Secret Lives of the Tsars: Three Centuries of Autocracy, Debauchery, Betrayal, Murder, and Madness from Romanov Russia

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Secret Lives of the Tsars: Three Centuries of Autocracy, Debauchery, Betrayal, Murder, and Madness from Romanov Russia

by Michael Farquhar

Random House Publishing Group | July 8, 2014 | Trade Paperback

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"Michael Farquhar doesn't write about history the way, say, Doris Kearns Goodwin does. He writes about history the way Doris Kearns Goodwin's smart-ass, reprobate kid brother might. I, for one, prefer it."-Gene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Washington Post columnist
 
Scandal! Intrigue! Cossacks! Here the world's most engaging royal historian chronicles the world's most fascinating imperial dynasty: the Romanovs, whose three-hundred-year reign was remarkable for its shocking violence, spectacular excess, and unimaginable venality. In this incredibly entertaining history, Michael Farquhar collects the best, most captivating true tales of Romanov iniquity. We meet Catherine the Great, with her endless parade of virile young lovers (none of them of the equine variety); her unhinged son, Paul I, who ordered the bones of one of his mother's paramours dug out of its grave and tossed into a gorge; and Grigori Rasputin, the "Mad Monk," whose mesmeric domination of the last of the Romanov tsars helped lead to the monarchy's undoing. From Peter the Great's penchant for personally beheading his recalcitrant subjects (he kept the severed head of one of his mistresses pickled in alcohol) to Nicholas and Alexandra's brutal demise at the hands of the Bolsheviks, Secret Lives of the Tsars captures all the splendor and infamy that was Imperial Russia.

Praise for Secret Lives of the Tsars
 
"An accessible, exciting narrative . . . Highly recommended for generalists interested in Russian history and those who enjoy the seamier side of past lives."-Library Journal (starred review)

"An excellent condensed version of Russian history . . . a fine tale of history and scandal . . . sure to please general readers and monarchy buffs alike."-Publishers Weekly
 
"Tales from the nasty lives of global royalty . . . an easy-reading, lightweight history lesson."-Kirkus Reviews

"Readers of this book may get a sense of why Russians are so tolerant of tyrants like Stalin and Putin. Given their history, it probably seems normal."-The Washington Post

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 368 pages, 7.97 × 5.13 × 0.75 in

Published: July 8, 2014

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0812979052

ISBN - 13: 9780812979053

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– More About This Product –

Secret Lives of the Tsars: Three Centuries of Autocracy, Debauchery, Betrayal, Murder, and Madness from Romanov Russia

by Michael Farquhar

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 368 pages, 7.97 × 5.13 × 0.75 in

Published: July 8, 2014

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0812979052

ISBN - 13: 9780812979053

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 Ivan V and Peter I (1682–1696): One Autocrat Too Many A princess endowed with all the accomplishments of body and mind to perfection, had it not been for her boundless ambition and insatiable desire for governing. —Peter I (“the Great”) on his half-sister Sophia Tsar Alexis left three sons upon his death in 1676: two by his first wife, Maria Miloslavskaya, Feodor and Ivan; and one by his second wife, Natalya Naryshkina, the future Peter the Great. (See family tree.) The eldest son succeeded Alexis at age fourteen as Tsar Feodor III. Though keen of mind, he was not a promising sovereign given the numerous physical ailments (including what is now believed to have been scurvy) that left him weak and often immobilized. After a brief reign of six years, Feodor died without an heir. The next in line was the even less impressive Ivan, who was not only physically feeble but mentally disabled as well. Thus Ivan was bypassed in favor of his vigorous half-brother Peter. But that’s when Ivan’s big sister Sophia stepped in. A formidable woman at a time when most were humble and passive, Sophia helped orchestrate a bloody revolt that left Russia with two co-monarchs and Peter the Great with severe psychological scars that would remain with him for the rest of his life. The petrified little tsar silently clutched his mother’s hand as the mass of murderous pikesmen thronged beneath them, braying for blood. Then, amid a horrific roar, Prince
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From the Publisher

"Michael Farquhar doesn't write about history the way, say, Doris Kearns Goodwin does. He writes about history the way Doris Kearns Goodwin's smart-ass, reprobate kid brother might. I, for one, prefer it."-Gene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Washington Post columnist
 
Scandal! Intrigue! Cossacks! Here the world's most engaging royal historian chronicles the world's most fascinating imperial dynasty: the Romanovs, whose three-hundred-year reign was remarkable for its shocking violence, spectacular excess, and unimaginable venality. In this incredibly entertaining history, Michael Farquhar collects the best, most captivating true tales of Romanov iniquity. We meet Catherine the Great, with her endless parade of virile young lovers (none of them of the equine variety); her unhinged son, Paul I, who ordered the bones of one of his mother's paramours dug out of its grave and tossed into a gorge; and Grigori Rasputin, the "Mad Monk," whose mesmeric domination of the last of the Romanov tsars helped lead to the monarchy's undoing. From Peter the Great's penchant for personally beheading his recalcitrant subjects (he kept the severed head of one of his mistresses pickled in alcohol) to Nicholas and Alexandra's brutal demise at the hands of the Bolsheviks, Secret Lives of the Tsars captures all the splendor and infamy that was Imperial Russia.

Praise for Secret Lives of the Tsars
 
"An accessible, exciting narrative . . . Highly recommended for generalists interested in Russian history and those who enjoy the seamier side of past lives."-Library Journal (starred review)

"An excellent condensed version of Russian history . . . a fine tale of history and scandal . . . sure to please general readers and monarchy buffs alike."-Publishers Weekly
 
"Tales from the nasty lives of global royalty . . . an easy-reading, lightweight history lesson."-Kirkus Reviews

"Readers of this book may get a sense of why Russians are so tolerant of tyrants like Stalin and Putin. Given their history, it probably seems normal."-The Washington Post

About the Author

Michael Farquhar, a former writer and editor at The Washington Post, is the bestselling author of the critically praised Behind the Palace Doors, as well as the national bestsellers A Treasury of Royal Scandals, A Treasury of Great American Scandals, A Treasury of Deception, and A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans. His work has been featured in a number of national publications, and he has appeared as a commentator on such programs as History's top-rated Russia: Land of the Tsars and The French Revolution.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Secret Lives of the Tsars
 
"An accessible, exciting narrative . . . Highly recommended for generalists interested in Russian history and those who enjoy the seamier side of past lives."-Library Journal (starred review)

"An excellent condensed version of Russian history . . . a fine tale of history and scandal . . . sure to please general readers and monarchy buffs alike."-Publishers Weekly
 
"Tales from the nasty lives of global royalty . . . an easy-reading, lightweight history lesson."-Kirkus Reviews

"Readers of this book may get a sense of why Russians are so tolerant of tyrants like Stalin and Putin. Given their history, it probably seems normal."-The Washington Post

Praise for Michael Farquhar

"Michael Farquhar doesn't write about history the way, say, Doris Kearns Goodwin does. He writes about history the way Doris Kearns Goodwin's smart-ass, reprobate kid brother might. I, for one, prefer it."-Gene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Washington Post columnist
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