The Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life by Sofka Zinovieff

One of Sofka Zinovieff's ancestors was wheeled in to her trial at the hands of a revolutionary tribunal. She told them about her court positions and the contributions that she'd made to public life - orphanages, libraries, dowries, and other charitable works. Then she said: "And now let me tell you who you are. You are murderers and assassins, cut-throats and rebels, tyrants, robbers, scoundrels..."
Her cause of death was supposed to be a heart attack, but the story goes that she was shot immediately.

Sofka Dolgorouky was not that ancestor, but she was just as interesting. This grandmother of the authors was hated by many of Zinovieff's relations because of her scandalous life and her taking to Communism. This is perfectly understandable because of the suffering and tyranny the Russian aristocracy endured at the hands of the Communists, of course.

It is with some trepidation that Zinovieff sets out to uncover her story, especially when her uncle tells her that promiscuity is in the blood because of Catherine the Great! But she unfolds the fascinating truth about her grandmother in a very enjoyable book - although it is sometimes harrowing.

I can't say much more without telling the story, but I can say that I totally disagree with Dolgorouky's politics but Zinovieff does make her grandmother's point of view understandable.

Anyone with a liking for Russian history or biography will enjoy this book.


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