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

A good introduction to the Romanovs

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I think that this book was a nice overview of the Romanov family. I am in no way any sort of expert in this area, but I feel like I was given a good taste of the families history. It has mad me want to learn more about this dynasty in Russian history. I am sure if you are a history buff you may know all the stories of the Russian royalty in this book and probably more. For those who may not know the history this is a wonderful starting point.

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- Daniel Burgon "DannyBoi01"

Caution... gruesome. Dead babies. Ugh.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Those with a strong stomach and no children of their own might enjoy it more.

Has Secret Lives of the Tsars turned you off from other books in this genre?


What does Enn Reitel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narration was superb - I just didn't enjoy the work.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Secret Lives of the Tsars?

Well, pretty much all of it.

Any additional comments?

I guess I wanted more debauchery and less murder. I had to stop listening because it was just horrible death after horrible death. If that's your thing, go for it. I'm returning it.

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- m wilson "When I meet myself, I'll let you know how it goes."

Book Details

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