The rumors that one of Nicholas II's daughters survived the Russian imperial family's savage murder led to a slew of claimants to the Russian throne. The most famous was Anna Anderson (1896-1984), whose legal battle for recognition as the youngest daughter, Anastasia, spawned the longest-running German court case of the 20th century, as well as books, a Broadway play and a memorable film with Ingrid Bergman playing Anna. A decade after her death, DNA tests proved that Anderson was not Anastasia but a Polish peasant; an aspiring actress, she had been in and out of German mental sanitariums until, after a 1920 suicide attempt, her claim to be Anastasia brought her to the world's attention. Anderson's bizarre clutch of supporters, comically but sympathetically portrayed by Welch, included social-climbing White Russians and an eccentric American millionaire who married Anderson when she was 72 (he was 23 years her junior). Chief among her true believers were Gleb Botkin, whose father, the Romanov physician, had been murdered alongside the czar. Anderson's denouncers included the czar's sister Xenia and Prince Felix Yussoupov, Rasputin's murderer. Welch (The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes) has researched a complex and compelling history, a testament to the power of self-delusion and the desperate human need to believe in something bigger than ourselves. 54 illus. (Sept.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
A Romanov Fantasy: Life at the Court of Anna Andersonby Frances Welch
Did the seventeen-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia survive the massacre of the Russian imperial family in 1918? Over the years, the possibility that the youngest of the tsar’s four daughters might have escaped the killings has provided rich spawning ground
An extraordinary story of tenacity and intrigue, and the deep human urge to salvage hope from tragedy.
Did the seventeen-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia survive the massacre of the Russian imperial family in 1918? Over the years, the possibility that the youngest of the tsar’s four daughters might have escaped the killings has provided rich spawning ground for claimants. By far the best known of these was Anna Anderson, a mysterious young woman who appeared in Berlin in 1920. Anna attracted a bizarre coterie of supporterssome of whom had known the grand duchess as a childwho risked life and limb, and often all their savings, in a desperate attempt to prove that Anastasia had, after all, survived. But who was Anna Andersonand just how did she manage to convince so many people that she was the real Anastasia? Frances Welch’s A Romanov Fantasy is a tragic comedy in the best Russian traditiona compelling, eerie, and frequently hilarious study of discipleship, snobbery, and life after death.
Welch (The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes) writes compellingly about Anna Anderson, the woman who claimed to be the surviving Grand Duchess Anastasia, youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas, who was murdered with his family in 1918. That someone may have survived this massacre has provoked many claimants throughout the years, giving credence to the decision to call this book "a Romanov fantasy." The author takes readers through the appearance of Anna Anderson in Berlin in 1920 and the gathering of a swarm of supporters-including some of Anastasia's childhood friends, who risked everything to prove that Anderson was truly the Grand Duchess Anastasia. The book is filled with photographs, anecdotes, stories, and innumerable sources (including contact with supporters of Anderson) that reflect the belief that she was the youngest daughter of the czar. Whether or not readers believe this, Welch offers engrossing insights, leaving the DNA-derived answer to the final chapter. (Many readers may remember the culminating news story in any case.) Recommended for public libraries interested in Russian history or good nonfiction historical mysteries.
Mary C. Allen
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.90(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.30(d)
Meet the Author
Frances Welch, coauthor of Memories of Revolution and author of The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, has written about the Romanovs for the Sunday Telegraph and Granta. She lives in Wiltshire, England.
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I'll spare you..........She's not Anastasia. Of course we all know she was an imposter, but I thought a good story or some poignancy may have surrounded Anna A's life. No, and there is no compelling story here, just a boring chronology of those who met and did or did not believe she was Anastasia.