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The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia Hardcover – July 8, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 675 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

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

From Booklist

*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. Grades 9-12. --Michael Cart
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Anne Schwartz Books; Illustrated edition (July 8, 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0375867821
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0375867828
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 12 - 17 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 950L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 7 - 9
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.23 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.44 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 675 ratings

About the author

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I have always been a storyteller. Even before I could write my name, I could tell a good tale. And I told them all the time. As a preschooler, I told my neighbors all about my three-legged cat named Spot. In kindergarten, I told my classmates about the ghost that lived in my attic. And in first grade I told my teacher, Miss Harbart, all about my family's trip to Paris, France.

I told such a good story that people always thought I was telling the truth. But I wasn't. I didn't have a three-legged cat or a ghost in my attic, and I'd certainly never been to Paris, France. I simply enjoyed telling a good story... and seeing my listener's reaction.

Sure, some people might have said I was a seven-year old fibber. But not my parents. Instead of calling my stories "fibs" they called them "imaginative." They encouraged me to put my stories down on paper. I did. And amazingly, once I began writing, I couldn't stop. I filled notebook after notebook with stories, poems, plays. I still have many of those notebooks. They're precious to me because they are a record of my writing life from elementary school on.

In second grade, I discovered a passion for language. I can still remember the day my teacher, Miss Johnson, held up a horn-shaped basket filled with papier-mache pumpkins and asked the class to repeat the word "cornucopia." I said it again and again, tasted the word on my lips. I tested it on my ears. That afternoon, I skipped all the way home from school chanting, "Cornucopia! Cornucopia!" From then on, I really began listening to words--to the sounds they made, and the way they were used, and how they made me feel. I longed to put them together in ways that were beautiful, and yet told a story.

As I grew, I continued to write stories. But I never really thought of becoming an author. Instead, I went to college where I discovered yet another passion--history. I didn't realize it then, but studying history is really just an extension of my love of stories. After all, some of the best stories are true ones -- tales of heroism and villainy made more incredible by the fact they really happened.

After graduation, I got married and had children. I read to them a lot, and that's when I discovered the joy and music of children's books. I simply couldn't get enough of them. With my two sons in tow, I made endless trips to the library. I read stacks of books. I found myself begging, "Just one more, pleeeeease!" while my boys begged for lights-out and sleep. Then it struck me. Why not write children's books? It seemed the perfect way to combine all the things I loved: stories, musical language, history, and reading. I couldn't wait to get started.

But writing children's books is harder than it looks. For three years I wrote story after story. I sent them to publisher after publisher. And I received rejection letter after rejection letter. Still, I didn't give up. I kept trying until finally one of my stories was pulled from the slush pile and turned into a book. My career as a children's author had begun.

For more information visit my website: www.candacefleming.com.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
675 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 22, 2014
40 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 22, 2023
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 25, 2014
2 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Camel's Toe
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to put down
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 4, 2021
Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic ending to many innocent people that could EASILY have been avoided.
Reviewed in Australia 🇦🇺 on March 9, 2021
Nick Jasper
1.0 out of 5 stars The author's hatred of the tsar and his family is repulsive. One of the worst Romanov books ever written!
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on October 24, 2014
5 people found this helpful
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Cher
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done!
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on March 10, 2020
Judy Lorenz
5.0 out of 5 stars more like the true story
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on August 1, 2014