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

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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- William D. Pappas

Book Details

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