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The Romanovs: The Final Chapter: The Terrible Fate of Russia's last Tsar and his Family
 
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The Romanovs: The Final Chapter: The Terrible Fate of Russia's last Tsar and his Family [Format Kindle]

Robert K. Massie
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CHAPTER 1

Down Twenty-­three Steps

At midnight, Yakov Yurovsky, the leader of the executioners, came up the stairs to awaken the family. In his pocket he had a Colt pistol with a cartridge clip containing seven bullets, and under his coat he carried a long-­muzzled Mauser pistol with a wooden gun stock and a clip of ten bullets. A knock on the prisoners’ door brought Dr. Eugene Botkin, the family physician, who had remained with the Romanovs for sixteen months of detention and imprisonment. Botkin was already awake; he had been writing what turned out to be a last letter to his own family.

Quietly, Yurovsky explained his intrusion. “Because of unrest in the town, it has become necessary to move the family downstairs,” he said. “It would be dangerous to be in the upper rooms if there was shooting in the streets.” Botkin understood; an anti-­Bolshevik White Army bolstered by thousands of Czech former prisoners of war was approaching the Siberian town of Ekaterinburg, where the family had been held for seventy-­eight days. Already, the captives had heard the rumble of artillery in the distance and the sound of revolver shots fired nearby on recent nights. Yurovsky asked that the family dress as soon as possible. Botkin went to awaken them.

They took forty minutes. Nicholas, fifty, the former emperor, and his thirteen-­year-­old son, Alexis, the former tsarevich and heir to the throne, dressed in simple military shirts, trousers, boots, and forage caps. Alexandra, forty-­six, the former empress, and her daughters, Olga, twenty-two, Tatiana, twenty-­one, Marie, nineteen, and Anastasia, seventeen, put on dresses without hats or outer wraps. Yurovsky met them outside their door and led them down the staircase into an inner courtyard. Nicholas followed, carrying his son, who could not walk. Alexis, crippled by hemophilia, was a thin, muscular adolescent weighing eighty pounds, but the tsar managed without stumbling. A man of medium height, Nicholas had a powerful body, full chest, and strong arms. The empress, taller than her husband, came next, walking with difficulty because of the sciatica which had kept her lying on a palace chaise longue for many years and in bed or a wheelchair during their imprisonment. Behind came their daughters, two of them carrying small pillows. The youngest and smallest daughter, Anastasia, held her pet King Charles spaniel, Jemmy. After the daughters came Dr. Botkin and three others who had remained to share the family’s imprisonment: Trupp, Nicholas’s valet; Demidova, Alexandra’s maid; and Kharitonov, the cook. Demidova also clutched a pillow; inside, sewed deep into the feathers, was a box containing a collection of jewels; Demidova was charged with never letting it out of her sight.

Yurovsky detected no signs of hesitation or suspicion; “there were no tears, no sobs, no questions,” he said later. From the bottom of the stairs, he led them across the courtyard to a small, semibasement room at the corner of the house. It was only eleven by thirteen feet and had a single window, barred by a heavy iron grille on the outer wall. All the furniture had been removed. Here, Yurovsky asked them to wait. Alexandra, seeing the room empty, immediately said, “What? No chairs? May we not sit?” Yurovsky, obliging, went out to order two chairs. One of his squad, dispatched on this mission, said to another, “The heir needs a chair . . . evidently he wants to die in a chair.”

Two chairs were brought. Alexandra took one; Nicholas put Alexis in the other. The daughters placed one pillow behind their mother’s back and a second behind their brother’s. Yurovsky then began giving directions—­“Please, you stand here, and you here . . . that’s it, in a row”—­spreading them out across the back wall. He explained that he needed a photograph because people in Moscow were worried that they had escaped. When he was finished, the eleven prisoners were arranged in two rows: Nicholas stood by his son’s chair in the middle of the front row, Alexandra sat in her chair near the wall, her daughters were arranged behind her, the others stood behind the tsar and the tsarevich.

Satisfied by this arrangement, Yurovsky then called in not a photographer with a tripod camera and a black cloth but eleven other men armed with revolvers. Five, like Yurovsky, were Russians; six were Latvians. Earlier, two Latvians had refused to shoot the young women and Yurovsky had replaced them with two others.

As these men crowded through the double doors behind him, Yurovsky stood in front of Nicholas, his right hand in his trouser pocket, his left holding a small piece of paper from which he began to read: “In view of the fact that your relatives are continuing their attack on Soviet Russia, the Ural Executive Committee has decided to execute you.” Nicholas turned quickly to look at his family, then turned back to face Yurovsky and said, “What? What?” Yurovsky quickly repeated what he had said, then jerked the Colt out of his pocket and shot the tsar, point-­blank.

At this, the entire squad began to fire. Each had been told beforehand whom he was to shoot and ordered to aim for the heart to avoid excessive quantities of blood and finish more quickly. Twelve men were now firing pistols, some over the shoulders of those in front, so close that many of the executioners suffered gunpowder burns and were partially deafened. The empress and her daughter Olga each tried to make the sign of the cross but did not have time. Alexandra died immediately, sitting in her chair. Olga was killed by a single bullet through her head. Botkin, Trupp, and Kharitonov also died quickly.

Alexis, the three younger sisters, and Demidova remained alive. Bullets fired at the daughters’ chests seemed to bounce off, ricocheting around the room like hail. Mystified, then terrified and almost hysterical, the executioners continued firing. Barely visible through the smoke, Marie and Anastasia pressed against the wall, squatting, covering their heads with their arms until the bullets cut them down. Alexis, lying on the floor, moved his arm to shield himself, then tried to clutch his father’s shirt. One of the executioners kicked the tsarevich in the head with his heavy boot. Alexis moaned. Yurovsky stepped up and fired two shots from his Mauser directly into the boy’s ear.

Demidova survived the first fusillade. Rather than reload, the executioners took rifles from the next room and pursued her with bayonets. Screaming, running back and forth along the wall, she tried to fend them off with her armored pillow. The cushion fell, and she grabbed a bayonet with both hands, trying to hold it away from her chest. It was dull and at first would not penetrate. When she collapsed, the enraged murderers pierced her body more than thirty times.

The room, filled with smoke and the stench of gunpowder, became quiet. Blood was everywhere, in rivers and pools. Yurovsky, in a hurry, began turning the bodies over, checking their pulses. The truck, now waiting at the front door of the Ipatiev House, had to be well out of town before the arrival in a few hours of the July Siberian dawn. Sheets, collected from the beds of the four grand duchesses, were brought to carry the bodies and prevent blood dripping on the floors and in the courtyard. Nicholas’s body went first. Then, suddenly, as one of the daughters was being laid on a sheet, she cried out. With bayonets and rifle butts, the entire band turned on her. In a moment, she was still.

When the family lay in the back of the truck, covered by a tarpaulin, someone discovered Anastasia’s small dog, its head crushed by a rifle butt. This little body was tossed into the truck.

The “whole procedure,” as Yurovsky later described it, including feeling the pulses and loading the truck, had taken twenty minutes.



Two days before the executions, Yurovsky and one of the other executioners, Peter Ermakov, a local Bolshevik leader, had gone into the forest looking for a place to bury the bodies. About twelve miles north of Ekaterinburg, in an area of swamps, peat bogs, and abandoned mine shafts, there was a place known as the Four Brothers because four towering pine trees had once overlooked the site. Around the stumps of these old trees, and among the birches and pines which grew there now, were empty pits, some shallow, some deeper, from which coal and peat had once been dug. Abandoned, some had filled with rainwater and become small ponds. The largest of these, named after a peasant prospector, was called Ganin’s Pit. Nearby, other smaller, deeper mines were nameless. It was to this place that Yurovsky brought the bodies.

Already deep in the forest, jouncing through the darkness along a muddy, rutted road, Yurovsky’s truck suddenly encountered a party of twenty-­five men on horseback and in peasant carts. Most were drunk. They were factory workers from the town, some of them members of the new Ural Regional Soviet, tipped off by their comrade, Ermakov, that the Imperial family would be coming down that road. But they had expected to see the family alive; Ermakov had promised his friends the four grand duchesses as well as the thrill of killing the tsar. “Why didn’t you bring them alive?” they shouted.

Yurovsky, in control, calmed the angry men and ordered them to shift the bodies from the truck into the carts. In the process, the workers began stealing from the victims’ clothing and pockets. Yurovsky halted this by threatening an immediate firing squad. Not all of the bodies would fit into the small carts, and some remained on the truck; in tandem, this macabre procession continued into the forest.

In the darkness, surrounded by dense pines and birches, the party could not find the Four Brothers. Yurovsky sent horsemen up and down the road looking for the turnoff to the site. When the...

Revue de presse

“Masterful.”—The Washington Post Book World

“Riveting . . . unfolds like a detective story.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

“An admirable scientific thriller.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Compelling . . . a fascinating account.”—Chicago Tribune
 
“A masterpiece of investigative reporting.”—San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 6311 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 361 pages
  • Editeur : Head of Zeus (1 décembre 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00GW5GLL4
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Accrochez vous!! 22 avril 2014
Par MCM
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Malgré une construction assez étrange , et de longs chapitres sur la Reine Victoria ( certes doublement apparentée aux Romanovs,) ou des considérations pas vraiment passionnantes sur les rivalités entre branches survivantes de cette famille , ce livre nous apprend toutes sortes de choses aussi bouleversantes que fascinantes sur les dernières semaines de la famille inmpériale. Certaines images particulièrement hideuses de la nuit fatale, puis de la recherche et de la découverte des pauvres restes du Tsar Nicholas II, de la Tsarine et de leurs cinq enfants restent et resteront gravées dans ma mémoire .
Peu de livres sur la fin des Romanov et des quelques fidèles qui ne les ont pas quittés et ont donc subi le même sort qu'eux, étaient allés aussi loin dans des détails qui serrent le cœur.
Passionnante aussi l'enquête sur celle ( l'une de celles, et la plus connue) qui se fit passer- avec un succès certain- pour l'Archiduchesse Anastasia.
Même si des détails relevant de la pure technique ( recherche de l'ADN) sont parfois un peu... indigestes, cet ouvrage est un must pour quiconque s'est posé de multiples questions sur ce drame et ce qu'il en advint jusqu'à la prise de pouvoir par Boris Eltsin .
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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  129 commentaires
155 internautes sur 157 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Appropriate afterword for "Nicholas and Alexandra" 29 janvier 2003
Par Pete Agren - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I'm guessing that most people buying "The Romanovs: The Final Chapter" have already read Massie's "Nicholas and Alexandra" (first published in 1967) but if you haven't, I highly recommend it as "The Romanov's" is basically a final update to the family's tragic tale. Also, Massie's first book on Russia's last Tsar will make this book more personal to the reader as one gets a sentimental appreciation of who Nicholas and his family were from "Nicholas and Alexandra."
This book is far different than Massie's other historical epics as he takes on the role of an investigative journalist rather than a historian. Massie is on the front-lines, from DNA labs to court rooms, searching for a final answer as to whose skeletons were unearthed by an Ekaterinburg resident in the late 70's.
Massie leaves the reader with a plethora of factual information that all but ends one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century. Using DNA tests, Massie proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Russia's royal family and servants are the ones that were buried beneath the road outside Ekaterinburg. He also proves beyond a reasonable doubt, that Anna Anderson, who was the 20th century's greatest con artist, was not Anastasia, Tsarevna of Russia, but a mere Polish peasant.
With all the crime solving, the book at times gets bogged down into quotes, lengthy (but pertinent) explanations of scientific facts and petty arguments between scientists and lawyers, which limits Massie's masterful writing-style to a minimum. After reading all his books, the only sections that come close to capturing his colorful and accomplished style of prose are the first and last chapters.
That said, I'm very glad Massie was the one to tell the Tsar's final story and I highly recommend it to any reader of "Nicholas and Alexandra."
Here's a few items of note:
- A previous reviewer said that Massie does not explain what happened to the last two bodies, presumably of Alexei and either Anastasia or Marie, but in fact, Massie does with quotes of Yurovsky's writings on page 31 and again on page 68. By burning the two bodies and spreading the ashes and embers around, their remains were not preserved like the remaining nine bodies by being entombed in clay, so the final two missing family members in all likelihood will never be found. Another reviewer wished they had a family tree to keep the Romanovs straight. In my edition of "Nicholas and Alexandra", there is a family tree that shows all of Nicholas II's brothers and sister and one could make a photo copy from that book and add in all the nephews, nieces, cousins, etc.
- Also, since this book was published in 1995, a few things have happened in Russia regarding the Romanovs. On July 17, 1998, Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra, three of their children and four family servants were buried in the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg. The Russian Orthodox Church still questions the legitimacy of the bones as being the Tsar but the church did partake in the funeral march and burial. In a poll taken at the time, only 47 percent of Russians believed they remains were of Nicholas II and his family. And in 2001, the Dowager Empress Marie Fedorovna, was exhumed in Denmark and reburied alongside her husband, Tsar Alexander III, in the same cathedral.
53 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Nobody does the Romanovs better than Massie 26 août 2003
Par Cynthia K. Robertson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Nicholas and Alexandra is the definitive book about the last rulers of Russia, and Robert Massie's The Romanov's: The Final Chapter is a fitting sequel to this venerable book. N & A ends with the execution of Nicholas and his family, but we discover in The Final Chapter that much has happened since the original was published in 1967. Lots of new information has become available due to perestroika, the fall of the Soviet Union, the opning of many long-sealed records and archives, and a renewed interest in the monarchy. All of these changes make us realize that there are many more chapters to the Romanov story, and this book is filled with mystery, tragedy, science, bickering, intrique, and above all, a profound sadness.
We read about the discovery of the Romanov remains and how and why this was kept secret for so long. We learn about the DNA testing to determine the authenticity of the remains and the subsequent fighting over that. Of course, there is the problem of the two missing skeletons and the controversy this causes. We are introduced to a number of Romanov imposters including Anna Anderson. We learn about the fates of the true surviving Romanov's and their battle over who should be claimant to the throne. We also are informed of the destruction of the Ipatiev House by Brezhnev so that it wouldn't become a monarchist shrine. And finally, we hear about the rumors of a vast Romanov fortune that is supposed to be in foreign banks and has never been found.
Since this book has been published, the Romanov remains have finally been reburied in St. Petersburg. But even this could not be accomplished without the bickering of the surviving Romanov's (as characterized in The Final Chapter). Some of them even boycotted the event. It is not always a pretty story.
The Final Chapter is also filled with fascinating tidbits of information. For instance, Prince Philip (husband of Queen Elizabeth) provided blood samples for DNA analysis as his grandmother was the Empress Alexandra's older sister.
All in all, this is a fabulous book! Those who expect this to be a boring, dry history will be pleasantly surprised. No author has told the Romanov story with as much style, passion and completeness as Robert Massie. It is no wonder that the story of Nicholas and Alexandra refuses to die, and why new generations of readers become enthralled with this tragic story--even 85 years after their deaths.
27 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Technical and yet easy to read, a compelling true story 20 octobre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Massie relates two fascinating stories: the first involves finding the remains of the family of Russia's last Czar, and the second recounts the assertion of Anna Andersen to be the Czar's youngest daughter, Anastasia.
In order to find the remains, layers of lies and bureaucracy must be untangled. Once unearthed, the task of identifying the bodies becomes a test of both science and diplomacy.
The question of whether Anastasia survived the Russian Revolution proves to be fiercely debated. Personalities from all over the globe are involved in the discussion. Massie relates the various positions in an even-handed fashion and brings compelling scientific evidence to bear.
The final chapter of the Romanovs proves that non-fiction can be more spellbinding than fiction. A must-read for anyone interested in Russia, forensic science, or well-crafted non-fiction. I liked Massie's _Nicholas and Alexandra_, but I LOVED this book.
28 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A "sequel" that addresses three issues of the Romanovs 22 février 2005
Par Raul Vasquez - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Robert K. Massie does it again by writing a superb "sequel" to his 1967 historical account "Nicholas and Alexandra". The book "The Romanovs: The Final Chapter" was written in response to the affirmation of the discoveries of the bones of the Romanov family. The book is divided into two parts. The first part addresses the discovery and verification of the bones. The discovery of the bones had after all, led to several debates. One debate naturally dealt with the authenticity of the bones. Along those lines there had arisen a rivalry between the various scientists that tested the authenticity of the bones. Furthermore there was a question as to whether the Russian Orthodox Church would recognize the remains of the Romanov family and thus give them a fitting burial. It was eventually through various tests, that the remains of nine people were proven to be in fact the royal family. However the final problem was that the remains of Alexei the heir to the throne and that of one of his youngest sisters were still missing. But scientists were also unsure which sister it was that was still missing. Most scientists believed that it was the youngest daughter Anastasia. There were nonetheless a substantial amount of scientists who concurred that it was Maria and not Anastasia who was missing. Finally there were questions as to the whereabouts of the remains of the two children regardless of their identity. It is from here that the second part of the book begins: The Pretenders.

The second half of the book mainly addresses the claims of Anna Anderson, the alleged surviving Grand Duchess who was better known as Anastasia. R.K. Massie goes through the pains of briefly recounting the life of Anna Anderson from her attempted suicide to the time of her death over fifty years later. Although there were many people who would claim to be a surviving member of the royal family, none would ever achieve the level of notoriety of Anna Anderson, who ultimately was proven to being a fraud through DNA testing after her death. It was through the claims of Anna Anderson that Hollywood took liberties in making full use of the legend of Anastasia and thus produced at least two well-known films on the subject. The films were the 1956 movie starring Ingrid Bergman (in which she won a Oscar for the title role) and the 1997 cartoon feature with the same title. While the popularity of the two films has served to make the legend of Anastasia mainstream, they have also further distorted the aftermath of the Romanov dynasty. It is thus fair to say that Massie's latest book serves to set the record straight and remove any belief in Anna Anderson's claims of royal lineage.

Finally R.K. Massie briefly addresses the various squabbles among the descendants of the Romanov family as to the issue of who is presently the legitimate head of the family. It is this last section of the book that many reviewers (myself included) find to be tiresome and superfluous. It is unfortunate that this final section of the book can really ruin its overall appraisal. Nonetheless I highly recommend the book not only for its subject matter but also for Robert K. Massie's fluid and engaging writing style. Robert K. Massie is after all not a historian, but a journalist and therefore he is capable of writing to the common reader. "The Romanovs: The Final Chapter" is in short a book worthy of its predecessor "Nicholas and Alexandra" and therefore it is a must-read.
19 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 AN EXHAUSTIVE STUDY OF AN EXHAUSTED DYNASTY. 11 janvier 1997
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
The book has some good, interesting narrative but it is
buried between sections that were not so interesting. The
first three chapters deal with the death of Tsar Nicholas
II and his family, the disposition of their remains, and
their discovery in 1979. So far, so good. Next comes nine
chapters of how the remains were identified, political
wrangling over who could do what with them, DNA testing, and
final interment of the remains. If you look selectively
in these chapters, you can find some interesting things.
Part II, which deals principally with the woman Anna
Anderson, who claimed to be Princess Anastasia, is arguably
the most interesting part of the book, although, again, you
have to slog through much detail to find much of interest.
The book concludes with a study of the remaining members
of the Romanov royal dynasty, and the internecine squabbles
afflicting that once-proud line. A true study in elitism.
Unless you're really keen on Romanov history, especially
modern Romanov history, you might want to try something
more exciting.
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