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Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life
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Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  100 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Discovering an old Russian diary written when Princess Sophy Dolgorouky was a young woman trapped in Nazi-occupied Paris, the author digs deeper into her grandmother's life by traveling to her birthplace of St. Petersburg, and then to the Crimea, where she fled after the 1917 Revolution. She uncovers hidden M15 files, and then returns to the Nazi camp where her grandmother ...more
Published by Granta Books (UK) (first published January 1st 2008)
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Princess Sophy Dolgorouky (called Sofka) was born in 1907 into an ancient family of nobility. She grew up in an atmosphere of incredible privilege and cossetting, raised by her stiff grandmother and, intermittently, her rebellious surgeon mother and diletante father. Her family fled to Europe during the Bolshevik revolution, and lived nomadic lives while their prestige and money slowly dribbled away. Sofka, strong-willed, intellectual, sensual, charismatic, and with a fire for social justice, sh ...more
Kenghis Khan
Nov 21, 2012 Kenghis Khan rated it liked it
It starts out with an intriguing enough idea - a Russian aristocratic exile who becomes a mucky muck in British high society, survives Nazi occupied France in a prison designated for "enemy nationals" and comes to embrace the Bolshevik revolution and became your stereotypical British socialist grandmother. But despite this incredibly compelling subject, I felt the book was a bit too self-indulgent and in the end failed to adequately deal with the complex political realities that shaped the peopl ...more
Jul 21, 2015 Miriam rated it really liked it
I'm about halfway through and am enjoying this book very much. The author does a good job of tempering the aristocratic aspect of her ancestors and focussing on the daily events of people who were caught up in turmoil. It also leads me to think about what else was going on all over the world at the same time.
Nov 03, 2014 Lorraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating life story! Written by the granddaughter of a Russian princess, it encapsulates much of the history of the 20th century. I couldn't help thinking about my own grandmother who was born a few years before Princess Sofka and how different their lives were!
Jul 26, 2010 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book because I think this time period in history (especially Europe) is so interesting. The Princess (as many monarchy families (?)) I found to be spoiled and self serving - she was a horrible parent and wife. But she did try to help the Jews while imprisoned by the Germans at Vittel and she led an interesting life with all her travels. You got the feeling though that the author (granddaughter & whom she was named after) tried her best to put a positive spin on her life. As I ...more
emily louise
Nov 24, 2010 emily louise rated it liked it
The story was great. This woman had an amazing life, which she herself wrote about. It seemed like everyone mentioned had written an autobiography. It makes me want to read all of them to see what they left out and what their great grand daughter dug up later.
Sue Jellum
Jan 15, 2011 Sue Jellum rated it it was ok
Interesting read, but I'm not sure the woman was really so extraordinary she deserved a book. Very selfish woman glorified by her grandaughter - look how progressive she was, she had affairs and ignored her children before that became popular!
I applied the 50 page rule for this one. I have almost zero time for reading at the moment and did not want to spend it reading a book I was only mildly interested in.
I might pick it back up again some day but for now I am done with it.
Aug 04, 2012 Margaret rated it it was amazing
Incredible true story told by her granddaughter. Her curiosity from finding her grandmother's diaries. led her to search her past life.
A very unusual woman who seemed to be before her time regarding her attitude to life.
Mary Kay
Mar 13, 2010 Mary Kay rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in historical novels
Very interesting overview of the Russian revolution and the place royalty played in it. The book focuses on the diary of the author's grandmother who was a Russian princess and became a communist.
Jul 07, 2012 Corey rated it liked it
The fascinating true story of a woman who was born in pre-Revolutionary St. Petersburg, and her life wandering across Europe. Filled with history, adventure, and romance.
Kiriya Kannathasan
May 26, 2016 Kiriya Kannathasan rated it it was ok
It's really nice!
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Sofka Zinovieff was born in London and was educated at Cambridge. She has worked as a freelance journalist and lived in Moscow and Rome before settling in Athens with her Greek husband and their two daughters in 2001.

Her book, Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life has been translated into ten languages and she is the author of Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens.
More about Sofka Zinovieff...

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