THE SECRET PLOT TO SAVE THE TSAR: The Truth Behind the Romanov Mystery

Shay McNeal, Author . Morrow $25.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-688-16998-5

Russian history is replete with mysterious political deaths, none more compelling and long-lasting than the assassinations of Nicholas II's family. Recent DNA evidence purported to prove conclusively that the last of the czar's family was indeed killed by the Bolsheviks in July 1918, but McNeal doesn't buy it. A longtime historical researcher who has contributed to both the BBC and the Discovery Channel, McNeal amasses a pile of circumstantial evidence in her attempt to question this account. Basing some of her information on recently declassified files, she shows how Allied, German and Bolshevik officials formulated plans to save the Romanovs, who were held in captivity before they were executed. But McNeal is on shakier ground when she disputes the widely believed deaths of the Romanovs mainly on the basis of second-hand accounts, some internal inconsistencies and wild speculation—such as when Pres. Franklin Roosevelt remarked that he had a controversial historical assassination that he wanted solved—because the DNA tests still represent the most scientific information available in this case. As McNeal herself admits, "[B]ut what can be asserted with certainty is that the true historical account has yet to be completely constructed." As a result, the book is unlikely to engage readers beyond those already enthralled by the Romanov case. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 11/01/2002
Paperback - 343 pages - 978-0-06-051755-7
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