The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia

by Candace Fleming

Candace Fleming’s primary focus in this ambitious and compelling work is the... read more

Candace Fleming’s primary focus in this ambitious and compelling work is the story of the Romanov family’s rule of Russia at the start of the twentieth century, including their fall from power and eventual murder. But she provides essential counterpoint and context by weaving in voices of peasants and workers in Russia at the time, stories that describe the widespread poverty, horrifying anti-Semitism, and rising political tensions both within and beyond the vast nation’s borders. The Romanovs were a family of absolute wealth and privilege. Tsar Nicholas was a devoted family man and not without compassion, but it was selective and limited. He was ill-prepared, misguided, and uninformed in his role as Tsar, and didn’t want to know the details of the lives of the country’s citizens. Alexandra, his wife, was intelligent and powerful but also desperate to ease the suffering of her son, Alexei, a hemophiliac. As World War I escalated, Nicholas abdicated almost all responsibility to Alexandra, the Communists seized control, the Bolsheviks took command under Lenin, and the family became prisoners and were eventually executed. Full of intrigue, Fleming’s narrative is also written with intricate and often moving detail. The children of Nicholas and Alexandra — Alexei and his sisters, including Anastasia — become familiar, even if they aren’t always likable. This is part of what makes the book so remarkable: It is full of the complexity of human behavior. Actions may often be easy to label right or wrong, but individuals are contradictory and infuriating and poignant. Sections of black-and-white photographs further illuminate the lives of both rich and poor. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2015

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