Cover image for The family Romanov : murder, rebellion & the fall of Imperial Russia
The family Romanov : murder, rebellion & the fall of Imperial Russia
Fleming, Candace, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Schwartz & Wade Books, [2014]
Physical Description:
292 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps, genealogical table ; 25 cm
From the acclaimed author of Amelia Lost and The Lincolns comes a heartrending narrative nonfiction page-turner--and a perfect resource for meeting Common Core standards. When Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, inherited the throne in 1894, he was unprepared to do so. With their four daughters (including Anastasia) and only son, a hemophiliac, Nicholas and his reclusive wife, Alexandra, buried their heads in the sand, living a life of opulence as World War I raged outside their door and political unrest grew into the Russian Revolution. Deftly maneuvering between the lives of the Romanovs and the plight of Russia's peasants and urban workers--and their eventual uprising--Fleming offers up a fascinating portrait, complete with inserts featuring period photographs and compelling primary-source material that brings it all to life.
Before you begin -- Russia 1903 -- Beyond the palace gates: peasant turned worker -- Before the storm -- "I dreamed that I was loved" -- Beyond the palace gates: a peasant boyhood -- "What a disappointment!" -- Beyond the palace gates: lullabies for peasant babies -- "A small family circle" -- Beyond the palace gates: another family circle -- Dark clouds gathering -- The year of nightmares -- Lenin, the Duma, and a mystic named Rasputin -- Beyond the palace gates: house no. 13 -- "Pig and filth" and family fun -- Beyond the palace gates: an occupation for workers' daughters -- Gathering clouds -- Three centuries of Romanovs -- Beyond the palace gates: a different kind of education for a different kind of boy -- The storm breaks -- "My God! My God! What madness!" -- In defense of mother Russia -- Beyond the palace gates: Vasily's diary -- The reign of Rasputin -- It all comes tumbling down -- Beyond the palace gates: molecule in a storm -- "Ye tyrants quake, your day is over" -- Beyond the palace gates: "ye tyrants quake, your day is over" -- Final days -- "Survivors of a shipwreck" -- Beyond the palace gates: the "Tsar's surprise party" -- Into Siberia -- Beyond the palace gates: swarming the palace -- The house of special purpose -- Deadly intent -- "The world will never know what has become of them" -- Beyond the palace gates: life under Lenin.
Reading Level:
Young adult

950 Lexile
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader 7.2

Accelerated Reader AR MG+ 7.2 12.0 167384.

Reading Counts RC High School 7.4 17 Quiz: 64123.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Audubon Library DK258 .F5725 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
Clarence Library DK258 .F5725 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library DK258 .F5725 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library DK258 .F5725 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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"[A] superb history.... In these thrilling, highly readable pages, we meet Rasputin, the shaggy, lecherous mystic...; we visit the gilded ballrooms of the doomed aristocracy; and we pause in the sickroom of little Alexei, the hemophiliac heir who, with his parents and four sisters, would be murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918." -- The Wall Street Journal

Here is the tumultuous, heartrending, true story of the Romanovs--at once an intimate portrait of Russia's last royal family and a gripping account of its undoing. Using captivating photos and compelling first person accounts, award-winning author Candace Fleming ( Amelia Lost ; The Lincolns ) deftly maneuvers between the imperial family's extravagant lives and the plight of Russia's poor masses, making this an utterly mesmerizing read as well as a perfect resource for meeting Common Core standards.

"An exhilarating narrative history of a doomed and clueless family and empire." --Jim Murphy, author of Newbery Honor Books An American Plague and The Great Fire

"For readers who regard history as dull, Fleming's extraordinary book is proof positive that, on the contrary, it is endlessly fascinating, absorbing as any novel, and the stuff of an altogether memorable reading experience." -- Booklist, Starred

"Marrying the intimate family portrait of Heiligman's Charles and Emma with the politics and intrigue of Sheinkin's Bomb , Fleming has outdone herself with this riveting work of narrative nonfiction that appeals to the imagination as much as the intellect." -- The Horn Book , Starred

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature
Winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction
A Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
A YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Finalist
Winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction

Author Notes

Candace Fleming is the prolific and highly acclaimed author of numerous books for young adults and children, including the nonfiction titles The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary, winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction; Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, a New York Times Notable Children's Book of the Year; and The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P. T. Barnum, an ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults. She lives in Oak Park, Illinois. Visit her at

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* History comes to vivid life in Fleming's sweeping story of the dramatic decline and fall of the House of Romanov. Her account provides not only intimate portraits of Tsar Nicholas; his wife, Alexandra; and the five Romanov children, but it also offers a beautifully realized examination of the context of their lives Russia in a state of increasing social unrest and turmoil. The latter aspect is shown in part through generous excerpts from letters, diaries, memoirs, and more that are seamlessly interspersed throughout the narrative. All underscore the incredible disparity between the glittering lives of the Romanovs and the desperately impoverished ones of the peasant population. Instead of attempting to reform this, Nicholas simply refused to acknowledge its presence, rousing himself only long enough to order savage repression of the occasional uprising. Fleming shows that the hapless tsar was ill equipped to discharge his duties, increasingly relying on Alexandra for guidance; unfortunately, at the same time, she was increasingly reliant on the counsel of the evil monk Rasputin. The end, when it came, was swift and for the Romanovs, who were brutally murdered terrible. Compulsively readable, Fleming's artful work of narrative history is splendidly researched and documented. For readers who regard history as dull, Fleming's extraordinary book is proof positive that, on the contrary, it is endlessly fascinating, absorbing as any novel, and the stuff of an altogether memorable reading experience.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Making vibrant use of primary sources that emerged since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Fleming (Amelia Lost) brings to life the last imperial family of Russia. Writing with a strong point of view based on diary entries, personal letters, and other firsthand accounts, she enriches their well-known story with vivid details. The narrative begins in February 1903 (with some flashbacks to the meeting of tsar Nicholas and German-born tsarina Alexandra) and also features primary sources from peasants and factory workers-including an excerpt from Maxim Gorky's 1913 memoir-that help to affectingly trace the increasingly deplorable conditions and growing discontent that led to the Russian Revolution; key figures such as Rasputin and Lenin are profiled in some depth. Fleming's fulsome portraits of Nicholas and Alexandra, along with her depiction of their devoted relationship, highlight the role their personalities played in their downfall, as well as that of their beloved country. A wonderful introduction to this era in Russian history and a great read for those already familiar with it. Ages 12-up. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-The tragic Romanovs, last imperial family of Russia, have long held tremendous fascination. The interest generated by this family is intense, from debates about Duchess Anastasia and her survival to the discovery of their pathetic mass graves. A significant number of post-Glasnost Russian citizens consider the Romanovs holy to the extent that the Russian Orthodox Church has canonized them. This well-researched and well-annotated book provides information not only on the history of these famous figures but also on the Russian people living at the time and on the social conditions that contributed to the family's demise. The narrative alternates between a straightforward recounting of the Romanovs' lives and primary source narratives of peasants' lives. The contrast is compelling and enhances understanding of how the divide between the extremely rich and the very poor can lead directly to violent and dramatic political change. While the description and snippets on the serfs and factory workers are workmanlike, the pictures painted of the reclusive and insular Romanovs is striking. Unsuited to the positions in which they found themselves, Nicholas and Alexandra raised their children in a bubble, inadequately educating them and providing them only slight exposure to society. The informative text illuminates their inability to understand the social conditions in Russia and the impact it might have had on them. This is both a sobering work, and the account of the discovery of their bones and the aftermath is at once fascinating and distressing. A solid resource and good recreational reading for high school students.-Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Before You Beginp. vii
Russia, 1903p. 1
Beyond the Palace Gates: Peasant Turned Workerp. 11
Part 1 Before the Storm
Chapter 1 "I Dreamed That I Was Loved"p. 17
Beyond the Palace Gates: A Peasant Boyhoodp. 23
Chapter 2 "What a Disappointment!"p. 35
Beyond the Palace Gates: Lullabies for Peasant Babiesp. 40
Chapter 3 "A Small Family Circle"p. 45
Beyond the Palace Gates: Another Family Circlep. 48
Part 2 Dark Clouds Gathering
Chapter 4 The Year of Nightmaresp. 59
Chapter 5 Lenin, the Duma, and a Mystic Named Rasputinp. 68
Beyond the Palace Gates: House No. 13p. 71
Chapter 6 "Pig and Filth" and Family Funp. 88
Beyond the Palace Gates: An Occupation for Workers' Daughtersp. 96
Chapter 7 Gathering Cloudsp. 100
Chapter 8 Three Centuries of Romanovsp. 113
Beyond the Palace Gates: A Different Kind of Education for a Different Kind of Boyp. 120
Part 3 The Storm Breaks
Chapter 9 "My God! My God! What Madness!"p. 125
Chapter 10 In Defense of Mother Russiap. 133
Beyond the Palace Gates: Vasily's Diaryp. 135
Chapter 11 "The Reign of Rasputin"p. 146
Chapter 12 It All Comes Tumbling Downp. 156
Beyond the Palace Gates: Molecule in a Stormp. 168
Chapter 13 "Ye Tyrants Quake, Your Day Is Over"p. 170
Beyond the Palace Gates: "Ye Tyrants Quake, Your Day Is Over"p. 177
Part 4 Final Days
Chapter 14 "Survivors of a Shipwreck"p. 181
Beyond the Palace Gates: The "Tsar's Surprise Party"p. 192
Chapter 15 Into Siberiap. 196
Beyond the Palace Gates: Swarming the Palacep. 202
Chapter 16 The House of Special Purposep. 215
Chapter 17 Deadly Intentp. 227
Chapter 18 "The World Will Never Know What Has Become of Them"p. 241
Beyond the Palace Gates: Life Under Leninp. 247
Acknowledgmentsp. 255
Bibliographyp. 256
The Romanovs Onlinep. 266
Notesp. 267
Indexp. 288

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