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Review After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport–UPDATED

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My Interest

First, thank you to NetGalley for giving me a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

I started reading on the Romanov’s with Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert Massie in 1977. It’s a given that I’ll at least skim just about any book with their name in it. Plus, this one was a book I agreed to review on Netgalley and forgot about, so I needed to get that done.

The Story

There are two major stories here–what happened to some of the surviving Romanovs after Yekaterinburg and what happened to other, mostly aristocratic or otherwise high-ranking Russians who escaped Russia after the Bolsheviks came to power, the Civil War started, etc. The term “White Russians,” or those who were either pro-Tzar or just anti-Communist, is a generic term for most of them. It refers to the side they were on in the Civil War, not to race or ethnicity. The other story is various writers, dancers, artists and others in Paris at the time. Hemingway even gets a mention.

My Thoughts

Of all the author’s work, this to me is her weakest. Throwing names around about artists, then discussing Russian authors of the period who are barely known today just wasn’t that interesting to me. I DID however, LOVE reading how several aristocrats came to earn their living–especially the women and how various Romanovs ended up. I also found it fascinating that parts of regiments stayed together in exile, working together in French car factories! I also found it very interesting to see how the former aristocracy came to terms with their reduced circumstances. Attitude is everything and some just plain got on with life. I admire that. To me, this was the story–forget Hemingway and a few others. The artist or writer stories lack the sureness and polish of her Romanov chapters. Her gift is in writing social history as it relates to the Imperial Family.

My Verdict

3.5

After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport

9 thoughts on “Review After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport–UPDATED

  1. Sorry this wasn’t a complete success. The thread on the authors, artists etc who ended up in Paris interests me because reading a bit of background on Gaito Gazdanov when reading An Evening With Claire a couple of months ago, I first came across this as Gazdanov wasamong these so that would be something I’d be interested in exploring further.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this – I’m glad you enjoyed parts of it. I don’t know a lot about this period of Russian history – I think I would need to study it a bit before I started this one. Good luck with your nonfiction challenge!

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