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The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  2,968 Ratings  ·  245 Reviews
On the sweltering summer night of July 16, 1918, in the Siberian city of Ekaterinburg, a group of assassins led an unsuspecting Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, his wife, the Tsarina Alexandra, the desperately ill Tsarevich, and their four beautiful daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia, into a basement room where they were shot and then bayoneted to death.
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 3rd 2009 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2008)
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Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian-history
If you’ve stumbled across my review of The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias, you might recall that I’ve recently become a member of the Two-Person Russian Book Club. As the name implies, this is a Russian-themed book club comprised of two members: myself, and my friend Jamie. We are the only two members because we are the only two people we know personally who would join such a club.

Our first book was the aforementioned The Romanovs, by W. Bruce Lincoln, a dense, sweeping look at the dyna
Jun 10, 2016 Orient rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: history fans
One more fascinating historical book about the Romanovs and a close look to their last days, their killers and the legacy of the stunning famous family. I wrote more about them in my review of The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
"The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg" is a sad, touching book with an emotional end. There was only one member of the family left, waiting for them to return, but it didn't happen.

The cruelty of the massacre
Oct 20, 2012 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
Helen Rappaport, in writing this book achieved not only to bring new information to light concerning the planning of murdering the Romanov family, she was also able to bring you right in to the story. As I read, I not only could imagine the train ride aboard the Trans-Siberian railway line to Ekaterinburg, and the sheer fear of this being the worst place in all of Russia to be taken to. Nicholas, Alexandra, and Maria arrived in Ekaterinburg in May, and accounts of that time frame are given, thro ...more
Apr 27, 2014 Ana rated it really liked it
I'm probably not being fair in giving this book 4 stars, but I can't help it. It's my never-ending itch that no history book written by women can scratch. I am not being a misoginistic arsehole, it's just my frank opinion.

This has probably been the direct effect of the latest history book that I read, which is "The End" by Ian Kershaw. Now that's master-class retelling of some or other part of humanity's history. However, it's not just that particular work that influenced my view on the matter.
Apr 13, 2010 David rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm always disturbed at the romanticized and saccharined portrayal of the Romanov murders. It seems wrong to cannonize the dynasty that inflicted torture, exile, imprisonment, and death upon its people. Equally, in my mind, Nicholas II only received the same treatment he gave to many of his subjects...murder. Especially in Nicholas's case, I don't think the "calm, devoted family-man" image redeems his strictly autocratic and anti-Semitic rule as monarch. For a monarch to turn the other way while ...more
After finishing The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra, I picked up this book hoping for more insight into the family and their last days at Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg. This was a riveting historical account, more tightly paced than The Romanov Sisters.

I didn't care for the off-topic meandering in The Romanov Sisters; however, I felt like the broader historical information in this book was not only on point, but vitally necessary in order to show how the Rom
Oct 24, 2011 Persephone rated it really liked it
A very readable piecing together of the last few weeks in the lives of Tsar Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, their five children, and the unfortunate faithful retainers who shared their fate. Each chapter moves the narrative along a few days, or a day (towards the end), then focuses on a protagonist in order to give the background of the event leading up to the massacre.

As we know what happened, the feeling of tension and inevitable doom builds until we reach the very graphic chapter that describes
The Literary Chick
Mar 28, 2016 The Literary Chick rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Rivals the Manson murders for the pure savagery. A shameful act. Book was very well written and well balanced. Made the Romanovs more human than Nicholas and Alexandra, which practically deified them.
Jun 05, 2009 Andy rated it liked it
I had the misfortune of arriving at chapter 14 of The Last Days of the Romanovs in the late evening—of course I couldn’t put the book down—and let me say that the terrible gruesomeness recounted in those final chapters does not make for restful sleep afterwards. Gory? Absolutely. Sickening? Indeed. But Rappaport’s account of the murders is considerably more disturbing because the earlier chapters of the book establish the Romanovs as such a deeply human and sympathetic family.

Tsar Nicholas was a
Horia Bura
This is truly an amazing history book! Mrs. Rappaport goes beyond the limits of historical narrative and succeeds in recreating the whole heavy and tormenting atmosphere of the final two weeks in the lives of the Romanovs up to the moment of their appaling death. I know it sounds like a cliche, but the narrative description of historical characters, mental and physical conditions or even things is so powerful and compelling that it's almost as if you are there, experiencing the same feelings, ho ...more
Michelle Ule
Aug 24, 2014 Michelle Ule rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent overview of the death of the tsar by a fine writer. I learned things I'd never known and I've been reading on this topic for 40 years. The only flaw I saw was after devoting a chapter to the tsar, the tsarina and the girls (wonderful), I expected a similar chapter on Alexei.

Recommended if you're interested in Russian history and the Romanovs in particular.
Linda Lipko
Mar 06, 2011 Linda Lipko rated it liked it
Thanks to Sher (ProfilerSR) for recommending this book in 2009. Continuing my quest to learn more of Russian history, I noted The Last Days of the Romanovs in my LT library.

It was a hot, humid evening in Ekaterinburg, in the industrial town located in Siberia. July 16th started as other days for the Romanovs. They entertained themselves by playing cards, reading and caring for their young son and brother. Frail from blood that refused to clot, they continued their hovering and worrying.

Thin from
Apr 16, 2010 jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
I just finished a book about Trotsky before reading this account of the Romanov murders, so maybe I'm just burnt out on the Russian Revolution and its attendant issues. Still, I'd like to give this 2.5 stars, and once again curse goodreads for not having half stars as an option.

I liked this book mainly for the asides. Rappaport touched briefly on several minor historical figures that I hadn't ever heard of and found interesting. For instance, she spends a few pages on Lt Col Mariya Bochkareva, a
May 05, 2014 Lorna rated it liked it
Shelves: history
“Ekaterinburg is the name of the town the Romanovs, the Imperial family of Russia were kept in the weeks leading up to their execution. Helen Rappaport, the author, writes well and I like the way the book is laid out, with each chapter taking on a day in the house they were kept in and a different member of the family.
The only gripe I have with this book is that for a complete novice on Russian history, which I have to confes myself to be, it doesn't give enough information on the social and pol
Dec 28, 2009 Jan rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The title of this book tells you pretty much all you need to know - it is a very in-depth look at the last month or so in the lives of Russia's Tsar Nicholas II and his family, who were murdered by the Bolsheviks in July of 1918.

Honestly, I would have preferred to learn more about the Russian Revolution itself. I often found myself a little confused. Who were the Whites and why were they fighting against the Bolsheviks? And why were Czechoslovakians fighting alongside the Whites? But, really, th
Barbara Ardinger
Jun 06, 2012 Barbara Ardinger rated it it was amazing
An unforgettable book. The author gives the chronology of the events of the last week that last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, and his family were alive and imprisoned in Ekaterinburg (pronounced ye-ka-tyer-in-boorg), the town in the Ural Mountains between Russia and Siberia where they were executed during the night of July 17, 1918. Although it is historical fact that Nicholas II must have been one of the stupidest men ever to sit on a throne and that his wife, Alexandra (originally a German prince ...more
Apr 02, 2009 Roger rated it really liked it
The author takes the last 14 days of the life of the Romanovs and gives you insights to different members of the family and their staff. Features the different members of the Bolsheviks who jailed them in Ekaterinburg and the political forces swirling about the Urals and Moscow. The last two chapters are very graphic in the details of the murders of the Romanov family. I think the author whose stated goal was not to try and rehash the whole history of the Romanovs did a very good job in giving y ...more
May 17, 2009 Amy rated it it was ok
I was confused by this book. Each chapter has a date, but within the chapter she skips around to all different times. Maybe if I had read it in a more focused way, rather than a little bit here and a little bit there, I would have followed it better. Also, I felt she invented details to make the "story" flow, when there is no possible way she could have known those. Morbidly, this is my best example. When they were executing the family, she filled in details about people cowering in corners and ...more
This is a very readable biography. Although focusing on the Romanov's last weeks of captivity, there are separate chapters about each family member's life, as well as those of their faithful staff. The narrative therefore becomes very personal, and their hopes, fears and frustrations become especially poignant in those last few days, with you knowing what will happen to them, knowing that they don't.

There are also chapters about the men who killed them, and the royal European cousins who could a
Dana Burda
Jun 11, 2016 Dana Burda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Helen Rappaport încearcă și reușește în fascinanta sa carte să prezinte cât mai multe date bine documentate despre familia ultimului țar al Rusiei Nicolai al II lea și mai ales despre ultimele 30 de zile din viața lor petrecute în captivitate și sfârșite printr-o moarte teribilă, fiind pur și simplu asasinați cu toții fără milă. O crimă ce nu poate fi uitată și pe care istoricii nu încetează să o studieze chiar dacă se va împlini în curând un secol de la teribila faptă petrecută în ziua de 17 iu ...more
May 20, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It condensed the Romanov saga to the last two weeks and built a lot of tension to the foregone conclusion. I'm by no means an expert on this period in history. It was very readable, cinematic in scope and horrifying at the end. I'd recommend it!

I was a bit dismayed by the lack of footnotes, and the author explained the reasoning behind that in the epilogue.
Ali Stone
Aug 09, 2013 Ali Stone rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite historical books. Being fairly interested in the execution of the Romanov family, this books gives day to day details that follow close to the last fews days the Romanovs had to live. An added bonus to reading this book was that instead of focusing on one side of the story, it supported both the sides of the Czar of Russia, Nicholas II, and the poor starving citizens of Russia. A very exciting book to read.
Jeff R.
Apr 05, 2009 Jeff R. rated it liked it
I read this book because the topic intrigued me. If it weren't for my sincere interest to learn about these events I never would have made it through. The last 70 pages are fantastic. Other than that, I may as well have been reading a text book. I'm glad I know the history, but there has to be an easier way to learn it!
Apr 25, 2015 Louise added it
I didn't really want to read a second book on this subject, but then made the mistake of just perusing the pictures! I found she had a much more in-depth story on the Romanov tragedy. I do mean IN-DEPTH! I had to skim through a lot of it as it was SO wordy. However, it was nice to answer some of the questions I had after reading the Romanov Family book.
Thomas Andrikus
Feb 07, 2011 Thomas Andrikus rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: History lovers, Russian lovers
Shelves: favourites
This is the best historical biography of any individual(s) I've ever read so far. Even if you're not into Russian life&culture, this book would provide a fetchingly detailed, gripping, and harrowing account into the very last days of this Russian monarchical end which is still revered by its people till this very day.
Carol Storm
Dec 12, 2014 Carol Storm rated it liked it
Fairly interesting but the author insists on painting Nicholas and Alexandra as totally blameless for everything, which at times is very sad but other times is downright funny.
Rory Braybrook
Jun 17, 2016 Rory Braybrook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Ultimately a sad and tragic tale - the end of an era.
Mar 22, 2014 Megan rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Oh, where to begin? Where to begin? I bought this book in December 2012 while I was on an HPB run on lunch from a cataloging workshop. I wasn't expecting high scholarship, if only from the terrible cover. To the smart aleck saying not to judge books by their covers, let me take a second and tell you why this cover is worthy of judgment. It's anyone's guess why this woman decided to put a cover on said book featuring a red-tinted, badly-shopped image of the 1902 Rothschild egg over the 1914 Livad ...more
Jun 03, 2016 Val rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: byt-main, non-fiction
This review is mainly a copy of comments I made earlier.

I like the writing style of this book. The author does a pretty good job so far of generating sympathy for the family, while showing how unrealistic and out of touch the Tsar and Tsaritsa were as rulers. One of the ways she does this is by switching between using titles and using names. It is very readable and the author has concentrated on the family as people.

She has also tried to dispel some of the myths and biased accounts which grew up
Cynthia June Long
Oct 21, 2016 Cynthia June Long rated it it was amazing
Compelling and readable.
The author devotes a chapter to each of the key players—the four daughters are combined in one chapter—and the reader learns about Tsaritsa (Empress) Alexandra’s genealogy as Queen Victoria’s granddaughter and her marriage to the Tsar; some reasons for Tsar Nicholas’ ineffective reign; the tremendous courage of the Doctor and other household servants who accompanied the royal family; and why the family was executed at that point in time: the Czech army and the pro-monarc
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Court of the Last Tsar: Pomp, Power and Pageantry in the Reign of Nicholas II
  • 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 Flight Of The Romanovs: A Family Saga
  • A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story
  • The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II
  • Alexandra: The Last Tsarina
  • Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra
  • The Romanovs: The Final Chapter
  • King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led The World To War
  • From Splendor to Revolution: The Romanov Women, 1847--1928
  • Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last Tsar and Tsarina
  • Alix and Nicky: The Passion of the Last Tsar and Tsarina
  • The Quest for Anastasia: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Romanovs
  • Little Mother of Russia: A Biography of the Empress Marie Feodorovna (1847-1928)
  • Anastasia: The Lost Princess
  • The Secret Plot to Save the Tsar: The Truth Behind the Romanov Mystery
  • Anastasia's Album
Born in Bromley, England, Helen Rappaport studied Russian at Leeds University but ill-advisedly rejected suggestions of a career in the Foreign Office and opted for the acting profession. After appearing on British TV and in films until the early 1990s she abandoned acting and embraced her second love - history and with it the insecurities of a writer’s life.

She started out contributing to biograp
More about Helen Rappaport...

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