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The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II
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The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  2,918 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Russian playwright and historian Radzinsky minessources never before available to create afascinating portrait of the monarch, and aminute-by-minute account of his terrifying last days.Updated For The Paperback Edition. ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published June 15th 1993 by Anchor (first published 1992)
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Jul 12, 2007 Shannon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who are interested in Russian history
Shelves: nonfiction
I read this quite a while ago, but I really enjoyed it. Based largely on documents released by the Russian government during the 90's and on journals entries from members of Nicholas II and his family, the author simultaneously unravels and adds to the mystery surrounding the last years of the tsar's life and the execution of his family during the Russian revolution.
One of the greatest books about Russia's past history. Surprisingly very moving, but also very well written, this massive book is filled with such extravagance, drama, love, adventures and heartbreaks of all kinds that it reads more like fiction than real history - and yet, everything is true, to the last details (and Radzinsky has done an amazing research job). Truly a superb book, one of the very best and most interesting written about this period. Radzinsky remains impartial and objective, an ...more
While providing a tidbit here and there that I wasn't aware of, this book was distasteful to me. It reads like a sensationalist journal rather than a historian's account. The Massie book on Nicholas II was much more concise and professional, and much less hysterical--Massie was not looking for strange patterns and mysticisms, as Radzinsky seems to have been. Skip this one, as it is not really worth your time, and offers very, very little new on a subject that has been written on by many others.
Excellent! Lots of facts and history to plow through but totally worth it. Uncovers true historical facts of what really happened to the Romanov's. The first time some of these documents have been published from the Russian archives. If you love Russian history or have an interest in the Romanov's I highly recommend it.
Feb 18, 2010 Nancy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ppl interested in Russian history
Wow. This book had a lot of info. I had no trouble following along with the first half, which was mostly explaining family relations (there is a nice little family tree diagram at the front) and stories from when Nicholas was born up until he took the throne. Then the story moved into quotes from his diary and her diary, and their letters to each other when he was away. Reading the excerpts from the diaries while in exile was interesting. It was when the book moved into all the political names a ...more
Nancy Oakes
As I noted somewhere before, I continue to be fascinated with the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, with the whole history of the Russian czars and with the arrest and deaths of the last Czar, Nicholas II, and his family.

Rather than a dry history, Radzinsky uses documents that were opened from archives, personal histories & diaries from those individuals involved in the Romanov assassinations and from Nicholas & Alexandra themselves to create a very good study of what actually happened to N
Robert Alexander
A great follow-up to Robert Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra. It's written in a quirky Russian style, a bit difficult to get into...but ultimately it pays off handsomely by telling the story of the last days of the royal family from a decidedly Russian point of view.
Miriam Reeves
This book was filled with great facts and history but it was poorly written. Even History books should keep our attention shouldn't they?
Edvard Radzinsky is a renowned playwright and that is evident in this book's prose. As far as I can tell, based on other sources, his facts are correct and so this book is worth reading for that reason alone. However, his writing is overly dramatic and full of conjecture. He often refers to himself and "our book." It's annoying to read.

It's also difficult sifting through his assumptions of what people did or thought that have no specific factual basis. He reaches his conclusions in an honest wa
Maan Kawas
An unforgettable, wonderful, powerfully written and vivid, but disturbing and touching book! The best I have ever read so far about the last tsar, Nicholas II and his family. The book is filled with detailed information based on documents, research, investigations, meetings, first-hand witnesses’ information, and personal diaries. I loved so much the insertion of some extracts of the Tsar’s and the Tsaritsa’s letters and diaries. The book reveals the good, gentle, kind, but weak and spineless ch ...more
Terry Bonner
This was a totally engaging biography. I could not put it down. The Nicholas who emerges in these pages is both despicable and sympathetic. He is a nebbish placed by a capricious fortune at the vortex of history. He is a basically decent man who occupies a corrupt, indecent office. His naivete is both endearing and criminal. Radzinsky is no apologist for the unfortunate last of the Romanovs; neither is he judgmental, at least in regard to Nicholas himself. The Tsarina, on the other hand, suffers ...more
Dec 25, 2010 Kathleen rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history buffs only--or those who can take it with a grain of salt
The first half of the book, encompassing (very much in brief) the life of Nicholas II, is some of the worst historical work I've read since having the misfortune of picking up Simon Dixon's "biography" of Catherine the Great. Details are sparing, information is sketchy, and there are enough twists and turns of logic to make one's head spin. Among other assertions the author expects us to take as fact: Rasputin really did have mystic powers; Alexandra was hysterical and borderline insane through ...more
Lauren Albert
This was an odd book. While Radzinsky's digging in the newly-opened Soviet archives provides fascinating information, I had some problems with the book. He has a habit--which grows annoying--of constantly making reference to tragic future events while narrating peoples' lives. He also indulges in a fair amount of speculation about events and people's thoughts and feelings. The closing section in which he tries to find out about the final days of the Romanovs is especially confusing---leaving thi ...more
Dee Mellott
excellent read...
Rod Foglio
Newly unclassified information and interviews with those who were there shed light on what really happened during the Romanov's final days in Siberia. It is a riveting story, and resolves the long standing mysteries about them.
I am obsessed with anything to do with Nicholas II, I even had two goldfish name Nick and Alex! I find the accounts of this story to be so heartbreaking and unbelievable and will read anything fiction or non about the last Tsar!
Paul Bustion
This is a pretty good book. I read it recently. Slightly more than a decade ago, when I was 15 years old (I'm 26 now) I read the same author's biography of Stalin and did not like it, because it embraced far fetched conspiracy theories to easily, but I found his biography of Nicholas plausible. In some respects, it is superior to Robert Massie's biography of Nicholas. Because Massie ignored Nicholas' anti-Semitism, whereas Radzinsky pays attention to it. Nicholas was highly anti-Semitic, that's ...more
This book is a nice piece of historical detective work on the killing of Tsar Nicholas II, his family and his retinue. It is informative, speculative and entertaining and is done with great style.
What a tragic story. I'd like to think the world has learned from past history but it hasn't.
Not only is this book a biography of Nicholas, it is the author’s own experience of uncovering previously classified Russian archives. The evidence he discovers regarding the death of the royal family was ground-breaking at the time of publication, but now much of what he discovered is somewhat out of date. Since then, the remains of the Tsar and his family have been positively identified and many of the rumors relayed to the author by unnamed sources have been laid to rest. Not that the evidenc ...more
Back when I was a real person, I lived in Bloomington, Indiana, and I used to trawl all the town's bookstores looking for books about Nicholas, with whom I became fascinated during the summer of 2008 and outright obsessed with over the course of 2009. Caveat Emptor was a great place to go because I always found heaps of Russian books there; a George R.R. Martin lookalike manned the counter, and the entire place was floor to ceiling with books, an entire maze of bookshelves placed as close togeth ...more
This is a remarkable account of the life and death of Nicholas II by a Russian historian. The book uses and quotes, almost exclusively, original source material, including letters between Nicholas II and his wife, diaries of the tsar and all of his family (wife, four daughters, and son - the heir Alexei). It also uses letters and accounts from the Bolsheviks, who participated in the execution of the family and the subsequent burials.

The author, Edvard Radzinsky, began his research into the death
David Groves
I learned a lot from this book, but I was also frustrated with it. This is the type of book that historians write to prove a new point, and I respect the author for that. After glasnost, Radzinsky seems to have been given access to the communist archives as pertains to the execution of Nicholas II and his family, and he cleared up many mysteries from that time. Obviously, that's important. But to do that, he has to include soooo many details that the general reader gets lost, drowned in the minu ...more
Will Diercks
Ms. Brooks
7 January 2013
English 10

The Last Tsar Review

This book, and it is fairly long, is a large summary of the life and death of Tsar Nicholas II. It starts out talking about his young life under his grandfather’s strong rule of Russia. In time his grandfather passed away and by order his father should have been the one to take over, but the young Nicholas was forced to after his father passed on the power. Later on it describes his courship of Alix, short for Alexandra, who was
Madara Aldina
This book gives you clear picture of the life of last Russian czar Nikolai II and his family. You should read this book if you are interested in history of Russia and Soviet Union. Everybody have heard at least something about notorious shooting of last czar and his family, and his family's relationship with "devilish" Rasputin. Book reveals many details about everyday life of czar, his thoughts, believes and also an analyse, why he become the last czar with all the political and personal detail ...more
Kathleen Brugger
How do you make a story suspenseful when everyone knows how it ends? Mr. Radzinsky solved this problem in The Last Tsar by writing a historical-detective tale. The death of Russia’s last tsar, along with that of his family, is told largely through actual documents: diaries and letters of the tsar and his wife, and painstakingly uncovered reports from the Soviet archives. In addition, there are interviews with people who contacted Mr. Radzinsky after he began publishing articles in Russia about t ...more
What made this book interesting is that Radzinsky uses tons of primary resources, specifically Nicholas II’s diaries, which the tsar started keeping at age 14 up until he was executed at age 50. Radzinsky quotes letters, other people’s diaries and memoirs, and official reports; he uses interviews he conducted himself from witnesses, descendants and an unnamed “guest.” What I didn’t like so much is all the speculating and emoting that he does. There’s a lot of material that is repeated and though ...more
This book took me a long time to read, and I think it was mostly because I got stuck trying to pronounce the unfamiliar names that seem so complicated to me. Other than that, this was an interesting book. The author took some liberties with projecting thoughts and feelings on some of the people, but it was an interesting take. Reading the journals of Nicholas and Alexandra was fascinating. The second half of the book was where I really got stuck. So many people, each with multiple names and pseu ...more
I'm a Nicholas II groupie, sad man, beautiful family, wrong place, wrong time. This book focuses more on the abdication and final years of Nicholas and his and his wife and children, in exile, with his captors, moving from one Siberian Village to another. It is almost a minute by minute chronology of the last days of the last tsar. I want to say, Nicholas! These guys are going to kill your daughters, your beloved wife, your little hemophelic son that you adore. BE A MAN! Run away. There's other ...more
I had to read thins book for one of my classes and I really enjoyed it. I thought that it was an easy read except for the middle section, it was slow. The Last Tsar was really informative, I did not realize how long the Russian Revolution had been brewing for. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who would like to know more about the life of Nicholas and Alexandra.
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Radzinsky is an author of more than forty popular non-fiction books on historical subjects. Since the 1990s, he has written the series Mysteries of History. The books translated to English include his biographies of Tsars Nicholas II and Alexander II, Rasputin, and Joseph Stalin. His book Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives discusses ...more
More about Edvard Radzinsky...
The Rasputin File Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar An old actress in the role of Dostoevsky's wife Князь. Записки стукача Le Masque de fer

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