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and life along the winding road

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Anastasia by Carolyn Meyer

Anastasia, The Last Grand Duchess by Carolyn Meyer is set in 1914 Russia and is written in diary form. Scholastic has a wonderful series of history books written from the point of view of a child. This particular series is called The Royal Diaries. Anastasia was the child of Nicholas (Tsar of Russia) and Alexander (of German descent).  At the time Russia continued to use the Julian calendar which added extra hours every year and by 1914 had increased the date by 13 days . Other countries were using the Gregorian calendar (adopted by Pope Gregory on the advice of astronomers in 1582). Each day of the diary shows dates for both calendars.  There are hints throughout the diary of unrest in Russia, although Anastasia only overhears tidbits here and there of what is going on in the country. The children of the Tsar are mostly secluded with tutors and with travels to and from various palaces throughout Russia. She mentions Father Grigory (Rasputin) who was sought out as a mystic healer for Anastasia's brother Alexei Romanov who suffered from hemophilia. It is some surprise to her when Frans Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary is assassinated in Sarajevo and  a month later Austrians attack Belgrade. Germany (Kaiser Wilhelm II) declares war on Russia. Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsarina Alexandra are both grandchildren of Queen Victoria. Anastasia is sad that her father is absent so much after war is declared. Her mother and older sisters begin nursing wounded soldiers and turn many of the palaces into hospitals. Civil war followed with the red (communists) and white (non-communist) armies fighting for power.  If you're not familiar with the story of Nicholas and Alexander their ending is very sad (You Tube video Death of Nicholas II below goes through the events).

A 1971 movie covered the family during the tumultuous times.




3 comments:

Joanne said...

sounds like a very neat way for kids to learn history and from a kid viewpoint. Excellent. I remember going through a Russian phase back in the day. The story of Anastasia was fascinating.

TracyK said...

This sounds like a very good book. I have read some about Nicholas and Alexandra, but not a lot.

Mason Canyon said...

Learning about history in this matter would be great for youngsters and adults.