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Anastasia: The Riddle of Anna Anderson

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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  632 ratings  ·  45 reviews
The most dramatic unsolved mystery of the century.

In July 1918, Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, and their five children were shot by Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution.

In February 1920, a woman who many believe was the Grand Duchess Anastasia was rescued from a canal in Berlin.

In July 1992, the body of Anastasia, the youngest grand duchess, was found to be missing from he

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Paperback, 456 pages
Published June 30th 1985 by Back Bay Books (first published August 1st 1983)
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Community Reviews

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Terri Lynn
Let me begin by stating that I am an historian so my training has always required intensive and accurate research with multiple sources of verified facts. I do not take anything on faith and and do not believe in offering shoddy research as facts. Apparently Peter Kurth is the opposite. I was appalled to see one review on here from several years ago where a reviewer said she wished we did not have DNA testing because wouldn't it be so nice if we could pretend historical lies are really true. Wel...more
Linda
I am not convinced Anna Anderson is a fake. She knew too much about the royal family to be a peasant. If not Anastasia, then who?
Daisy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stacie
At the time I read it, I found it to be a very convincing (therefore true) story of what happened to Anastasia, then several years later I read "The Romanovs: the Final Chapter" by Robert K. Massie. The book by Robert Massie was written several years later, at a time when more forensic evidence (not to mention the remains of the Romanovs) was available. It turns out that forensic evidence has revealed that the woman written about in "Anastasia: the Riddle of Anna Anderson" was a mentally off, ru...more
Donnamhiltz
Written before DNA testing was availble, the author made a compelling case for Anna Anderson's claim that she was Anastasia, daughter of the Nicholas & Alexandra, of the doomed Romanov family. Testing performed after her death subsequently proved her claim to be a lie, but the book is, nonetheless, fascinating.
Marna
Interesting. I knew there were 'updates' to this case having seen a TV program on it but didn't remember what they concluded, so I refused to look it up until after I'd finished reading. It was disappointing, though because I kind of feel I wasted three days of my life, which I'm sure is nothing in comparison to the people who donated endless reservoirs of time, money and care on someone who ended up being either just very clever or insane. Sad and somewhat admirable. I wonder if the same thing...more
Sean
Aug 08, 2008 Sean rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
This story intrigues me to this day. I recommend this to all! (My personal opinion...Anna Anderson WAS Anastasia.)
Ann
Peter Kurth's book on Anna Anderson is considered one of the most important in a field that is full of books, most of which seem to be rehashing of the facts given in this one and a few others. I've had this on my shelf for years and always put off reading it for some perfect opportunity - a beach or a long plane ride, so I could savor all the crazy awesomeness that is the Anastasia/Anna Anderson mystery. Now that I decided to just read it already, I'm glad that I didn't have it for one of those...more
Katie
Mar 06, 2009 Katie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Russian History
From the time of the deadly massacre of the Russian Imperial Family in 1918 until 1983 an interresting quetion was on everyone's mind. "Did Anastasia Romanov, youngest daughter of Tsar Nicolas II, survive?" There were many women who claimed it was true, but one woman REALLY stood out. Her name was Anna Anderson. She had many simularities to the Grand Duchess and had many people both inside and outside the family convinced she WAS Anastasia. The book is a very interresting account of her life bot...more
Karschtl
Weil ich kürzlich über Rasputin gestolpert bin und etwas über ihn im Internet nachgelesen hatte, fiel mir auch dieses Buch über Anna Anderson (aka Anastasia) wieder ein, das ich schon länger hatte.
- Vorsicht, Spoiler -
Ich las das Buch mit Interesse, konnte es aber natürlich nicht lassen im Internet kurz zu recherchieren, ob in dem Fall später noch weitere Indizien bekannt wurden die zur Aufklärung der Identität hilfreich waren. Und ja, es gab welche. Nach dem Fall des eisernen Vorhangs wurde di...more
Lora
Imagine that you and your family are presumed killed, but you suddenly show up alone a year a half later in a foreign country, with a good but not great memory, terrible wounds that are healing, no papers, no personal effects, nothing that can identify you. If all your immediate family are dead, how do you prove who you are? Can you? This is the biography of a woman who desperately tries to establish her identity and connect with her extended family. Unfortunately, through politics, social clime...more
Lindsey
I thought this book was really well researched. It made you question whether this Anne Anderson was the real Anastasia or not. I kind of hope she wasn't the real Anastasia because she seemed to be a very vindictive, mean woman, to the people spending their own lives to help her.
Kaethe
I don't know why, but I'm particularly intrigued by Anna Anderson. I'm kind of sorry she wasn't Anastasia.
Peter Burton
Very detailed and interesting.We now know that the claimant was not Anastasia but it's still interesting to see how the story developed and what happened
Cynthia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caitlin
Jan 27, 2010 Caitlin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who believes Anastasia escaped the murder of her family.
Recommended to Caitlin by: found it on a website
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Violet
This book was long and drawn out. Yes she is, no she isn't. Was the question answered in this book. Truthfully no, that was left to be answered years later thought DNA. I would liked to have known how Anna Anderson knew so much information about the family, things that maybe only one or two people knew. So you might as well say that the Riddle of Anna Anderson is still a riddle and seems that it will never be answered.
booklady
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ian Chapman
I read this years ago, before DNA testing conclusions. I enjoyed the engaging commitment of Peter Kurth to the subject, which made it an enjoyable read. I thought Frau Anderson looked more like Tatiana than Anastasia, and I don't think they found all the bodies. Perhaps one of those imperial princesses did survive.
Lisa
Mar 06, 2008 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Russian history buffs.
This was a topic I used to obsess over. I ate up every word of this book, and pored over the photographs. Finally, DNA technology proved in the late 1990s that Anna Anderson was a fraud. I carefully placed the newspaper clipping in the back of this book and threw it in the thrift-store box.
Deborah
The story of the youngest daughter of the Tsar of Russia, the Romanov Family, Anastasia. This book tells the story of the child's body not believed to be buried with her family, and the subsequent claim many years later of a older woman that she is the lost Anastasia of Russia.
Monique
I read this book during my obsession with Russia at one time...I LOVED it...

Sometime at times, I wish we didn't discover DNA, it is nice to speculate rather than having cold hard fact on everything....Too bad she wasn't really the real princess...
Anna
I remember reading, and loving, this biography way back in my teens in the 80's. I was fascinated by Anastasia and was convinced Anna Anderson was the real deal as she knew so much. I was so disappointed when recent DNA tests revealed she wasn't.

Chloe Katsilas
Really makes you wonder...of course, I read this years before Anastasia's remains were found, thus disproving the lost princess theory. Regardless, the book is based on a true account of a person who believed she was someone else. Very interesting.
Briansmom
I read this book around 1997 or so. It impressed me so much that I did some research after I finished it, and was soooo sorry to realize that Anna Anderson was not, in fact, Anastasia. But she was a terrific fake!
Karen
This is an intriguing story that is both mysterious and heartbreaking. The tragic demise of the Romanovs adds the first layer of mystery and the mental state of Anna Anderson adds the second layer. Fascinating book.
Ariana
Absolutely ridiculous. This man has deluded himself that Anna Anderson is in fact Anastasia Romanov. Yes, the mystery was interesting while it lasted, but this is an insult to the real princess' memory.
Everett Darling
Not up-to-date, but worth a gander to discover the story of an amazing charlatan able to fool many, many people, but unfortunately not DNA experts. Science is making truth quite concrete isn't it?
Karen
Published before DNA testing proved otherwise, the author gives an excellent account of the end of the Romanov dynasty and the life of Anna Anderson, who claimed to be Anastasia.
Logan
I got this book through inter-library loan. I wanted to know the story of Anastasia after reading a confusing (to me at the time) short story by MHC. Weird.
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  • The Fate of the Romanovs
  • A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story
  • The Quest for Anastasia: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Romanovs
  • Anastasia: The Lost Princess
  • Anastasia's Album: The Last Tsar's Youngest Daughter Tells Her Own Story
  • 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 Camera and the Tsars: The Romanov Family in Photographs
  • The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II
  • The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russians
  • The Romanovs: The Final Chapter
  • The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg
  • My Story
  • Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last Tsar and Tsarina
  • Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner
  • Alexandra: The Last Tsarina
  • Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier
  • A Royal Duty
PETER KURTH is the author of "Anastasia: The Riddle of Anna Anderson," "American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson," "Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra," and "Isadora: A Sensational Life," and co-author (with Eleanor Lanahan) of "Zelda: An Intimate Portrait." His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler, Forbes FYI, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Obser...more
More about Peter Kurth...
Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra Isadora: A Sensational Life American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson Im Schatten Victor Adlers: Die Osterreichische Sozialdemokratie Zwischen Wahlrechtskampf Und Revisionismusstreit, 1889-1907 Zelda, an Illustrated Life: The Private World of Zelda Fitzgerald

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