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The Last Grand Duchess: Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, 1 June 1882-24 November 1960 [Paperback]

Ian Vorres
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Format:Paperback
There are many books written about the Romanovs. Some of these are written by people who knew them as friends or as servants. There are very few books written about the Romanovs with permission of the Romanovs. Ian Vorres befriended the youngest sister of Tsar Nicholas II and was able to, with her permission, write her life story. Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna was fortunate along with her Mother, Empress Maria Fedorovna and her older sister Grand Duchess Xiena Alexandrovna to escape Russia after the revolution. Only a family member could know what it was like to be a Romanov and the joys and tragedies the family experienced. The Grand Duchess gave Vorres detailed information about her early years growing up at Gatchina Palace with her parents, Tsar Alexander III and Tsarina Maria and other private family information. She also has provided information about the family attitude to the fake Anastasia, Anna Anderson. It is truly incomprehensible for an Aunt to not to be able to recognise her neice. Grand Duchess Olga knew that Anderson was not her neice and was indeed a pathetic fraud. It is truly fascinating book which reveals how the mighty Romanovs fell and how few survived. The Grand Duchess explained to Vorres the life she lived after the revolution until her death in 1960. Vorres is basically the scribe of Grand Duchess Olga. I found it very interesting and a rare gem. I would say it is a must for anybody interested in the Romanov dynasty.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare First Person Account Oct. 26 2001
Format:Paperback
I'm very glad to see The Last Grand Duchess in print once again. (It was originally published in the mid 1960s). This is the memoir/biography of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, youngest daughter of Tsar Alexander III and sister of Tsar Nicholas II. She lived through and witnessed a tumultuous era in Russian and world history, having been born in 1882 and living until 1960. She was born to enormous wealth in a palace and died in poverty in an apartment above a barber shop. In her final years in Canada Grand Duchess Olga became friends with the author, Ian Vorres, and agreed to allow him to publish her reminiscences. Vorres did an excellent job of preserving the Grand Duchess's voice and opinions while grounding them in as much historical research as possible.
Olga Alexandrovna was not a brilliant or well educated woman. Her voice is that of a woman caught on the wrong side of history who suffered much tragic loss. She is understandably sympathetic to Imperial Russia and blind to its shortcomings. Nevertheless, the reader will find little bitterness in her story.
Olga was an individualist who enjoyed painting and a quiet country life. She endured nearly twenty years of a mockery of a marriage her mother forced her into, then found happiness as the wife of an ordinary Russian officer. Her second marriage caused her to become something of an outcast among her fellow Romanovs in exile, but she willingly gave up their society for the life of a simple country wife and mother, first in Denmark and later in Canada.
The most valuable parts of the book today are Olga's memories of her brother Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, and their five children.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional writing!! Jan. 15 2002
Format:Paperback
This is one of the finest books I have read from the Romanov treasury. I have a first edition copy that took me almost a year to find and it was worth the wait. Because of Mr. Vorres research and interview skills combined the the story telling of the Grand Duchess, I was unable to put it down. In fact, I am reading it for a second time. There is no better story than that from the one who lives it. Olga was a cut above the others in the Imperial family in that she was devoted to common folk. She is revered and respected for thinking outside the box. A woman ahead of her time and one that refused to abide by the norm. I wish I could have met her in the simplest of circumstances. I recommend this book to those who a truly interested in Romanov history. She does a great justice in defense of her family.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional writing!! Jan. 15 2002
Format:Paperback
This is one of the finest books I have read from the Romanov treasury. I have a first edition copy that took me almost a year to find and it was worth the wait. Because of Mr. Vorres research and interview skills combined the the story telling of the Grand Duchess, I was unable to put it down. In fact, I am reading it for a second time. There is no better story than that from the one who lives it. Olga was a cut above the others in the Imperial family in that she was devoted to common folk. She is revered and respected for thinking outside the box. A woman ahead of her time and one that refused to abide by the norm. I wish I could have met her in the simplest of circumstances. I recommend this book to those who a truly interested in Romanov history. She does a great justice in defense of her family.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Meet Olga Alexandrovna Romanova... May 12 2002
Format:Paperback
This is a wonderful book, written in direct cooperation with the Grand Duchess herself. Born into the purple as the daughter of a Tsar, Olga Alexandrovna ended her life as she had always sought to live it - simply, and with family. Her insights, and the author's, are a wonderful portal to an era of an almost-mythical past. Though this new edition has many errors, I think it's due to sloppy editing of computer scans. I hope that next time around, these errors will be fixed.
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