• Secret Lives of the Tsars

  • Three Centuries of Autocracy, Debauchery, Betrayal, Murder, and Madness from Romanov Russia
  • By: Michael Farquhar
  • Narrated by: Enn Reitel
  • Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 07-08-14
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.2 (113 ratings)

Regular price: $31.50

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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.
©2014 Michael Farquhar (P)2014 Random House Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Daniel Burgon on 07-14-14

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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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By William D. Pappas on 03-26-17

Russia Out Loud

If you could sum up Secret Lives of the Tsars in three words, what would they be?

Having just return from Russia and walked in the palaces of St.Petersburg and Moscow I found this book fascinating. A truly grand performance.

What did you like best about this story?

That it was true.

Have you listened to any of Enn Reitel’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No just facination of Russian history

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Nick Pice on 02-08-17

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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5 out of 5 stars
By Teresa Cooper on 10-12-15

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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