anthropologist and all!)

This book is definitely not for someone who is interested in the last days of the Romanovs; it focuses almost entirely on what happened after the murders. But, it is a fascinating history. I learned a lot and would recommend it to forensics fans as well as those who are interested in the completion of the Romanov story.

I recognize that the original was published in 1995, but the edition I rea
Jul 18, 2014 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A bit of weird coincidence that I finished this book on July 17, 96 years from when the Romanov family was murdered. This book wasn't quite what I was expecting. I should have read the blurb. This had very little to do with the Romanovs and more to do with what happened after their deaths. Plus, having been written prior to the discovery of the two other "missing" bodies, there was still some mystery. Now that that the other daughter and the tsarevich are found, we all know for certain that all ...more
May 06, 2014 jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: eh...
Recommended to jim by: no one
Based on how quickly I devoured Nicholas & Alexandra, I am surprised that finishing this took as long as it did. The book started out interesting enough but by the end I felt like I had been slogging through a thick fog ultimately not reaching the destination toward which I thought I was heading. It's also unfortunate that "The Final Chapter" was written well before the final chapter of the Romanov saga was really known. I understand the allure of publishing this as a follow-up to the brilli ...more
Apr 23, 2015 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a little longer than I had planned to get to this book. I wanted to read it soon after I finished "The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra" by Helen Rappaport. There was much about what happened to the Romanov family that I had learned from the former book, but still it was interesting to read. There have been many years and people and results of political affairs that had finally given us the answers and allowed historians to close the chapter o ...more
I might use the start of this review to let everyone know that you must read Nicholas and Alexandra if you haven't already. You really must. Read that first and if you are interested in reading more then The Romanovs: The Final Chapter might be a good choice.

If you are interested in the history and lives of the Romanovs, right up the last moments before their murder, then Nicholas and Alexandra is what you want to read. The Romanovs: The Final Chapter is not focused on the victims themselves, bu
Brit Hopper
Robert Massie has written a lot about the early nineteenth century relating to pre-World War I and Europe's march toward war. He has focused attention on the last Tsar Nicholas II and his family. I became interested in the Romanovs when taking Imperial Russia and Soviet history classes in college in the early 90s. I instantly became drawn to the family, the sadness/tragedy that surrounded the family and their horrific end. I read Massie's "Nicholas and Alexandra", which is a superb account and E ...more
Jan 23, 2016 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Parts were interesting but there were slow moments compounded by repetition. There was a lot of scientific jargon that was explained very well but the legalese and length of the court battles wore me out. Ironically, I usually enjoy the law more than science; not so here. After reading John Boyne's, "House of Special Purpose," I wanted to know more about the Tsar's girls. This book told me little about them personally. It focuses on the where, when, and why it was so time consuming to find and i ...more
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  • The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II
  • Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra
  • Alexandra: The Last Tsarina
  • A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story
  • The Fate of the Romanovs
  • The Romanov Family Album
  • Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last Tsar and Tsarina
  • The Camera and the Tsars: The Romanov Family in Photographs
  • The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg
  • From Splendor to Revolution: The Romanov Women, 1847--1928
  • The Flight Of The Romanovs: A Family Saga
  • Michael and Natasha: The Life and Love of Michael II, the Last of the Romanov Tsars
  • The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias
  • Anastasia's Album: The Last Tsar's Youngest Daughter Tells Her Own Story
  • King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led The World To War
  • The Quest for Anastasia: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Romanovs
  • The Secret Plot to Save the Tsar: The Truth Behind the Romanov Mystery
  • Alix and Nicky: The Passion of the Last Tsar and Tsarina
Robert Kinloch Massie (born 1929) is an American historian, writer, winner of a Pulitzer Prize, and a Rhodes Scholar.

Born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1929, Massie spent much of his youth in Nashville, Tennessee and currently resides in Westchester County, New York in the village of Irvington. He studied American history at Yale University and modern European history at Oxford University on his Rhode
More about Robert K. Massie...

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“In Russia everything is a secret, but there is no secrecy.” 4 likes
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