After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Epoque Through Revolution and War

Helen Rappaport. St. Martin’s, $29.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-27310-9
Historian Rappaport (The Race to Save the Romanovs) delivers a glossy portrait of Russian artists and nobles who flocked to Paris in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Drawing on French tabloids and countesses’ diaries, Rappaport details scandalous affairs, sumptuous parties, extravagant shopping trips, and “rollicking night[s] out” at Maxim’s restaurant, where a Russian grand duke once presented his mistress, a high-class prostitute, with a pearl necklace worth 20 million francs served on a plate of oysters. She also describes how Russian performers, composers, and artists shocked and “entranced” Parisian audiences with their avant-garde ballets, and how Russian writers and poets overwhelmed the cafes of Montparnasse, causing local police to worry that revolution might spread to France. After the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917, Russian noblewomen found work as designers, seamstresses, and models in the fashion industry. (“The couture houses loved the willowy, fine-boned Russian women,” Rappaport notes.) Meanwhile, Russian men found jobs as taxi drivers or factory workers and crowded Paris’s Russian cabarets at night. Full of colorful anecdotes and sharp character sketches, this breezy account of life in exile entertains. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 11/24/2021
Release date: 03/08/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-83748-6
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