Read Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life by Sofka Zinovieff Online


From a privileged childhood in Tsarist St Petersburg to dedicated member of the British Communist Party, the life of Sofka Dolgorouky resembles a seismograph of the great upheavals of the 20th century. In this deeply personal biography, Zinovieff explores the turbulent, often scandalous life of her grandmother....

Title : Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781862079199
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 189 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life Reviews

  • Wealhtheow
    2019-03-10 05:35

    Princess Sophy Dolgorouky (called Sofka) was born in 1907 into an ancient family of nobility. She grew up in an atmosphere of incredible privilege and cossetting, raised by her stiff grandmother and, intermittently, her rebellious surgeon mother and diletante father. Her family fled to Europe during the Bolshevik revolution, and lived nomadic lives while their prestige and money slowly dribbled away. Sofka, strong-willed, intellectual, sensual, charismatic, and with a fire for social justice, shocked her family throughout her life. She divorced her suitable first husband, spent little time or energy on her children, and by her thirties was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party. Despite desperate situations (she nearly starved several different times, lost the love of her life after only a few years of marriage, was interned in a Nazi camp, her mother committed suicide while she was in the house, etc), Sofka refused to do anything less than what she wanted and felt was needed. From a jeweled upbringing to a homey little cottage in Cornwall, Sofka's journey is a riveting one.

  • Nick
    2019-03-07 05:53

    Sofka Dolgorouky, the author's grandmother, led one of those remarkable lives that only the cataclysms of the twentieth century could offer. She began life as Russian nobility and ended it in the Cornish countryside with a labor activist. Along the way, Anna Akhmatova recited poetry in her house and she worked for Laurence Olivier. She began life in a palace in St. Petersburg with a vacation home in the Crimea, but also lived in a tent, spent much of the war imprisoned by the Nazis (where she managed to save enough Jews--although, painfully, not her lover--to be honored by the Israelis), and finished her working live arranging tourist jaunts to the Soviet Union for Western leftists. The author is helped in making her grandmother come to life by her many vivid letters and a memoir (as well as one by her Dolgorouky's own mother of a harrowing trip across Europe to save her husband from the early Soviets). But the author is also an intrepid yet congenial investigator, traveling to the long-confiscated family estate, unearthing documents, tracking down surviving friends and documenting the details (down to her grandmother's methods of avoiding conception with her many lovers). But all that vividness had a cost: three children largely abandoned; one husband divorced, the other lost on a bombing mission for the RAF; a lover sent to his death in a concentration camp, another victim of a lobotomy. The author shrewdly uses the material to illuminate some of the twentieth century's agonies, and along the way renders and affectionate and lively portrait of an irresponsible, often endearing, and in the end irrepressible woman of her time.

  • Kenghis Khan
    2019-03-09 13:35

    It starts out with an intriguing enough idea - a Russian aristocratic exile who becomes a mucky muck in British high society, survives Nazi occupied France in a prison designated for "enemy nationals" and comes to embrace the Bolshevik revolution and became your stereotypical British socialist grandmother. But despite this incredibly compelling subject, I felt the book was a bit too self-indulgent and in the end failed to adequately deal with the complex political realities that shaped the people of the time. It's an interesting story to be sure and I'd recommend it, but there was something a bit self-righteous and too eager to embrace the excessively conventional historical analysis of the USSR about the attempt to personalize the story that ended up alienating me more than I thought.

  • Miriam
    2019-03-04 08:31

    I'm about halfway through and am enjoying this book very much. The author does a good job of tempering the aristocratic aspect of her ancestors and focussing on the daily events of people who were caught up in turmoil. It also leads me to think about what else was going on all over the world at the same time.

  • Ann
    2019-03-16 08:32

    I enjoyed this book because I think this time period in history (especially Europe) is so interesting. The Princess (as many monarchy families (?)) I found to be spoiled and self serving - she was a horrible parent and wife. But she did try to help the Jews while imprisoned by the Germans at Vittel and she led an interesting life with all her travels. You got the feeling though that the author (granddaughter & whom she was named after) tried her best to put a positive spin on her life. As I mentioned, the history of the time period was worth the read.

  • Lorraine
    2019-02-28 08:43

    A fascinating life story! Written by the granddaughter of a Russian princess, it encapsulates much of the history of the 20th century. I couldn't help thinking about my own grandmother who was born a few years before Princess Sofka and how different their lives were!

  • emily
    2019-02-23 06:54

    The story was great. This woman had an amazing life, which she herself wrote about. It seemed like everyone mentioned had written an autobiography. It makes me want to read all of them to see what they left out and what their great grand daughter dug up later.

  • Sue Jellum
    2019-02-25 08:41

    Interesting read, but I'm not sure the woman was really so extraordinary she deserved a book. Very selfish woman glorified by her grandaughter - look how progressive she was, she had affairs and ignored her children before that became popular!

  • Margaret
    2019-03-02 13:48

    Incredible true story told by her granddaughter. Her curiosity from finding her grandmother's diaries. led her to search her past life.A very unusual woman who seemed to be before her time regarding her attitude to life.

  • Corey
    2019-03-01 06:37

    The fascinating true story of a woman who was born in pre-Revolutionary St. Petersburg, and her life wandering across Europe. Filled with history, adventure, and romance.

  • Mary Kay
    2019-03-18 12:31

    Very interesting overview of the Russian revolution and the place royalty played in it. The book focuses on the diary of the author's grandmother who was a Russian princess and became a communist.