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Messages - M_Breheny

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In Norman Mailer's latest novel, "The Castle in the Forest," the famous author attempts to explain why Hitler became one of history's most evil men by examining Adolf's early childhood in Austria.  The story is told, I must add, by one of Satan's devils who has been sent to "oversee" the young Hitler, as well as to orchestrate other horrors in the world of the 1890s.  For fifty pages right in the middle of the novel, the author makes an abrupt shift.  The devil is "transferred" to Russia in time for Nicholas II's Coronation.  As baffling as this all sounds, Mailer has done his research.  The facts regarding Nicholas and Alexandra are accurate, right down to their letters and diary entries.  And of course, the Khodnynka Field tragedy is supposedly the work of "you know who."  Some readers will find this book one of Mailer's best, although others will, at best, think it is a strangely disappointing novel, and at worst, just plain bizarre.   Please note:  This should be considered an "R-rated" novel.

M. Breheny

The Final Chapter / Floor Plan of the Tobolsk Governor's Mansion
« on: February 20, 2007, 06:36:52 PM »
I am absolutely certain that a recent posting contained a floor plan of the Tobolsk Governor's Mansion, but, for the life of me, I cannot find the floor plan now, even after extensive searching.  (This is not to be confused with the floor plan of the Ipatiev House.)  Could someone point me in the right direction?  Thanks.

Palaces in St. Petersburg / Re: Chesme Palace
« on: February 01, 2007, 04:13:15 PM »
When we were in St. Petrsburg in July 2005 we hired a guide and driver to take us out to Tsarskoe Selo to visit the Alexander Palace.  On the way back to the city the guide asked our driver to stop at a beautiful red and white striped church.  To be honest, we didn't even get get the name of the church, and it was only after comparing my photographs with illustrations of churches in the area that I realized we had visited Chesme Church.  It is indeed lovely.  We did get inside but because there was a religious service taking place we couldn't really look around the interior.   In other words, the church is still being used as a church.  I am sorry to say, however,  that I didn't realize there was a palace nearby, but at least we saw the church. 


I just want to say that this thread is enormously fascinating.  All posters have made convincing arguments, and I look forward to future contributions on the subject. 

What I am trying to say is: more Alexander Palace threads should be as enlightening and as civilized as this one.  Thanks, folks.


News Links / Re: Novgorod style in Mandrogi
« on: November 06, 2006, 06:20:27 PM »
Thank you for sharing photographs of Mandrogi.  When we visited this charming "village" in July 2005, we were told that President Putin even has a dacha there (although no one could tell us if he had ever actually spent the night in it.)  In addition to the wonderful Russian architecture in Mandrogi, there are delightful examples of folk art, especially lovely wood carvings. Our visit  was like stepping back into 18th century rural Russia.  While the place is somewhat "touristy", we spent a pleasant day there. 


Maria Nicholaievna / Re: Sunburned
« on: September 14, 2006, 04:18:11 PM »
The above picture is the one I was referring to.  It appears on my copy of "Royal Russia."  Unfortunatley, I don't have that book with me tonight to give the author, etc.  The book contains, among other things,  photos from Marie's photograph album, which Marie gave to Dr. Botkin's daughter.  Anyway, I think the photograph definitely shows that the girls had recently been in the sun.


Maria Nicholaievna / Re: Sunburned
« on: September 13, 2006, 07:08:57 PM »
In the photograph of the four girls on the cover of "Royal Russia" you will see that they obviously had recently been in the sun.  Their low-necked dresses reveal definite tanned areas -- as if they had sat in the sun in v-necked blouses. It is quite visible and rather unattractive.  I am sure that Alexandra was not pleased with that particular picture.



Your video of the Alexander Palace is wonderful.  I felt as if I were there again, although you showed us far more than I had been  able to see during my visit last year.  Thank you.  After being away for the past three months, I was delighted that your video was the first thing I found when I logged back on to the Alexander Palace Time Machine.  It is good to be back!  Now I have to do more exploring and see what else is new.


Dear George:

What wonderful pictures.  Not only did I enjoy the photographs taken in pre-revolutionary Russia but I found the Harbin pictures fascinating.  What a contrast but, as others have pointed out, it seems that your grandmother adjusted well to her new life.  I think you have the makings of a a book!


Helen, you did an outstanding job.  I found your research fascinating.  Thank you.

And thanks, Bob, for your input.  I always learn so much from your posts.   I look forward to your future blog.

Forum Announcements / Re: Money for trip to St. Petersburg
« on: April 25, 2006, 04:20:17 PM »
I am sorry I failed to add that you do have to contact your bank before you leave to let them know you will be using your ATM card in Russia, as David wrote.  Also, let your credit card holders know the same thing.

I think the doctor who SLW is referring to was Armand Hammer.  He was a fascinating man who went to the newly created Soviet Union right after it was formed and became friendly with Lenin. Many of the items from pre-revolutionary Russia that ended up in the United States were purchased by Hammer and brought back to the U.S.  It is rather sad that an already-wealthy man became even wealthier by acquiring precious objects that had been stolen from their original owners.  

By the way, as I have stated in another post, I knew an old man (now deceased) who had been a friend of Armand Hammer in the 1950s.  


I just stumbled across this fascinating thread tonight.  Thanks to everyone for their wonderful translations.  Too bad I don't know Russian -- the book sounds incredible.  So far, I know the alphabet and a few words, but learning the language is a dream of mine.  


Forum Announcements / Re: Money for trip to St. Petersburg
« on: April 24, 2006, 04:21:29 PM »
I had no problem finding ATM machines in St. Petersburg.  In fact, even smaller Russian towns (such as Yaraslavl or Uglich) have ATM machines. The machines are easy to use -- just select English.   I took several hundred American dollars, most of which which I exchanged for rubles in St. P.  Any money I wasn't using was locked in the safe in our room.  As for using American money, sometimes I gave $$ as tips to tour bus drivers and/or guides but never paid in anything except rubles at street bazaars, etc.  Most shops and restaurants will take credit cards.   As others have written in their posts,  travelers' checks are useless in Russia and roubles can not be obtained outside of Russia.  

Have a great trip.



Alexis, Nicholas II and turkeys.

Anyone know where this was taken?


I think this picture was taken at Tobolsk.

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