From Publishers Weekly
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.
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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 FlanaganCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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