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10 thoughts on “The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II

  1. says:

    I read this a long time ago, but had to pull it off the shelf for the book I m finishing writing Time Patrol Ides of March, because one of the six missions in my book is on 15 March 1917 The day Nicholas II abdicated This book is an extraordinarily detailed account of how the events unfolded Some don t believe the author s claim that the execution of the family was ordered by Siberian Bolsheviks, but new evidence supports that While I m focusing on only one day, and not even on the Tsar, but rather the Tsarina in the Alexander Palace with her four daughters and son, what really strikes me the I research, is how that abdication might be the most significant events of the 20th Century if you look at long term impact Even to this day It s definitely in the top 5 Also, while he focuses on the Tsar, I m fascinated with Rasputin s role via the Tsarina Actually, the icon that was supposedly on Rasputin s body, signed by the Tsarina and her four daughters has intrigued me No one seems to know where it ended up Which is, of course, fodder for fiction.If you want a detailed breakdown of the breakdown of Tsarist Russia, this a very worthwhile book.


  2. says:

    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 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.


  3. says:

    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 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, and he does show how life at the court of Russia, the influence of the empress, the errors of the tsar could only end in disaster, yet it s hard not to feel some kind of sympathy for the royal family especially for the children The horrific ending is narrated like a thriller and is mindboggling, even when one already knows what happened The book echoes the tragedy of a doomed family as well as the tragedy of an entire nation.


  4. says:

    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.


  5. says:

    A great follow up to Robert Massie s Nicholas and Alexandra It s written in a quirky Russian style, a bit difficult to get intobut ultimately it pays off handsomely by telling the story of the last days of the royal family from a decidedly Russian point of view.


  6. says:

    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 at the hand of the biographer She is petty, demanding, hysterical, Machiavellian and thoroughly Teutonic Radzinsky quite obviously points to her neurotic religiosity as the true nail in the coffin of Tsarist Russia If Nicholas displays poor political judgment, he is nonetheless a good human being The Tsarina, on the other hand, is prideful, sanctimonious and outrightly shrewish The Tsar truly loves her and, so much as it is possible for Alexandria, the love is reciprocated Her guilt at producing a hemophiliac heir leads her to the very edge of madness and Russia to the cusp of a long fomenting revolution Even though the story is familiar, this masterful biography originally written in Russian during the brief opening of the Cheka s extensive archives during Yeltsin s time of Perestroika is utterly absorbing It is Radzinksy s skill in recreating the hundreds of bit players in this court drama which makes it so compelling If you read only one book on the Russian revolution during your lifetime, make it this one You will appreciate what happened, why it happened, and how it was inevitable And, I might add, you will find yourself cheering when Nicholas abdicates, and weeping when the Royal Family is executed This is biography at its best.


  7. says:

    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 character of the last Tsar, who was a pious, religious, tender and loving person and father, but a shy and weak Tsar Unfortunately, Nicholas II came as a tsar to the throne of a wide empire upon the early and unexpected death of his father Unprepared, with the lack of experience, coupled with his gentle and shy personality led to his and his family s tragic end I loved so much reading the extracts from Tsar Nicholas II s diary and letters, and I loved his acceptance of the hard times God s will , ordeals, and severe fate, holding his cross with patience and humility The book shows that there are key qualities and characteristics a sovereign must have, as being a ruler or a sovereign is a highly demanding role that is filled with huge challenges and risks Moreover, the book shows the power of the situation on one s actions and behaviors, the impact of the social pressure, the cruelty of man to man, and man s strategies to cope with threat and challenges, and the impacts of one s beliefs on his behavior and actions Finally, it is a great book and a compelling reading.


  8. says:

    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.


  9. says:

    This book was filled with great facts and history but it was poorly written Even History books should keep our attention shouldn t they


  10. says:

    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 together as possible Although R.R Martin s doppelganger tended to price these things rather high, I scored plenty of great stuff including The File on the Tsar and Massie s Nicholas and Alexandra, both completely stuffed with newspaper clippings and magazine articles about the Romanovs.Tucked inside The File on the Tsar, between the endpaper and the back cover, I found a three page folded article from a 1992 issue of People magazine, a review of this book Well, of course I immediately set out to get it from the library, but it was still awhile before I got around to reading it I was not disappointed Not only is it one of the best books I ve ever read about Nicholas II, but it s the only one I m aware of actually written by a Russian was born in Moscow on September 23, 1936 It seems obvious he was deeply involved in the theater throughout his life, the son and son in law of playwrights and husband of an actress, and he is himself a playwright as well However, I hazard to say he is mainly known as a very popular author of history A historian by training, he has written some 40 books, including biographies of famous Russians that include a level of research English speaking writers have not been able to accomplish I have also read his The Rasputin File, and it was an eye opener His theatrical background helps him produce dramatic and highly readable material, and his Russian nativity gives him the ability to find and incorporate rare historical documents.I can tell you that most biographies of Nicholas II, being written by the fascinated English and skeptical Americans, simply repeat one another and a few haphazard translations of mid 20th century sources Not so with Mr Radzinsky His bibliography is a mass of Cyrillic primary sources.By a huge margin, The Last Tsar is the fairest portrayal of Nicholas II I have ever read, and fairness is the most important factor when it comes to Romanov biographies Also something that is very difficult for Americans or westerners to grasp, but Russia is part of the East They simply don t think according to the same pattern we do American biographers can look at this action of Nicholas , at this response of the people, at this situation that the government had to deal with, and they connect A to B and conclude C like any logical western thinker would.But in the old colloquialism, in the east, you can t get thar from here A doesn t wind up at C by way of B Maybe B is unrelated, and C turns out to be the result of D Romanov biographies are full of gross assumptions by westerners that this behavior was perceived as this that action was a reaction to that but Radzinsky applies his Russian brain to the source documentation and sets out the most likely state of affairs He becomes our bridge, explaining Russian cause and effect for us.In short, this biography has everything going for it Russian primary sources, Russian interpretation of Russian behaviors, and dramatic prose that brings it all to life The book itself, translated from Russian into English lest I belabor the obvious , is occasionally quirky in its word choice, but on the whole, this book is as exciting and readable as any novel with the extra spice of the fact that it s all true Despite the fact that it came out in the early 90s, it continues to hold up as the best and most complete Nicholas II biography available today.Thanks, whoever left that People book review in the copy of Nicholas and Alexandra I bought My life would not be complete without this biographical masterpiece.This review via Hundredaire Socialite


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