Author Topic: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport  (Read 38545 times)

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Offline Padawan Ryan

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #45 on: June 12, 2014, 07:39:41 PM »
I just finished reading this book - having pre-ordered it and received it the day it was released - and I was very happy with it. It was a very informative book, and I like that it focused more on OTMA considering there hasn't really been a biography just on the daughters before, and while they are mentioned in biographies about their parents or the revolution, it's never in such great detail. However, I found the end came a lot quicker than it could have - their captivity in Tobolsk and Ekaterinberg were condensed into about fifty to sixty pages or so, and I understand that there's a lot less information about that time of their lives since the diaries and such of the time were burned, but I felt like suddenly I was reading about their lives at Tsarskoe Selo and suddenly they were dead. I know their captivity only lasted about a year, but I personally didn't feel like enough detail was allotted to their lives in captivity, and that it seemed the author was speeding through it.

Regardless, though, I did find it a wonderful book and there were many little things in there that I didn't previously know (and having spent the past eleven years studying the Romanovs, and mostly focused on OTMA, it's always nice to learn new things). I also did find that they focused a lot more on other people when more information about the girls could've been noted - I don't recall reading about the incident in which Maria's tonsils were removed, and while it's only something that happened once, I did find that it would've been something worth going into a little detail about. Unfortunately, for a book about the girls, it felt like it was focused on the entire family with maybe one or two extra things about the girls. I've started reading The Diary of Olga Romanov: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution and in the beginning of the book, I've already learned a little more about how Olga's mind worked as a child, before they even got into the diary portion.
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Offline Duchess Hydrangea

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #46 on: June 12, 2014, 08:10:40 PM »
I'm thinking about ordering this book but does it have a graphic description of the murder scene in it?
Arthur of The Last Russian Czarhttp://www.amazon.com/Last-Russian-Czar-H-Carpathia/dp/1600431690/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1438094724&sr=8-6&keywords=the+last+russian+czar&pebp=1438094722063&perid=0HY1DJMAWA2SXA4BFAJ3

Offline Padawan Ryan

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #47 on: June 12, 2014, 08:22:46 PM »
I'm thinking about ordering this book but does it have a graphic description of the murder scene in it?

Not at all. Actually, it almost completely skips the murder entirely - it goes from what happened in the days before the murder to suddenly all their imprisoned friends either being released or murdered months later. Maybe it's because the author already released a book based on their last days, but she completely skipped past the murder in this one. No graphic scene, not even a mention of them being awakened and brought downstairs.
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Offline Duchess Hydrangea

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #48 on: June 13, 2014, 07:37:48 AM »
Ah okay, thanks for the information.
Arthur of The Last Russian Czarhttp://www.amazon.com/Last-Russian-Czar-H-Carpathia/dp/1600431690/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1438094724&sr=8-6&keywords=the+last+russian+czar&pebp=1438094722063&perid=0HY1DJMAWA2SXA4BFAJ3

Offline Sanochka

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #49 on: June 14, 2014, 12:35:48 AM »
Actually, mention is made - briefly - of everybody being awakened and led downstairs, and nothing beyond that.

I finished the book yesterday.  Overall, it was an engrossing read - I read it in three nights - and I learned much that I didn't know before.  Having read Rappaport's in-depth book about the final days, I wasn't expecting to read much about their lives in captivity this time around, but I do wish that had been more focus on the Grand Duchesses before their departure for Tobolsk.  For a book about the Romanov sisters, I feel there was an over-emphasis on Alexandra and Alexei, and too much focus on Russian history that is already well-known - during which the girls either disappear entirely, or are clumsily trotted out as plot points.

Still, my hat is off to Rapport for producing a book about four young women around whom fascination bordering on feverish still swirls nearly a century after their murders.  Given the guarded seclusion in which they spent virtually their entire lives, the destruction of important records documenting their private thoughts and feelings about events and personages around them, and those who knew them personally now long dead, the task of researching and organizing what is known about the four Grand Duchesses into "The Romanov Sisters" could not have been an easy one.

Offline Duchess Hydrangea

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #50 on: June 14, 2014, 09:14:43 AM »
So is there much new information about the four sisters or is it only a little more compared to what can already be found on this site?
Arthur of The Last Russian Czarhttp://www.amazon.com/Last-Russian-Czar-H-Carpathia/dp/1600431690/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1438094724&sr=8-6&keywords=the+last+russian+czar&pebp=1438094722063&perid=0HY1DJMAWA2SXA4BFAJ3

Offline wakas

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #51 on: June 14, 2014, 09:28:13 AM »
There are in this book anecdotes and letters that I had never read before. However, it's true that on the whole, it's more a general biography of OTMA than a in-depth one. But IMHO it's definitely worth buying.
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Offline Duchess Hydrangea

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #52 on: June 14, 2014, 09:36:18 AM »
okay, thank you.
Arthur of The Last Russian Czarhttp://www.amazon.com/Last-Russian-Czar-H-Carpathia/dp/1600431690/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1438094724&sr=8-6&keywords=the+last+russian+czar&pebp=1438094722063&perid=0HY1DJMAWA2SXA4BFAJ3

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #53 on: June 15, 2014, 02:08:14 AM »
All Ms. Rappaport's books are extremely readable and this book should grace the shelves of all who are interested in the Romanovs. I found it delightful.
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Offline clockworkgirl21

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #54 on: November 25, 2014, 09:09:22 PM »
I *finally* got ahold of this book! I'm not even halfway through but I am loving it so far. It's very popular at my local library. It's been out all these months but I still had to reserve a copy, and people are in line behind me! Because of this I can't renew and it and will likely have to return it before I finish, but I will certainly put it on my Christmas list.

I am loving all the anecdotes and bits of info I didn't know. Sad to hear many of the anecdotes weren't included, hopefully those will be released too someday. Are we sure all the sources are reliable? I think so, but I know we've had that problem with Romanov books in the past, so I want to be sure they're true before I take them to heart.

However, I do agree with Dev's review. Far too much of the book is spent on Alexandra and Aleksey. Both are important, but we have so many books on them already.

It was refreshing to read a Romanov book without having to go through all the same descriptions and quotes yet again. It seems the same quotations make it into every book on the subject. Helen Rappaport is becoming one of my favorite authors for this topic.

Offline TimM

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #55 on: November 26, 2014, 11:11:29 AM »
Quote
It's very popular at my local library. It's been out all these months but I still had to reserve a copy, and people are in line behind me!

Sounds like you've got a lot of Romanov fans in your area, Lisa.  You should invite them here.
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Offline Maria Sisi

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #56 on: November 26, 2014, 12:57:50 PM »
However, I do agree with Dev's review. Far too much of the book is spent on Alexandra and Aleksey. Both are important, but we have so many books on them already.

I understand this criticism but at the same time I fully understand why it was done.

Everything about the family was based on Alexandra and Alexei. For a huge majority of their lives everything they did revolved around those two. They weren't as important as Alexei or in control of anything like Alexandra was with the family. I mean even Nicholas, the Tsar, gets overshadowed by his ill son and wife most of the time.

They really didn't do much in their short lives and frankly besides talking about their personalities, flirtations and isolation (which the book was very good at!) there isn't much to say about them. They submitted to the will of their parents, looked after their brother, had puppy love romances and didn't do much of anything else.

Your probably not up to this point yet but the book does concentrate heavily on Olga and Tatiana once it gets to the war and Anastasia is mentioned a lot post abdication. The only sister that wasn't covered much is Maria.  I guess a bigger version of Helen Azar's book on Olga that included all sisters would have been more satisfying for some but that book was doing something different then this one.

« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 12:59:21 PM by Maria Sisi »

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #57 on: December 16, 2014, 05:32:01 PM »
I read the book and have some errata and comments:
The regiment Maria N was honorary Colonel of was the 9th Kazan Dragoons not the 5th. Based on the OOB (order of battle information) I have see:
marksrussian militaryhistory.info
Austria-Hungary's last War 1914-1918 8 Volumes www.comrostudio.com StanHanna
George nafziegler OOB information for 1877 and 1914

Note the Russian imperial army underwent a major reorganization in 1881 when Tsar Alexander III converted all cavalry except Guards and Cossacks into dragoons. In the post Russo_Japanese war pre WW I period they were converted back to Dragoons, Hussars and Lancers.

It looks like in 2 cases you may have fallen victim to memoirs problems:
One the Sandro-Alexandra argument which based on the letter he wrote write afterwards posted on the APTM Nicholas study may not have happened.

The second is Sailor Derevenko being mean to Alexei the only source we have on this is Anna Vyrubova and Charlotte Zeepat in Romanov Autumn has doubts the incident happened. Note the incident is discussed on this site. In away it doesn't quite make sense for him to have done this at this time march 1917. No one in their worst nightmare would have predicted what was going to happen to the IF and Russia at this time.

You mention German prisoners of war fixing up the Govenor's mansion in Tobolsk. The book "Prisoner's of War and the Great war captivity on the Eastern Front" Alan Rachamimov mentions that at the Tobolsk POW camp Austro-Hungarian officers were given weapons by their guards to fight duels.

I hope this of some use.

Offline Kassafrass

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #58 on: December 19, 2014, 01:15:55 AM »
"Four Sisters" was voted the best history/biography book of 2014 on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-books-2014
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Offline edubs31

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Re: Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport
« Reply #59 on: December 19, 2014, 08:24:32 AM »
Great to hear! Certainly it sounds worthy of the praise it has received...though I must admit not having had the chance to read my copy of it yet.

Beating out Bill O'Reilly's "Killing Patton" as well as books on Sally Ride and Michael Jordan, among others. Nice going!
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