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The Mystery of Olga Chekhova

3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  241 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
In his latest work, Antony Beevor--bestselling author of Stalingrad and The Fall of Berlin 1945 and one of our most respected historians of World War II--brings us the true, little-known story of a family torn apart by revolution and war. Olga Chekhova, a stunning Russian beauty, was the niece of playwright Anton Chekhov and a famous Nazi-era film actress who was closely a ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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The Mystery of Olga Chekhova turned out not to be particularly mysterious and for this I definitely subtract points. Olga Chekhova, a White Russian actress, doubly related by marriage to Anton Chekhov, ended up as a star of the German film industry in the 1920s and 1930s (she even made a German version of a Hitchcock film) and as a minor favorite of Nazi Party leaders like Hitler and Goebbels. After the war, she continued to live in East Germany, so the "mystery" is whether she was a Soviet spy, ...more
Mar 03, 2014 Rayda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating book. I loved reading about the Moscow Theater and all of the people that worked there and their adventures and trips abroad. The description of the book led me to believe that Olga was a spy, but there wasn't much about it. What exactly did she do? It tells more about what Lev did than anything else. But I read the book because I was interested in the theater, not the spying, and this has so much information on it. It was especially thrilling to read about where they live ...more
Stephen Hackney
I am having difficulty progressing in my reading because, quite frankly, the protagonist of the story, Ms. Olga Chekhova, is simply not a person that I find any empathy for, nor real interest in her life. The cast of characters around her, including Der Fuhrer, help keep my interest alive, but I have been dividing my reading time with other more fascinating topics and characters. I will finish this book (because that's the way I am), but not today or tomorrow.

November 18, 2015
I finished this boo
Apr 28, 2011 Denis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Antony Beevor is a master historian - his book on the fall of Berlin in 1945 is absolutely riveting. Compared to such previous works, this book is a minor achievement, but it is an enjoyable one nevertheless, mostly because the tale that unfolds is totally improbable - and yet completely true. Olga Chekhova, niece of the great Chekhov, survived the Russian revolution, emigrated to Berlin, became an actress, found celebrity and wealth as a famous movie star, and ended up as one of the goddesses o ...more
Emma Richler
Mystery indeed. The esteemed Antony Beevor is extremely fine at military history, but perhaps not so successful at biography if this comparatively slight book is anything to go by? The story largely concerns what is fabled of the German/Russian actress Olga Chekhova. It tells us what is untrue, half-true and vaguely possible in the doings and sayings of the maybe NKVD agent. I learn little about her in the end, though I can attest I do not much like her. She strikes me as vain and opportunistic ...more
Apr 22, 2016 Eva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pārsvarā grāmatas raksta no vienas vai otras valsts/iekārtas puses, kas atspoguļo viņu viedokli un tas ir saprotams, bet šeit man patika tieši mija un atšķirības dažādās iekārtās un vēsturiskajos laika posmos. Cik dzīve var būt sarežģīta ejot cauri Revolūcijai un vēl Karam, bet šai stāstā ir maz par pašu Olgu, jo interesantāks ir fons uz kā viss norisinās un tas ir šīs grāmatas stāsts.
Joaquim Alvarado
Llibre interessant a estones, potser excessivament dispers i mancat de ritme, que dóna a conèixer al gran públic la figura d'Olga Chejova, actriu russa emigrada a Alemanya el 1920 que arribà a ser l'actriu preferida del Reich, mentre paral·lelament feia tasques d'espionatge pels soviètics. Aquesta figura és l'eix central, però Beevor també analitza, amb major o menor intensitat, els altres membres de la família Knipper-Chejov, i esmenta molt de passada al final el que potser era el principal obj ...more
Nov 21, 2015 Trevor rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
pointless.was she a spy or wasn't she? Was she important or not? These and other questions will remain unanswered by this very disappointing book.
Dec 15, 2015 Fran rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
El verdadero misterio es por qué leí este libro.
Jan 27, 2010 Eppie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the swashbuckling the story that the cover describes--in fact, the majority of the book has nothing to do with Olga Chekova. But the description of life on the "home front" of Russia during the First World War, the Russian Revolution and the events that followed, and World War Two is facinating. Beevor has pieced together correspondence and journals from Anton Chekov's surviving family members to trace them over four decades.
Feb 04, 2010 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
This was a mildly interesting book, never thought I would ever say that about an Antony Beevor book! Its got the family connections, the split of Russian and German family members, and how each lived till the death of Olga. The mystery is about if Olga was spying for Russia and Germany, and how she survived through the war and after, and was never caught by either side. The lesson learned: Pragmatism will let you live!
Apr 24, 2008 Ishita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Style is a far cry from our beloved Dalrymple's. However, the content itself manages to make up. I shall humbly accord the confusion to the chaos of WW2, and the obvious difficulty in rendering such a time.
Feb 14, 2010 Jan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
An interesting book. Chekhova was a favorite actress of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels but in reality she was, according to Beevor, a spy of Stalin and Soviet Russia in Berlin.
Beevor is awful. He keeps on pop psychologizing and there's a kind of obviously misogynistic slant to it. I liked the material though.
Dec 21, 2008 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, a different and unknown world.
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Antony James Beevor is a British historian, educated at Winchester College and Sandhurst. He studied under the famous historian of World War II, John Keegan. Beevor is a former officer with the 11th Hussars who served in England and Germany for 5 years before resigning his commission. He has published several popular histories on the Second World War and 20th century in general.

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