Russian playwright and historian Radzinsky mines sources never before available to create a fascinating portrait of the monarch, and a minute-by-minute account of his terrifying last days. Updated For The Paperback Edition.
Historians have long believed that Lenin personally ordered the murder of Czar Nicholas II and his family in July 1918; this contradicts the official Soviet version, in which Siberian Bolsheviks ordered the executions without Moscow's clearance. Radzinsky, a Russian playwright, adds many valuable pieces to the jigsaw puzzle in an hour-by-hour reconstruction of the slaying, based on royal diaries and newly uncovered eyewitness accounts from the executioners. The author unearthed the testimony of Lenin's bodyguard, who said that Lenin had ordered him to destroy a secret telegram (and its transmittal ribbon), which contained the top Bolshevik's order to carry out the executions. Oral testimony by a soldier who participated in the killings, given decades later to an informant whom Radzinsky interviewed, alleges that two bodies were missing from the truck that took the executed royal family to an unmarked grave; this will fuel speculation that Anastasia and Alexei, heir to the throne, survived the fatal night. Using the diaries of Czar Nicholas and Empress Alexandra, Radzinsky also presents a fragmentary account of Romanov family life, their kidnapping and the abortive plots to save them. Photos. (July)