Anastasia: The Lost Princess

Anastasia: The Lost Princess

by James Blair Lovell
     
 

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[nastasia] reads like a detective novel, [and] presents an often shocking portrait totally at odds with the Anastasia legend of stage and screen. The fullest account of the mystery to date. --Publishers Weekly  See more details below

Overview

[nastasia] reads like a detective novel, [and] presents an often shocking portrait totally at odds with the Anastasia legend of stage and screen. The fullest account of the mystery to date. --Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Was Anna Anderson of Charlottesville, Va., who died in 1984, the princess Anastasia, survivor of the Bolshevik massacre of the Russian imperial family, as she claimed to be? In the fullest account of the Anastasia mystery to date, freelance writer Lovell unconvincingly argues that she was indeed the daughter of Nicholas II and Alexandra. In 1976 the author met Anastasia and her husband, John Manahan, eccentric scion of a wealthy Virginia family. Drawing on interviews and on unpublished materials, including some 100 hours of taped dialogue with Anastasia recorded in the 1960s by a Russian investigator, Lovell pieces together this temperamental, reclusive woman's sad, bizarre life, which encompassed stays in German asylums, several breakdowns, depression, paranoia, poverty and endless court cases against her detractors. This chronicle, which reads like a detective novel, presents an often shocking portrait totally at odds with the sugar-coated Anastasia legend of stage and screen. Photos. Author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Readers will encounter a truly bizarre cast of characters here. First there is the ``heroine,'' Anna Anderson, who claimed to be Anastasia, the fourth daughter of Nicholas II, miraculous only survivor of her family's murder. Around her swarm minor European royalty, shady fortune hunters, credulous Americans, and assorted crackpots. The author, who must rank as the most assiduous of the ``Anastasia scholars'' he frequently invokes, is a complete believer in her story. He pursues every rumor, denounces every doubter, and seems to accept every story his heroine told, including one of a meeting with Hitler, who promised he would restore the Romanovs. Lovell concludes his saga with details of his hunt for a fifth imperial daughter, unknown to history. Those who want to believe his absurd tale will find much here to reinforce their illusions. Most libraries can skip this.--R.H. Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ontario
Kirkus Reviews
The story—apparently definitive—of Anastasia, the fourth daughter of Czar Nicholas II of Russia. Free-lance journalist Lovell (The New York Times, The Washington Post) writes of Anastasia's escape at age 16 from the 1917 assassination of her family, of her desperate but futile attempts to establish her identity, of her struggle to overcome the fictional representations of her in films (one starring Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar), songs, plays, and novels—and of his own experience writing this book, working with the aged recluse (who believed him to be a reincarnation of her father), the "Czarina of Charlottesville, Va." that she had become. Curiously, Anastasia's true life is more of a fairy tale than the fictions: a foundling of questionable origins; rescued from a suicide attempt in a Berlin canal; periodically committed to asylums for mental aberrations and tantrums; tested on the basis of a scar, a disfigured toe, an anecdote or riddle; and, finally, rescued by a Virginian gentleman, John Manahan, who married her to keep her from being deported and ended up sharing her bizarre world. Unfortunately, her disagreeable personality made her more the witch than the princess—demanding, argumentative, deceitful, imperious, suspicious, disheveled (except when one N.Y.C. hostess gave her a charge account at B. Altman); surrounded by legions of cats, dogs, and mementos of all sorts; and consumed by hatred for the British royal family, who, she claimed, refused to recognize her because they had confiscated her dowry. She died at age 83, in 1984. Lovell is a splendid narrator, balanced, sympathetic, with a rare eye for the ironic (Anna reveals her identity to him whilesitting in the lobby of a movie house where King Kong is playing). The major irony: how a Russian female without beauty, charm, money, talent, or training managed to live for most of the 20th century without ever having to work, existing on the faith, however imperfect, of those who needed to believe in her. A great, absorbing read by a gifted storyteller. (Two eight-page photo inserts—not seen.)

From the Publisher

“A great, absorbing read by a gifted storyteller. . .Lovell is a splendid narrator, balanced, sympathetic, with a rare eye for the ironic.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Reads like a detective novel, {and} presents an often shocking portrait totally at odds with the Anastasia legend of stage and screen. the fullest account of the mystery to date.” —Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780895265364
Publisher:
Regnery Publishing
Publication date:
01/28/1991
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
528
Product dimensions:
6.35(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.64(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A great, absorbing read by a gifted storyteller. . .Lovell is a splendid narrator, balanced, sympathetic, with a rare eye for the ironic." --Kirkus Reviews

"Reads like a detective novel, {and} presents an often shocking portrait totally at odds with the Anastasia legend of stage and screen. the fullest account of the mystery to date." —Publishers Weekly

Meet the Author

Eminent Romanov historian James Blair Lovell's major work, Anastasia: The Lost Princess, was first published in 1991. When he died in 1993, he left behind a vast and important archive of Romanov documents and artifacts.

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