Kill the Tsar: Youth and Terrorism in Old Russia

K. C. Tessendorf, Author Atheneum Books $13.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-689-31124-6
With great talent for story-telling, historian Tessendorf traces the roots of the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881. This comparatively liberal tsar used compromise to avoid civil war but inadvertently contributed to his own demise, having freed 25,000,000 serfs and offered education to the masses. His intention was to train the professional force needed to bring Russia into the industrial revolution. This plan, which took form in the 1860s, also created a group of nihilist radicals who rejected reform, hoping to dismantle the social structure and replace it with something new. The assassins, Andrei and Sonia, were the son of a serf and a daughter of the aristocracy; he was educated as a lawyer, she as a physician's assistant. The book's unusual subject matter becomes highly relevant in its parallels with the 1960s generation, and its timely examination of terrorism. (12-up)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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