Secret Lives of the Tsars

  • by Michael Farquhar
  • Narrated by Enn Reitel
  • 12 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"Michael Farquhar doesn't write about history the way, say, Doris Kearns Goodwin does. He writes about history the way Doris Kearns Goodwin's smart-ass, reprobate kid brother might. I, for one, prefer it." (Gene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Washington Post columnist)
Scandal! Intrigue! Cossacks! Here the world's most engaging royal historian chronicles the world's most fascinating imperial dynasty: the Romanovs, whose 300-year reign was remarkable for its shocking violence, spectacular excess, and unimaginable venality. In this incredibly entertaining history, Michael Farquhar collects the best, most captivating true tales of Romanov iniquity. We meet Catherine the Great, with her endless parade of virile young lovers (none of them of the equine variety); her unhinged son, Paul I, who ordered the bones of one of his mother's paramours dug out of its grave and tossed into a gorge; and Grigori Rasputin, the "Mad Monk", whose mesmeric domination of the last of the Romanov tsars helped lead to the monarchy's undoing. From Peter the Great's penchant for personally beheading his recalcitrant subjects (he kept the severed head of one of his mistresses pickled in alcohol) to Nicholas and Alexandra's brutal demise at the hands of the Bolsheviks, Secret Lives of the Tsars captures all the splendor and infamy that was Imperial Russia.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Incredible - Dark - Horrific - Inspiring

Gripped from chapter one and I didn't want chapter 18 and the finale to ever come, I've long loved the mystery of the Russian Tsars, of the mighty cossacks, mad monk Rasputin and the beauty of St Petersburg - I wasn't disappointed, this book has it all. I never realised the 300 year reign of the Romanov dynasty was so full of madness, so much death and that the final end of Nicolas & Alexander and their children was so gruesome.

it's a long book, it takes some serious listening but it's well recorded and while I don't remember the names of every character, I feel I know a lot more than I did.

Rasputin, what a man he was! No one Boney M made a song about him, he deserved one for all the madness in his short life - "Ra Ra Rasputin, lover of the Russian Queen".... and quite a few more besides it seems?
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- Nick Pice

The Tsars.

We'll written and narrated. The book showed me many things about the Tsars I hadn't known and reminded me of many facts I knew. A good book that's not hard to listen to. Recommended for historians and non historians alike.
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- Teresa Cooper

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2014
  • Publisher: Random House Audio