Cover image for The fate of the Romanovs
The fate of the Romanovs
King, Greg, 1964-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons, [2003]

Physical Description:
xi, 657 pages; 25 cm
The ruin of an empire -- A traitor to the revolution -- The house of special purpose -- "It was dreadful, what they did ..." -- The seventy-eight days -- Russia in chaos -- The first to die -- The June conspiracies -- "A happy hour with the grandest people in the world" -- The coming storm -- Murderous intentions -- Gotterdammerung -- The four brothers -- Aftermath -- The investigations -- "Holy relics of our saints" -- Unearthing the past -- "An unknown grave from the Soviet period" -- Bones of contention -- "It's all secret, all political" -- The secret of the Koptyaki Forest -- "Drowned in this mist of holiness."
Added Author:
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DK258.6 .K56 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
DK258.6 .K56 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Abundant, newly discovered sources shatter long-held beliefs

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 revealed, among many other things, a hidden wealth of archival documents relating to the imprisonment and eventual murder of Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, and their children. Emanating from sources both within and close to the Imperial Family as well as from their captors and executioners, these often-controversial materials have enabled a new and comprehensive examination of one the pivotal events of the twentieth century and the many controversies that surround it.

Based on a careful analysis of more than 500 of these previously unpublished documents, along with numerous newly discovered photos, The Fate of the Romanovs makes compelling revisions to many long-held beliefs about the Romanovs' final months and moments. This powerful account includes:
* Surprising evidence that Anastasia may, indeed, have survived
* Diary entries made by Nicholas and Alexandra during their captivity
* Revelations of how the Romanovs were betrayed by trusted servants
* A reconstruction of daily life among the prisoners at Ipatiev House
* Strong evidence that the Romanovs were not brutalized by their captors
* Statements from admitted participants in the murders

Author Notes

Greg King is the author of five previous books. A noted historian on Imperial Russia and the Romanov Dynasty, he is a frequent contributor to television specials in the United States, Canada, and Britain
Penny Wilson is a historian who specializes in Russia's late Imperial period

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Perhaps no twentieth-century event has been as shrouded in enduring mystery and speculation as the massacre of Czar Nicholas and his family in Ekaterinburg, Siberia, in 1917. This riveting political and personal drama has been the subject of countless books, movies, documentaries, musical compositions, and Internet Web sites. The almost cultlike devotion to the Romanov legend and legacy has been fueled by the fact that the entire imperial family--including innocent children--were summarily executed by a regime purporting to usher in a new era of equality and morality. In an attempt to separate historical fact from sentimental fantasy, King and Wilson have taken advantage of the glut of documentation made available by the collapse of the Soviet Union, fashioning a comprehensive reexamination of the 78 days of the Ekaterinburg captivity, the murders themselves, and the 1991 exhumation of the bodies. Utilizing fresh information and cobbling together an abundance of primary and secondary source material, the authors engage in a complex game of historical detection that ultimately results in a controversial new perspective on an old but ever-captivating topic. --Margaret Flanagan Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The family members of Nicholas II, Russia's last tsar, were executed in July 1918, soon after the Bolshevik Revolution-and the speculation as to what exactly happened hasn't died out during the past 85 years. In this comprehensive volume of one of history's great intrigues, independent scholars King and Wilson stoke the flames of controversy with a creative theory: Lenin and the other Bolshevik rulers in Moscow didn't give the orders to kill the tsar's family, as has been believed. This wasn't out of any sympathy for Nicholas and his family-in fact, the authors point out that Lenin was perhaps the epitome of realpolitik, allowing little emotion in his political decisions. Using an intriguing reading of the Russian archives, the authors argue that Lenin preferred a trial to an execution for fear of antagonizing the Germans, whom he wanted to appease in order to consolidate his own grip on power. Instead, it was local Bolsheviks in Ekaterinburg, where the royal family was held, who made the decision to go ahead and execute Nicholas and his family. The executions were blamed on Lenin because it served as a convenient myth for those lamenting the fall of the Romanov dynasty. While the book is somewhat longer than necessary, those fascinated with the case will find it worthwhile. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Independent researchers King and Wilson cover all the issues concerning the last of the Romanovs, from the tsar's abdication to his canonization, supplemented by over 100 pages of an extensive bibliography, appendixes, index, and notes, all very useful. The authors' narrative is accessible to a wide readership, is professionally presented, and explains the many controversies. The genre of Romanov studies is inherently complex and controversial. This book, for example, debunks almost everything we thought we had learned about its topic since 1980. Oddly, in light of the authors' promise of new interpretations, we are left pretty much back where we were in Soviet times: Alexei and Anastasia are missing, Lenin is innocent, the Ural Bolsheviks did the deed, and the imperial family, while pitiable, was not worthy of the adulation subsequently heaped on their memory by right-wing, Orthodox, and antisemitic elements. On the other hand, the book is loaded with interesting factual information, and its presents an original study of the Romanovs' household servants. And the fate of the Romanovs? Apparently it was to become "all things to all people." For a different perspective, see Edvard Radzinsky's The Last Tsar (1993). ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. E. A. Cole Grand Valley State University

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Cast of Charactersp. 1
Introductionp. 10
Authors' Notep. 26
1 The Ruin of an Empirep. 28
2 A Traitor to the Revolutionp. 71
3 The House of Special Purposep. 103
4 "It Was Dreadful, What They Did ..."p. 129
5 The Seventy-eight Daysp. 154
6 Russia in Chaosp. 183
7 The First to Diep. 201
8 The June Conspiraciesp. 212
9 "A Happy Hour with the Grandest People in the World"p. 233
10 The Coming Storm: Enter Yurovskyp. 263
11 Murderous Intentionsp. 282
12 Gotterdammerungp. 296
13 The Four Brothersp. 316
14 Aftermathp. 332
15 The Investigationsp. 346
16 "Holy Relics of Our Saints"p. 368
17 Unearthing the Pastp. 381
18 "An Unknown Grave from the Soviet Period"p. 400
19 Bones of Contentionp. 417
20 "It's All Secret, All Political"p. 435
21 The Secret of Koptyaki Forestp. 458
22 "Drowned in This Mist of Holiness"p. 472
Epiloguep. 504
Appendix 1 Ekaterinburg Guardsp. 529
Appendix 2 Inventory of Romanov Possessions in Ekaterinburgp. 533
Appendix 3 The Romanovs' Jewelsp. 541
Acknowledgmentsp. 546
Notesp. 556
Bibliographyp. 619
Indexp. 634