Author Topic: The Last Grand Duchess, by Ian Vorres  (Read 23178 times)

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Offline Helen_Azar

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The Last Grand Duchess, by Ian Vorres
« on: June 10, 2004, 01:29:39 PM »
I just finished reading The Last Grand Duchess, an authorized biography of Grand Duchess Olga, the last Tsar's sister. Has anyone read it? I haven't come across any postings about it, but I may have just missed it. I thought it was excellent, gave a lot of "insider" insight into the Imperial family and the events surrounding its last years...

Helen

Offline Suzanne

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2004, 06:42:48 PM »
I have also read and enjoyed it. Grand Duchess Olga clearly trusted Ian Vorres a great deala nd confided a lot of interesting information to him. I especially liked her descriptions of Nicholas, Alexandra and their children. Her description of her family's time in the Crimea just after the revolution complements "Once a Grand Duke" by Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich.

In contrast, I found Patricia Phenix' biography "Olga Romanov" to be a disapointment. The author skims the surface of the events of Olga's life without going into depth and with the exception of quotes from a few archival letters, contributes little new material. There is also some awkward writing such as "In truth, Olga never truly forgave Mikhail" and jarring modern judgements about historical figures - she describes Xenia as "prim and party loving".

Anyhow, I definately recommend Vorres' work. The new edition also contains a number of beautiful photographs.

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2004, 07:04:20 PM »
Suzanne, I agree...Vorres served his subject  well. On the other hand, I dislike not finishing a book...had to make an effort to finish Phenix's.

Sunny

Offline Belochka

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2004, 10:58:15 PM »
I agree with you all, Vorres wrote the book with great sensitivity. It was very obvious that he admired Olga as a person and as a consequence of this gentle relationship we are able to read a truely compassionate work.

For me it was very sad to see the photograph of the bed in which she died. Although she lived simply in Canada without pretensions, she always carried herself with grace and dignity.

She was indeed the The Last Grand Duchess á
:)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2004, 11:31:13 PM »
I loved "The Last Grand Duchess". I was disappointed with the new edition and all the mistakes made with the captions on the photographs. I would have been happy to proof these at no charge - as would many others who post here who are more knowledgeable!

elisa_1872

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2004, 07:29:30 AM »
Hi Helen:-)

You might also like a catalog that was made to commemorate a showing of the Grand Duchess's paintings. It should be available at www.eurohistory.com, under the Russian section of the bookstore.

Greetings!

Offline Almedingen

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2004, 11:57:53 AM »
If you enjoy reading about Grand Duchess Olga, you also might enjoy reading Gilbert's Royalty Digest because it contains an article about an interview with Grand Duchess Olga.

http://gilbertsroyalbooks.com/

I see in the next issue, there is going to be a story on Kaiser Wilhelm's pursuit of Grand Duchess Ella.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Almedingen »

Offline Belochka

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2004, 01:04:32 AM »
Thanks Almedingen! ;)

Grand Duchess Olga is one of the Romanovs I best admire.


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Offline Antiquarian2001

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2004, 11:28:39 PM »
I am just finishing reading the book by Patricia Phenix and I find it factual as far as I can judge but I do not like the writing style. It lacks depth. Part of the problem is the vast amount of material covered by the book. It includes so many years and experiences that it is not possible to focus on any specific time or place. I ended up feeling frustrated.

Offline Alice

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2004, 07:55:10 AM »
Not about this actual book, but about Grand Duchess Olga - does anyone recall the photograph of her towards the end of "Anastasia's Album?". I remember looking at this photo, and noticing a distinctive sadness in her eyes. (My interpretation, anyway).

One can only imagine what it would be like to lose so many of one's family, in such tragic circumstances.  :'(

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2004, 03:36:01 PM »
First of all, can anyone SPELL correctly on this message board?  

Secondly, I loved Patricia Phenix's book because it wasn't a fawning a** kissing bio.  Vorres' book exploited a sick woman during the last year of her life, when her own family admits she suffered from severe memory lapses.  His book is also filled with mistakes.  Vorres says Olga was married to Kulikovsky in her nurse's uniform, but had no time for a honeymoon because she went right back to work in the army hospital.  Bull.  Photos clearly show she got married in a lovely gown, and letters Phenix quotes clearly reveal that Olga took a honeymoon with Kulikovsky.  Also, Vorres is a millionaire.  I doubt Phenix is.  Do any of you understand the price of letters from the Russian archives?  They're exorbitant!  Why didn't Vorres use more of them?  At least Phenix spent her own money to find a few of them.

For your information, you really should read Tihon Kulikovsky's condemnation of Vorres' book in Toronto's Globe and Mail that was written shortly after Vorres book came out.  I believe the letter was written in 1960, or 61, or around that time.  Tihon said Vorres had failed to capture the true spirit of his mother and that Vorres' book was filled with inaccuracies.  Vorres then replied with a long condemnation of Tihon.  It was ludicrous.

I assume they made amends in the end.

Not all is what it seems folks.

And by the way, smileys are spyware, they'll trace wherever you're going.  Don't use them, or your operating system will be fried!


Offline Janet_W.

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2004, 05:18:21 PM »
Dear Susan,

Yes, many of us on this board can and do spell correctly. Some of us make an effort to do so; others, for whatever reason, do not. Many who respond are not native English speakers, and we're very happy to hear from them. Others are native English speakers and would use spell check if it were available. The preview and refresh preview options are, however, of immense help.

You've brought up some interesting points re: the book written by Ian Vorres. If you are able to post Tikhon Kulikovsky's commentary we would appreciate reading it.

For many of us the Vorres book, with its many quotes from Olga, has been a way of learning about Nicholas and his family from one who was really there. Whether Vorres and/or Phenix are wealthy is beside the point; to paraphrase a certain playwright, "the book's the thing."

When I first started reading about the last of the Romanovs I could find only two books about the family in our local library's card catalog.  One was the book about Anna Anderson which Bob Atchison has credited as drawing him into the Romanov story. The other was the book by Ian Vorres. Since Grand Duchess Olga was at the time elderly and in failing health, Vorres chose to write about her--rather than "ghostwrite" an autobiography--and include as many quotes as possible. Many books do have inaccuracies, and it would be interesting to learn more about the faults of this book and what Olga's sons and grandchildren have thought and said about it. But whatever the case, I am immensely glad that someone took the time to interview "the last grand duchess" and retrieve first hand information.

If I have misspelled anything in this message I apologize. I'll close by taking a giant risk and using a  ;)  .

Janet

Sunny

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2004, 07:38:11 PM »
Janet, wonderfully stated...

This: "I'll close by taking a giant risk and using a  ;).
Janet"...... was the source of a most wonderful LOL moment.

Sunny

Offline moonlight_tsarina

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2005, 05:55:32 PM »
This was a very intuitave book. I enjoyed it very much. it made such a clear picture of her family's life before Nicholas became Tsar. I thought it was funny when she said that Nicky ate the hunny out of his baptismal necklace because he was always so hungry! ;D
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Offline Eurohistory

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Re: The Last Grand Duchess
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2005, 02:04:22 AM »
Quote
First of all, can anyone SPELL correctly on this message board? á

Secondly, I loved Patricia Phenix's book because it wasn't a fawning a** kissing bio. áVorres' book exploited a sick woman during the last year of her life, when her own family admits she suffered from severe memory lapses. áHis book is also filled with mistakes. áVorres says Olga was married to Kulikovsky in her nurse's uniform, but had no time for a honeymoon because she went right back to work in the army hospital. áBull. áPhotos clearly show she got married in a lovely gown, and letters Phenix quotes clearly reveal that Olga took a honeymoon with Kulikovsky. áAlso, Vorres is a millionaire. áI doubt Phenix is. áDo any of you understand the price of letters from the Russian archives? áThey're exorbitant! áWhy didn't Vorres use more of them? áAt least Phenix spent her own money to find a few of them.

For your information, you really should read Tihon Kulikovsky's condemnation of Vorres' book in Toronto's Globe and Mail that was written shortly after Vorres book came out. áI believe the letter was written in 1960, or 61, or around that time. áTihon said Vorres had failed to capture the true spirit of his mother and that Vorres' book was filled with inaccuracies. áVorres then replied with a long condemnation of Tihon. áIt was ludicrous.

I assume they made amends in the end.

Not all is what it seems folks.

And by the way, smileys are spyware, they'll trace wherever you're going. áDon't use them, or your operating system will be fried!



The fact that the book was not a "fawning" and "Kiss A**" bio really has nothing to do in this discussion.  The fact of the matter is that the book by Ms Phenix is plagued with mistakes, errors that denote lack of concern for the subject matter at hand, errors which truly have nothing to do wiith her being a millionairess or not...for God's sake what business does Ian Vorres' financial situation have to do with this?

As for Kulikovsky suing Ian...not surprised since this is a terribly contentious bunch and honestly neither son fared too well in the book, since after all neither Tikhon nor Guri seemed to have been an asset to their long-suffering mother.

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