Author Topic: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson  (Read 146344 times)

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Offline TimM

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #255 on: January 18, 2011, 11:55:19 AM »
Quote
Now-Jack: I am SURE he believed she was Anastasia-but then Jack believed almost anything. If anything, he made her even WORSE-more eccentric, more paranoid, and he was certainly responsible for much of the claptrap about "doubles" and people attributing to her stories of "no massacre" and the rest. I think it's pretty clear HE was the one who believed in all of this revisionist nonsense.

Yeah, they made quite a pair, those two.  Jack thought that KGB assasins had killed Anna, not natural causes.  Of course, she was 87 years old (FS's actual age when she died).
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Offline Annette

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #256 on: January 18, 2011, 02:32:42 PM »
Hi Greg/Penny

Am 3/4 of the way through the book, superb. 

Kindest regards.

Annette

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #257 on: January 18, 2011, 07:03:03 PM »
I'm about 2/3 through this and am about to read about Franziska...

It kept running through my head..."why not get Anna Vyrubova to see her....".  Do you really their reasons for not asking her to give her opinion were really strong enough?  It seemed so lame to me.  She had been with the family daily for so long...I sort of think that would have trumped Rasputin involvement.  Maybe though, that's hindsight.

Enjoying book immensely Greg and Penny, good job!

To my knowledge, Vyrubova never tried to see AA and AA's supporters believed that AV's well known devotion to Rasputin would make any recognition rather embarrassing. Which to me is rather ridiculous.

Three people who survived the Revolution who had either lived with the IF or nearly so never met AA: Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna (the younger), Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, and Anna Vyrubova. None of them ever met AA nor were asked to, AFAIK.

Pity, any of them could have cleared matters up in moments.

Offline TimM

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #258 on: January 18, 2011, 08:05:20 PM »
Just thought I'd write my own review of this book.


BOOK: Resurrection Of The Romanovs
AUTHORS: Greg King and Penny Wilson
 
In 1920, a mysterious young woman was pulled out of a Berlin canal after apparently trying to commit suicide. No one knew who she was or where she had come from. In time, this woman made a spectacular claim, that she was, in fact, the Grand Duchess Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Nicholas, along with his whole family, had been murdered by the Bolsheviks in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg on July 17, 1918, so how could this woman be Anastasia? For the next six decades, this woman, who came to be known as Anna Anderson, maintained her claim, supported by some, rejected by others. The court case to prove her claim was the longest in German history, spanning more than thirty years. In the end, they could neither accept or reject her claim, so no one won. As for Anna Anderson herself, she moved to the United States in 1968, married a man named Jack Manahan (and took his last name), and lived there for the rest of her life. She died in 1984, and at the time it seemed the secret had died with her.

Years after her death, two key events would lead to her claim finally being debunked. The fall of the Soviet Union, which led to the discovery of the remains of the Romanov Family, and the advent of DNA research. DNA tests proved once and for all that Anna Anderson Manahan was not Anastasia, nor was she related to the Tsar in any way. In fact, her real name was Franziska Schanzkowska, and she was born in 1896 in what we now call Poland (making her five years older than Anastasia, who was born in 1901). The jig was up.

Although her true identity had been unmasked, questions remained. Why did she do it? And HOW did she do it?

This excellent book seeks to answer the questions posted by this nearly century old story. Greg King and Penny Wilson undertook years of research to answer these questions. The book really is amazing in all the facts it uncovers. Much of what I assumed in the case turned out to be wrong, and it is easy to see why. While this book reinforces some long standing rumours, it totally destroys others.

Throughout the years of her claim, Anderson was surrounded by three groups. Those that truly believed her, those that wanted to believe her, and, finally, those who were in it for the money (it was rumoured at the time that Tsar Nicholas II had a fortune stashed in a back somewhere in Europe, if Anderson had turned out to be Anastasia, she could claim said fortune and those that helped might get a nice payoff). It was mostly these people that helped spread the rumours around. A lot of testimony thought to be accurate turned out to be hearsay (meaning that the person quoted was not an actual witness, but was told of the events by someone else). Others who met Anderson had only seen glimpses of the real Anastasia years previous, so they could not be sure one way or the other. Finally, since at the time no one really knew what had become of the Tsar and his family, the Bolsheviks had covered up the crime, there was no proof that the real Anastasia was dead.

Also, those that could have identified the real Anastasia refused to do so. The Dowager Empress Marie, the mother of the Tsar, could have done so. However, at this time, she was in failing health and refused to believe that her son and his family had been murdered. Of course, the family did not want to upset her, so they left her alone (in fact they did not really start challenging Andersonís claim until after Marieís death).

All in all, Mr. King and Ms. Wilson wrote a great book that looks at all the details of this case. A must-read for anyone interested in the tragic Romanov Family, like yours truly.

I give it a 10/10.
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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #259 on: January 18, 2011, 10:02:51 PM »
Tim, I think I'll review your review by pointing out that it would be fine if the audience was only vaguely familiar with the Romanovs and Anna Anderson, because you use most of it to retell the tale, but you don't say much about how it was written, what it told you that you didn't know already and if - and then how - it altered your view of Anna Anderson and the people involved in her case.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 10:07:31 PM by Фёдор Петрович »

Offline Greg_King

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #260 on: January 18, 2011, 11:14:36 PM »
Thanks for the kind words Tim

As for Anna Vyrubova: Honestly, truly, neither side wanted to ask her. I know that a few of AA's modern critics have run round saying that this was merely AA's supporters and that THEY were making excuses because Anna would expose AA-but this is not true. In the Staatsarchiv, as we point out in the book, there are a number of letters exchanged between Lord Mountbatten, Prince Ludwig and his wife Princess Margaret about asking Vyrubova to meet AA. And after numerous exchanges they, too-just as Tatiana Botkin said-decided it was best "not to bring Anna Vyrubova into it" because of her relationship with Rasputin. Mountbatten was particularly funny about it, writing something like, "It would just make that crazy old aunt of mine (Alexandra) look even crazier if her monk got dragged into it."

So neither side wanted her involved.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #261 on: January 19, 2011, 03:51:04 AM »
'Three people who survived the Revolution who had either lived with the IF or nearly so never met AA: Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna (the younger), Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, and Anna Vyrubova. None of them ever met AA nor were asked to, AFAIK.'

Interesting about Dimitri and Marie Pavlovna. I can quite see why no one wanted to involve Anna Vyrubova, but not Dimitri or his sister.

Ann

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #262 on: January 19, 2011, 05:40:37 AM »

Mountbatten was particularly funny about it, writing something like, "It would just make that crazy old aunt of mine (Alexandra) look even crazier if her monk got dragged into it."

So neither side wanted her involved.


My suspicion is that both sides viewed Anna Vyrubova as too much of a wild card to pull into anything.  There was a fairly widespread view among the extended Romanov family and the upper echelons of St. Petersburg society that both Alexandra and her friend Anya were rather silly women prone to hysterics.  Rasputin was the worst of it surely, but the emotional instability of their relationship emerged from time to time in other ways, such as in the episode when Alexandra became suspicious that Anna had developed a crush on Nicholas.

Having Anna Vyrubova on your side in a dispute would not necessarily be a good thing.

And, of course, Dmitri was known to be either a murderer or a murder conspirator.  And his sister Maria was rather a wilting flower, under the thumbs of so many people throughout her earlier years, that she was viewed -- perhaps wrongly -- as highly susceptible to taking her cues from others.

The Romanovs and their close friends weren't the best fruit stand for picking cherries you'd want to serve at a party.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 06:06:04 AM by Tsarfan »

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #263 on: January 19, 2011, 06:18:33 AM »
Tim, I think I'll review your review by pointing out that it would be fine if the audience was only vaguely familiar with the Romanovs and Anna Anderson, because you use most of it to retell the tale, but you don't say much about how it was written, what it told you that you didn't know already and if - and then how - it altered your view of Anna Anderson and the people involved in her case.

Does this review get closer to what you're seeking? (It's on amazon.com)
_________________________

Others have and will comment here on the story of a minor ruse that grew into a worldwide legend that is adroitly recounted in this book. But I want to discuss this book for what I think is its most remarkable aspect: a tour-de-force deconstruction of how false history can be invented by letting the desire, sometimes almost unconscious, for a certain outcome dictate the presentation and interpretation of evidence.

Greg King and Penny Wilson were ideally suited to this task. Not only were they accomplished historians of late imperial Russia, but both thought for years that Anna Anderson might really be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, supposedly massacred along with her family in 1918. More than most other advocates for the view of Anastasia's survival, they were deeply versed in the myriad evidence that had been put forth for almost ninety years in support of this claim. But the 1990's began to unsettle the picture, as discoveries of bodies in a remote Russian forest and DNA testing of those bodies and of tissue samples of a now-deceased Anna Anderson deepened the doubts surrounding Anderson's famous claim.

In light of this emerging evidence, King and Wilson began to show their mettle as historians and to reassess their own long-held convictions. As this process brought them to serious doubt of Anna Anderson's claim, there was one hurdle they still could not easily clear. Since 1920 there had been claims that Anna Anderson, who was originally dubbed "Miss Unknown" by Berlin police who fished her out of a canal after a suicide attempt, was, in fact, known by some to be a Polish woman who had come to Berlin seeking work in the wartime factories then being staffed largely by women. But, while Anna Anderson might be no Grand Duchess, King and Wilson felt there had to be some other missing piece to the puzzle that would preclude her being a Polish factory worker. And they set out to find it.

What they instead found was a remarkable manipulation of evidence that had begun almost immediately upon Anna Anderson's emergence into the limelight of royal pretender status. This manipulation of evidence was deliberately cynical in some hands but more often guilelessly inadvertent in others. However, as the romance of the prospect that a pretty, 17-year-old princess had mysteriously been saved from a brutal political massacre seized the world's imagination, the manipulation of evidence acquired a life of its own. The cumulative effect was that comments haltingly made, opinions heavily caveated, affidavits for limited purposes were all seized upon as proof positive that the crusty, eccentric little woman being toasted in the press and hosted and then housed by a growing array of high society was most certainly a missing Russian Grand Duchess. Through a process of repetition of this purported evidence, with each step further removed from the original sources, the conviction set in among many that Anna Anderson's identity was a matter of conclusive proof.

What King and Wilson, in fact, found as they revisited the early sources and put fresh eyes on them was something else entirely. Small amounts of often anecdotal information in favor of Anderson's claim had been hyped massively by the press and acolytes. Much larger amounts of countervailing information, gathered with more rigor for the more disciplined purpose of determining the truth instead of a hot-selling headline, had been dismissed by a popular postwar imagination that needed a lost princess more than it needed a reminder that Russia was now irreversibly in the hands of a communist dictatorship.

The process that King and Wilson deconstruct in this book by which myth can morph into history is not only fascinating. It is an object lesson to all students of Russian history right now.

Russia is moving toward the brink of becoming a failed state, with a population in steep decline, regions along the border with a China bursting at the seams emptying themselves of Russians, a breakdown of the old soviet system of dodgy public services being replaced with nothing but press manipulation by a governing cabal holding onto power for the sake of power itself. With government policy failing on front after front, Russian leaders are doing their best to romanticize a past, the vision of which they hope will hold an ugly present at bay.

This new book by Greg King and Penny Wilson should be read not only by those who want to witness the spinning of a popular legend of missing royalty from the fabric of poverty and mental instability. It should be read by those who want to understand how the study of history, when put in the service of romantic desire, can be the most most deceptive of studies.

Offline matushka

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #264 on: January 19, 2011, 07:14:14 AM »

Mountbatten was particularly funny about it, writing something like, "It would just make that crazy old aunt of mine (Alexandra) look even crazier if her monk got dragged into it."
Incredible words coming from a non Romanov! I had no idea this kind of statement about Alexandra was common outside Russia and the Romanov family. Was it also the opinion of Victoria, mother of Mountbatten? It shows once more how far the misinformation about Rasputin came. How could Rasputin be mixed in the case of recognizing or not a claimant. Anna Vyrubova was not only Rasputin fervent but first of all a person who saw the Grand Duchess on a daily basis during many years.

« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 10:27:12 AM by Alixz »

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #265 on: January 19, 2011, 07:27:09 AM »
Mountbatten was not a Romanov, but he made much of being Nicholas and Alexandra's nephew.

Matushka, I would disagree with you. Anna Vyrubova's devotion to Rasputin was highly relevant to her reliability as a witness.

Ann

Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #266 on: January 19, 2011, 12:52:12 PM »


And, of course, Dmitri was known to be either a murderer or a murder conspirator.  And his sister Maria was rather a wilting flower, under the thumbs of so many people throughout her earlier years, that she was viewed -- perhaps wrongly -- as highly susceptible to taking her cues from others.

The Romanovs and their close friends weren't the best fruit stand for picking cherries you'd want to serve at a party.


I'd think Maria was viewed as extremely willful, rather than easily influenced?

It is perfectly possible that Dmitri himself made it clear that he would not go within a million miles of anyone claiming to be the Grand Duchess, such was his shame and disgust at his own role the Rasputin business. And Maria did though tend to take her cues from him.
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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #267 on: January 19, 2011, 01:03:30 PM »

Incredible words coming from a non Romanov! I had no idea this kind of statement about Alexandra was common outside Russia and the Romanov family. Was it aslo the opinion of Victoria, mother of Mountbatten? It shows once more how far the misinformation about Rasputin came. How could Rasputin be mixed in the case of recognizing or not a claimant. Anna Vyrubova was not only Rasputin fervent but first of all a person who saw the Grand Duchess on a daily basis during many years.



No, it was not the view of Victoria, who felt that her sister had been harmed by association with Rasputin, but also by the conscious behaviour of a coterie at court who had tried to damage her from the start. Mountbatten however made statements of this type several times, including to his parents' biographer, describing his aunt as "that crazy lunatic" who he said was nevertheless "absolutely sweet and charming". It's a little inappropriate when you think that his own sister spent several years in a sanatorium, under the impression that she was having a sexual relationship with Christ - but that matter was not publicly known and was not therefore a matter of public shame to him that he needed to comment on. Equally, what did he make of his Uncle Ernst's association with Graf Keyserling, another Rasputin figure for sure?

Mountbatten's most insightful statement on AA seems to me to be his remark - quoted in the book -  that he would not meet her since he was not in a position to judge who she was as he had not seen his cousin since childhood. I am not sure he even remembered the last time he saw her, as he always told people that it was in Darmstadt in 1913 - and yet she was not in Darmstadt that year.
Sigismund of Prussia should probably have taken such a judicious stance on her as well......
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #268 on: January 19, 2011, 04:06:37 PM »
. . . his own sister spent several years in a sanatorium, under the impression that she was having a sexual relationship with Christ . . . .

Alexandra believing in miracle healers and soothsayers.  (Rasputin was not her first, by the way.)

Alexandra believing she had a son due to bathing in water blessed by St. Seraphim.  (I wonder what she thought of Seraphim's little joke in giving the son hemophilia.)

Nicholas combing his hair with a magic comb.

Mountbatten's sister believing she had sex with Jesus.

There's nothing like inbreeding to make the sauce spicy. 






Offline Tsarfan

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Re: "Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson" by King And Wilson
« Reply #269 on: January 19, 2011, 04:23:50 PM »

I'd think Maria was viewed as extremely willful, rather than easily influenced?



That was certainly the family's excuse to keep her under their thumb.  GD Ella was quite strict with her when Maria was in her care, and Maria always deferred to her brother in the management of her affairs before the revolution, getting an allowance from him rather than handling her income on her own, if I remember correctly.

She didn't really come into her own until the revolution set her adrift, and I think the family after that was always a bit unsure of whether the filly once broken had remained broken.  There was a certain vengeful tone to her autobiography . . . and I can't say I blamed her.

However, I do think the net effect was to make the adherents and opponents of Anna Anderson unsure whether Maria would tow whatever line the family wanted her to tow or whether she'd speak her own mind.  Compare this to Olga A., whom few had real reason to doubt would speak her mind.

(Personally, I don't think there was a Romanov "family line" regarding Anderson's identity.  Unlike many, I think the family members just wanted the truth to prevail, and most simply didn't believe the claim.  However, at the pitch of the battle in the 1920's, there were all kinds of suspicions about the family's agenda in this matter.)