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It is easy to think of the daughters of the last tsar of Russia as a group—four girls, close in age, usually photographed in similar white dresses. In editor Azar's translation of diary entries by Grand Duchess Olga (1895–1918), the eldest of Nicholas and Alexandra's children emerges as a distinct individual. The Romanovs were keen diarists: Olga was trained to keep note of her daily activities from a young age. The excerpts chosen by Azar (Free Lib. of Philadelphia) from the archival originals in Russia focus on Olga's nursing service in the hospital established at the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg during the World War I and her social gatherings with friends and family, with brief mentions of her personal feelings. (For example, when Rasputin was murdered in 1916, she wrote simply, "It's so terrible, should not even write.") Olga stopped her diary in 1917 before the arrest of her family, but the volume continues chronologically with "additional documents of the period," including letters from Olga to her family, excerpts from the diary of Nicholas II, and memoirs from other intimate friends of the Romanovs until one month before their execution in July 1918. Azar offers helpful annotations throughout, explaining nicknames and family relationships. VERDICT This is a must-read for buffs of late tsarist and Romanov family history.—Megan H. Fraser, Univ. of California, Los Angeles, Libs.