The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II by Edvard Radzinsky - review by Claus von Bulow

Claus von Bulow

A Botched Job

The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II


Hodder & Stoughton 405pp £19.95 order from our bookshop

The author clearly has an affinity with his subject: Nicholas II was an incompetent ruler and Mr Radzinsky is an incompetent historian. Before I say another unkind word let me quote from the chapter where he introduces us to Alix of Hesse, the future Tsarina:

‘Hills grown up in forest descended into the misty valley of the Rhine, beloved by Goethe. There lay Darmstadt – at the season of her birth it would have been drowning in flowers, and in the Palace museum hung a Madonna by Hans Holbein.’

At first I assumed that the translator, Marian Schwam, had graduated from the school that renders the instructions on Japanese electrical appliances into English. However it soon becomes clear, from her translation of the diaries and letters of the Imperial family and other members of the Court and Government, that

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