Author Topic: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks  (Read 22963 times)

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Offline Sarushka

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2013, 10:21:21 AM »
I've not seen the book yet myself, so I'm relying on reports from other Romanov readers. I'm puzzled by this statement from the intro:

'This is a work written as a novel but one that includes the facts. Unlike most academics, I do not intend to throw facts at the unfortunate reader and expect them to work out the story for themselves.'

Is the text clearly footnoted so we can sort out fact from whatever novel-like elements Banks has chosen to include?

Now that I've read a little of the book, I think Banks does herself something of a disservice in describing her book as "written like a novel." It sounds off-putting to those with a scholarly approach to the Romanovs, but much to my relief there appears to be nothing deliberately invented -- no plot, no dialog, no scenes concocted for dramatic purposes, etc. I didn't spot anything I'd categorize as fictionalization in the sample. It's really just narrative non-fiction. Unfortunately, the lack of source notes is going to severely limit its usefulness where researchers are concerned.
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Offline blessOTMA

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2013, 12:46:48 PM »
Now that I've read a little of the book, I think Banks does herself something of a disservice in describing her book as "written like a novel."
I quite agree . In this sound bite age, the word should never appear in the book . It would be latched on to and is confusing
Quote
It sounds off-putting to those with a scholarly approach to the Romanovs, but much to my relief there appears to be nothing deliberately invented -- no plot, no dialog, no scenes concocted for dramatic purposes, etc
Indeed.  I've  read the book and its point it seems to me,  is to gather everything that is known to have  happened on a particularly day or time,  from all known sources and put them together in one place. ...it's funny the word "novel " crops up because it's actually an anti novel.

Usually a historical author picks and chooses what they deemed the most important of historical events or facts  , to create a narrative flow.  I find the  method of this book an interesting addition to the usual treatment. There is no picking of some facts ...there is  the presenting all facts.
Being an artist , I notice patterns. When all of what is know of a particular day in the Romanov's lives  is put together ,  it makes for enlightening  reading, even though I have read much of the material else where in, what now appears, as pieces. 
 

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Offline Georgiy

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2013, 11:03:54 PM »
I'm finding it interesting too - if a bit of a trudge! Getting through it bit by bit. Find a few mistakes here and there, such as parents not allowed to attend baptisms - I strongly suspect that at the baptisms in question, it was less than 40 days since the Empress gave birth, and thus she would be unable to attend Church, and maybe the Tsar stayed away to be with her.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #33 on: January 17, 2013, 02:34:21 AM »
It does seem to be Orthodox custom that the parents don't attend the baptism. It seems rather odd to me, though in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, under which I was baptised, the parents have no particular role - the vows are made by the godparents. Things have now changed in the Church of England, so that the vows are made by the parents and godparents together.

Going slightly off-topic, whereabout is the font in Orthodox churches. I have been in a couple of Orthodox churches, and gone looking for the font specifically to see how big it is, given that their baptism involves total immersion, but couldn't find it.

Ann

Offline Georgiy

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #34 on: January 17, 2013, 03:55:43 AM »
Yes, the Godparents do the vows in the Orthodox Church. We attended our childrens' baptisms, as is normal in the Orthodox Church, except for the last child, it was within 40 days of giving birth, and so my wife stayed in the corridor and didn't come into Church. Everyone I know has the parents at Church, and it is a ROCOR (thus very traditional) Orthodox Church.

Offline koloagirl

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #35 on: January 17, 2013, 04:42:19 PM »

Aloha!

Glad that the Kindle edition came up finally....I figured for $9.99 I could give it a go....just started it today and pretty much as others have said....nothing new and not written as a novel, which I think is a good thing personally.

But I'm enjoying it, even though it isn't telling me anything that I haven't already read elsewhere, and with a few inconsistencies as well.

I'll have to finish it before I decide if I'll purchase the paperback when it does come out on Amazon here in the U.S. ......I'm already got so many Romanov books that I have to pull a book out of the bookshelf and stash it in my secondary cabinet in order to put another one in....so it has to be worthy!  LOL

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Offline TennPat

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #36 on: February 17, 2013, 02:45:49 AM »
I'm enjoying Banks' book. I think it fills a definite niche long awaited..a readable day-to-day account of OTMA's lives filled with minute detail including a large cast of characters. No,  it is not great literature, but that was never the intent. I find it most interesting and enjoyable - plus full of facts helping me in understanding their lives.

Thank you,  ECS Banks,  for what is an obvious labor of love. I hope you will go on and publish your earlier material. Don't let the negative comments discourage you.

Offline Suzanne

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #37 on: March 11, 2013, 01:27:04 PM »
Here's my review of Road to Ekaterinburg. I enjoyed Banks' research but found her structure repetitive

http://www.royalhistorian.com/the-imperial-russian-book-reviews-5-road-to-ekaterinburg-nicholas-and-alexandras-daughters-1913-1918-by-ecs-banks/

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #38 on: March 13, 2013, 02:30:42 PM »
Quote
I'm glad Amazon made a sample available. I read about 25% of it before deciding this is not a book for me.

I find the characterizations disappointingly broad, and judging from the introduction I think the author may be making a number of assumptions about the characters without substantial basis. For example, the story of Olga Alexandrovna being "enraged" by a little girl asking if she were a princess. In Vorres's book, where the anecdote originates, Olga A. replies "firmly" to the child's question -- there's no indication of Olga showing her temper.

I'm also frustrated by the lack of firm dates. It seems clear that Banks is working from diaries and letters (which the IF always clearly dated) but aside from the chapter headings of "Spring 1913" it's almost impossible to nail down precisely when the events she details happened. The majority of time indicators are things like "One Friday" or "the next Monday."

Similarly, I'm disappointed that the imperial family's own words are virtually never quoted. In skimming the remainder of the sample, I didn't find a single instance of one of the IF being quoted directly. The IF's diaries are notoriously bland on their own, but at least there's the consolation of knowing you're reading their original words and thoughts. Here, even that aspect is missing.

It wouldn't be fair to call this a rehash, but it's not the OTMA non-fiction treatment I've been hoping for. Basically, it appears that the family's diaries and letters have been integrated into a continuous narrative depicting the day-by-day events of the girls' lives.

If you simply want to know what OTMA did on a daily basis I can just about guarantee you'll enjoy Road to Ekaterinburg. However, if you want to know what the GDss thought and felt, how they expressed themselves, and crave more insight into the subtleties of their personalities, you probably won't find this book any more satisfying than what's already available.


Thanks for this review Sarushka, I am sure it will be helpful to a lot of people, including yours truly!

Offline blessOTMA

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2013, 10:05:38 PM »
Any NAOTMAA  fan, and I emphasize that word,  would want this book imo.

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Offline edubs31

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #40 on: May 07, 2013, 12:52:41 PM »
I started reading this last night on the Kindle. That I was able to read about the first 150-pages at a time of night when I'm generally drifting to sleep is something of a compliment right off the bat.

There is really nothing for me to add that hasn't already been said. The run-on sentences and pedestrian phrasing are problematic, but I find that "non-fiction narrative" style actually makes the book more enjoyable to read. I have a long way to go still so the criticisms about the repetitiveness have yet to fully creep in.

Quote
For example, the story of Olga Alexandrovna being "enraged" by a little girl asking if she were a princess. In Vorres's book, where the anecdote originates, Olga A. replies "firmly" to the child's question -- there's no indication of Olga showing her temper.

Good call Sarushka. I'm not an Olga-A expert but I too did a double-take on this. Just didn't sit well with me.

Quote
If you simply want to know what OTMA did on a daily basis I can just about guarantee you'll enjoy Road to Ekaterinburg. However, if you want to know what the GDss thought and felt, how they expressed themselves, and crave more insight into the subtleties of their personalities, you probably won't find this book any more satisfying than what's already available.

A good way of putting it. I'd say this book is a valuable "resource" without being an exceptional "story". Still I'm enjoying it. Overall I think the Amazon rating is pretty accurate (3.6 out of 5). I'd give it about a three and a half so far...if the repetition continues to get worse my opinion if it will probably drop by a half a point come the end...still it's a nice read, even if your book (Sarah) was better, and even I'm looking forward to Helen's book with much greater enthusiasm!
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Offline Mandie, the Gothic Empress

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #41 on: August 29, 2013, 08:54:04 PM »
To be honest, I thought the book was boring and uninteresting from the start and couldn’t finish it.

Which annoys me is that a lot of the material comes from  the diary of Olga Nikolaievna in 1913 (published a few years ago) with word to word (a lot of Olga and Tatiana - not enough of Maria and Anastasia as it was to be about all of them also with cut short sentences and just full of - "T and O did this" or "T and O did that today" and on and on) if the Arthur had writing it with his own words and made it more about "OTMA" instead of just mostly Olga and word for word, I would have like it.

If I want to read their own words, I'll read the letters section here at the AP or read A lifelong passion: Nicholas and Alexandra their own story or the Russian books I have with their original writing of letters and some diary entries instead this book.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 08:57:13 PM by Mandie, the Gothic Empress »

Offline Belochka

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #42 on: September 02, 2013, 01:04:24 AM »
To be honest, I thought the book was boring and uninteresting from the start and couldn’t finish it.

Which annoys me is that a lot of the material comes from  the diary of Olga Nikolaievna in 1913 (published a few years ago) with word to word (a lot of Olga and Tatiana - not enough of Maria and Anastasia as it was to be about all of them also with cut short sentences and just full of - "T and O did this" or "T and O did that today" and on and on) if the Arthur had writing it with his own words and made it more about "OTMA" instead of just mostly Olga and word for word, I would have like it.

If I want to read their own words, I'll read the letters section here at the AP or read A lifelong passion: Nicholas and Alexandra their own story or the Russian books I have with their original writing of letters and some diary entries instead this book.

Well stated comments! They reflect my opinion about this book.


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Offline Bryndis

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #43 on: April 01, 2015, 05:33:32 PM »
So is the book really that bad? Has anyone read the other books?



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Offline blessOTMA

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Re: Road to Ekaterinburg by ECS Banks
« Reply #44 on: April 08, 2015, 02:43:39 PM »
 A Romanov reader should avail themselves of these books imo.   
« Last Edit: April 08, 2015, 02:48:29 PM by blessOTMA »

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