Romanov Book of the Year for 2019: ‘The Romanov Royal Martyrs’

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My personal choice for Romanov Book of the Year! – Paul Gilbert

Based on its comprehensive research and new information, The Romanov Royal Martyrs: What Silence Could Not Conceal is my personal choice for the Romanov Book of the Year for 2019. If you read just ONE book on Nicholas II and his family, make sure it is this one! – Paul Gilbert

NOTE: The book is set to arrive in North America at the end of November, and distributed to readers throughout the United States and Canada. As a result, I have had to exercise great care in writing this review. As a courtesy to those who have not yet read the book, I did not want to give anything away, or publish any spoilers, therefore, I have used material from the publishers web page and added my own additional comments and notes to this review- PG

* * *

The publication of the English edition of The Romanov Royal Martyrs: What Silence Could Not Conceal is the crowning glory of a unique and comprehensive project of the Holy Monastery of St. John the Forerunner of Mesa Potamos in Cyprus. Originally published in Greek in February 2018, the long awaited English edition was published in September of this year.

The book draws on letters, testimonies, diaries, memoirs, and other materials never before published in English to present an honest and unique new study of Nicholas II and his family. 

The work aims to present Nicholas II and his family through the prism of their spiritual grandeur and the purity of their souls. A lively portrait of the Imperial family emerges from their own personal writings and in the writings of those who lived very close to them. The result is a psychographic biography which explores the essential character of the Imperial family in a deeper and inspiring way.

Furthermore, the work brings to light a multitude of unknown and unrevealed facts, aspects and elements of history, which evince that many truths in regard to the life and martyrdom of the Imperial family remain silenced or distorted to this day. The book presents unvarnished factually sourced events, deriving all its material stringently from primary sources, which allow no grounds for questioning their legitimacy, gravity, and validity.

Thus, many major historical events, such as the 1905 revolution and Bloody Sunday, Russia’s involvement in World War I, the myth of the “Bread Revolution”, the February coup d’état of 1917, the plots and conspiracies to overthrow Nicholas II from his throne. the treachery, cowardice and deceit of the tsar’s ministers, generals and even members of his own family, the events relating to Nicholas’ II abdication, among others are set in their true proportions and presented through a proper perspective.

Since the publication of Robert K. Massie’s classic Nicholas and Alexandra in 1967, other Western historians have published their own assessments of Nicholas II, some of whom arrogantly arguing that their work is the “final word” – they were WRONG! Sadly, many people have blindly accepted these often negative assessments of Russia’s last tsar as the truth. With the publication of The Romanov Royal Martyrs, readers may be surprised by the facts surrounding the historical events noted above, because as noted, up to now these events have been presented in an inaccurate light.

In addition, this book presents the most accurate account of the murder of the Romanovs ever presented in a book. No fictional additions. The information used in The Chapter of Blood draws exclusively from the memoirs and depositions of the murderers and the guards, as well as from the official forensic investigations and studies of the remains. The chapter also includes unpublished material relating to the family’s imprisonment in Ekaterinburg. Of particular note are excerpts from the testimonies of the nuns of the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent in Ekaterinburg, who were taking provisions to the Imperial Family at the Ipatiev house, and from the testimonies of Ipatiev guards.

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Dr. Pytor Multatuli, Russia’s foremost expert on Nicholas II 

Among the historians who worked in the research team together with the fathers of the Mesa Potamos Monastery are Nicholas B.A. Nicholson, Helen Azar, Helen Rappaport, Sophie Law, and George Hawkins, all noted specialists in Romanov history.

A very significant member of the project team is Dr. Pytor Multatuli, and one whose contribution adds credibility to this publishing project. Multatuli is a renowned Russian author, journalist, historian, and Professor at the Moscow State Institute for Culture and Arts. He is recognized as Russia’s foremost authority on the life and reign of Nicholas II. His works on these subjects are unparalleled, yet sadly overlooked or ignored by his Western counterparts. 

I was delighted to read numerous quotes from the memoirs of General Alexander Spiridovitch (2 Vols.) and Semyon S. Fabritsky are included in this book. I am very proud to note that the first English translations of both were published by the publishing division of Royal Russia during the last decade. Both Spiridovitch and Fabritsky knew Nicholas II personally, their memoirs reflect their honest, eye-witness assessments of the last tsar and his family.

The Romanov Royal Martyrs is an impressive 508-page book is in three parts: Part I: In the Path of Love (4 chapters); Part II: In the Path of Blood (2 chapters); and Part III: In the Words of the Saints. 

It includes nearly 200 black and white photographs, and also features a 56-page photo insert, of more than 80 high-quality images of the tsar and his family, all of which have been colourised by the acclaimed Russian artist Olga Shirnina (aka Klimbim), and  appear here in print for the first time.

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The only criticism I have of the book are a number of errors which I found in the book. Many readers may not even recognize them, however, those who are familiar (particularly the purists) with Nicholas II and his family are sure to note. Perhaps some of the meanings were simply lost in translation? 

For instance, the use of some of the titles throughout the book, such as “crown prince” or “tsarevich”[1] when referring to Nicholas Alexandrovich and Alexei Nikolaevich, instead of the correct “tsesarevich”[1] * Please see my notes at the bottom of this review – PG

The widowed wife of Alexander III is referred to as the “widowed Queen Mother” instead of the correct “Dowager Empress.” Maria Feodorovna was never “Queen” of Russia, she was Empress!

Even referring to Nicholas II and his family as “royal,” instead of “imperial” is incorrect. I have to confess that I am also guilty of using “Royal Family” instead of the correct “Imperial Family”, and have been criticized over the past 25 years for naming my web site “Royal Russia” instead of “Imperial Russia”. 

On page 78, the translation of “Tsarskoye Selo” is incorrect. “Tsarskoye Selo was essentially a village, as it’s very name implied, which means “Royal Village.” The correct translation of the Russian spelling Ца́рское Село́ is in fact “Tsar’s Village”. The Russian word “Ца́рское” is quite often mistranslated and misused by Westerners as “royal”.

Another word that I would like to point out is on pg. 64: ” . . . Nicholas and Alexandra, under an imperial canopy . . .” The proper term for this “canopy” is baldachin. [2] * Please see my notes at the bottom of this review – PG

On page 136, I was distressed to read “Nicholas named his son in honor of his beloved ancestor, Tsar Alexis.” Sadly, this is an error often noted by many Western historians.

It was Robert K. Massie (among others), who have led us to believe that the only son of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, was named after Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich (1629-1676) . . . this is incorrect.

The long-awaited son and heir to the Russian throne was named Alexei, in honour of St. Alexei of Moscow.

Saint Alexius (1296–1378) was Metropolitan of Kiev and all Russia (from 1354). He was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1448 and is revered as one of the patron saints of Moscow.

Also on page 136, “From Nicholas’ diary six weeks after the birth of Alexis . . . Alix and I were very concerned about the bleeding of little Alexei from his umbilical cord . . .”. It has generally been accepted that Alexei began bleeding from his navel at the age of six weeks . . . this is also incorrect.

Two noted Romanov historians Margarita Nelipa and Helen Rappaport both tell us otherwise, that Alexei’s bleeding was noted the day following his birth. Their claim is based on two separate, yet reliable sources.[3] * Please see my notes at the bottom of this review – PG

On page 151, Rasputin is referred to as a muzhik (a Russian peasant), when in fact he was a Strannik (a holy wanderer, or pilgrim).

On page 279, ” . . . they set out by boat from the village of Pokrovskoye . . .” this is also incorrect. The Imperial family arrived by train from St. Petersburg in Tyumen, where they continued their journey to Tobolsk by boat, passing Pokrovskoye. [4] * Please see my notes at the bottom of this review – PG

Despite my criticisms above, this should not in any way deter any one from reading this book, nor should they in any way diminish the extensive research that went into it, which at long last presents the TRUTH!

I personally applaud the monumental efforts that went into this book. It presents much new material which dispels the many myths and lies about Nicholas II. Finally, the reader learns the truth about the tragedies which befell the tsar during his 22+ year reign, and the evil gossip which flowed freely in the salons of the capital, not to mention the vitriol distributed by the revolutionaries, whose propaganda turned the Russian people against their sovereign.

I am often asked to recommend a book, which tells the true story of Nicholas II, Alexandra Feodorovna and their five children. My answer was always the same, “It has yet to be written” – up until now!

The Romanov Royal Martyrs: What Nature Could Not Conceal‘ can now be considered the definitive work on the Imperial Family. It puts to rest so many of the negative myths, held for more than a century, and rehashed over and over again in the last 50 years by so many so-called Western experts. At long last the truth has been told! If you read just ONE book on Nicholas II and his family, make sure it is this one!

I think so highly of this book, that it will be placed on a special shelf of books in my home library, books which inspire and guide me, and include the Holy Bible King James Version, The Orthodox Study BibleRussian Golgotha and Last Tsar. Nicholas II, His Reign & His Russia.

Based on its comprehensive research and new information, I do not hesitate in naming The Romanov Royal Martyrs: What Silence Could Not Conceal as my personal choice for the Romanov Book of the Year for 2019! 

I pray that this review will inspire many others to buy this book, read it, and keep it’s words close to their heart. Click HERE to order your copy.

Click HERE to review the Holy Royal Martyrs web site, which includes excerpts from the book, photos, videos, articles and more 

© Paul Gilbert. 18 November 2019

NOTES:

[1] English sources often confused the terms Tsarevich and Tsesarevich, both distinct words with different meanings. Tsarevich (Russian: Царевич) is a Slavic title given to tsars’ sons. Under the 1797 Pauline house law, the title was discontinued and replaced with Tsesarevich (Russian: Цесаревич) for the heir apparent alone.

[2] “The procession of Emperor Nicholas II from the Assumption Cathedral on 26 May (Old Style 14 May, 1896), “was rich and imposing beyond the reach of exaggeration. The baldachin under which the Emperor walked was richly covered with velvet and cloth of gold, surmounted by plumes of ostrich feathers in three colours—–black, white, and yellow. This was supported at intervals by lances of ebony and mother of pearl, and held firmly by golden cords. The baldachin and cords were carried and held respectively by sixteen aides-de-camp generals of the highest rank in the imperial service.”

Source: Gilbert, Paul (Editor). The Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II. Published by Gilbert’s Books. 2012 (see page 36)

[3] “One day after Alexei’s birth, Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich (1854-1931) came to congratulate the sovereign and stayed for lunch. Upon his departure, the sovereign mentioned the presence of “blood on the diapers”. Returning to his Znamenka estate (in Alexandria), he repeated this detail to his wife who telephoned Nikolai II (before visiting Alix later that evening). During their conversation, he said that the doctors had confirmed that the atypical bleeding was indeed due to haemophilia.”

Source: ‘Alexei. Russia’s Last Imperial Heir: A Chronicle of Tragedy’ by Margarita Nelipa. Published by Gilbert’s Books in 2015

[3] Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich and his wife Grand Duchess Militza Nikolaevna (1866-1951) had driven over to the Lower Dacha the day Alexei was born . . . as their son Prince Roman Petrovich (1896-1978) later recalled in his memoirs [published in Danish].

‘When they returned in the evening to Znamenka, my father remembered that . . . the Tsar had told him . . . That the doctors were concerned about the frequent splatters of blood in his swaddling clothes. . . .”

Grand Duke Peter telephoned the palace, “When the Tsar answered that they had hoped that the bleeding would soon stop, my mother took the receiver and asked if the doctors could explain the cause of the bleeding. When the Tsar could not give her a clear answer, she asked him with the calmest of voices she could manage: ‘I beg you, ask them if there is any sign of haemophilia’ . . . The Tsar fell silent on the phone for a long time and then started to question my mother and ended by quietly repeating the word that had staggered him: haemophilia.”

Source: ‘Four Sisters. The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses’ by Helen Rappaport. Published in 2014

[4] From the diary of Nicholas II, 4th August 1917. We got over the Ural Mountains and felt the cold air. The train passed Yekaterinburg in the small hours of morning. It dragged on and on incredibly slowly, so that we arrived in Tyumen only at 11:30 pm.

The train pulled in almost to the quay and the only thing we had to do was to board a ship. 

Then the reloading of cargo began and it went on all through the early morning. We departed from Tyumen by the river at around 6 am.

Pierre Gilliard noted in his memoirs: “We passed the native village of Rasputin, and the family, gathered on the deck, were able to observe the house of the staretz . . . “

 

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