Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Romanov Family

If I wasn't obsessed with Tudor England, I would be obsessed with the Romanovs.  There is just something about the tragedy that's always drawn me to them, and thus I've read a number of both fiction and non-fiction book on the subject.

Not quite the number of books I've read on Tudor England, but enough that I'm probably not going to have to Google much more than the spelling of their names for this post.  In case you have been ignoring everything about history ever for the past hundred years, the Romanov family were the last ruling family of Russia before the Communists came in and took over it.

Their end was tragic and, to be honest, really unnecessary, but it happened.  This week we're reading The Kitchen Boy, which is a fictional retelling of the last days of the Romonov Family.

A few things you should know about what was going on in Russia circa 1900s.  Everyone was incredibly poor and hungry and Nicholas II (The Tsar and ruler of Russia) had absolutely no
idea how to run a country.  I mean, the man just didn't.  His father died much sooner than everyone anticipated, kind of leaving Nicholas without first teaching him HOW to run a country.  Everyone figured they had more time.

Then he went and married Alexandra who had even LESS of an idea on how to run a country, and you could see where it would all go downhill.  I'm not going to get into the details about how they ran the country, who was broke and starving, into the ground, but let's just say the big catalyst was Rasputin.  Nicholas went to go control the troops at the front during WWI (HUGE disaster.) and Alexandra let and religious fanatic run the country (bigger disaster.)

Nicholas and Alexandra had five children, four daughters and one youngest son who suffered from hemophilia.  However, this was an incredibly closely guarded secreted.  It was feared if the public knew that their one heir was weak and sickly, it would weaken their position on the throne.

Of course they were captured, kept in a house for months on end, and, finally, on the 17th of July, 1918, the Tsar and his family were marched into the basement of a small home.  They were made to stand like they were going to take a photo.  And they were all shot in cold blood.

There were always rumors that one daughter survived because the son and one daughter's body were never found.  And our book this week is centered around the idea of what happened to the last two bodies.

Also, back in the 1920s, a woman named Anna Anderson claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia.  She was probably the most famous imposter.  Many movies have been made on Anastatsia and lots of literature about a surviving child.

In 2007, Alexi and Maria, the last two bodies of the Romanov family, were actually discovered, finally completing the mystery of the family.

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