Reviews - What do customers think about An Englishman in the Court of the Tsar: The Spiritual Journey of Charles Syndney Gibbes?
The boring journey... Aug 28, 2001
Like most people who would be interested in this book, I was expecting some insight into the life of the last tsar and his family, as seen by someone close to the family. But, as the title implies, it's his SPIRITUAL journey the book chronicles, with a few well-known anecdotes on the imperial family thrown in. If your looking for a book on the Romanovs or Imperial Russian history, don't buy this book.
A Different View of Nicholas II and His Family Aug 27, 2001
Although this book is one of many written about the tragic deaths of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, it is different than those which often appear explotive. Gibbes's relationship with the Tsar and his family provides us with a deeper insight into the family life, and the unshakable rich faith of this noble family. The book is one of a kind, and an "easy" read. As one who has read many books on the subject of Russian hsitory, I could not recommend it more highly.
Not What the Title Implies Jul 22, 2001
I bought this book expecting its majority to discuss the life of Charles Sydney Gibbes, but it's more of an ill-researched portrait of history twisted to fit the author's opnions. Although the first and last few pages are devoted entirely to Gibbes, the rest is about this mass conspiracy that lead up to the revoultion that rarely mentions Gibbes at all (at least a hundred pages do not even relate to his journey or him in any way). I prefer a favorable picture of the imperial family, but even I cannot believe these "facts" presented, espcially since Ms. Benagh doesn't even to refute other opinions; moreover, she seems to say the starving peasants could have lingered on for a few more days. She uses a maximum of eight sources to support her book, all published and most are famous first-hand sources written in the 20s-40s that have been prooven to have some major falacies. Do not believe its claims to be using new resources from the collapse of the Soviet Union because unsolved mysteries in here have been solved and thoroughly explianed in many other books. This book does a decent job as presenting Gibbes as an affable person but is primarily conncerned on trying to rewrite history. If you decide to purchase this book, I want to forewarn you to read a good Romanov or Russian history book beforehand to be able to identify An Englishman in the Court of the Tsar's faults.
More than a spiritual journey; an intimate look at the Tsar Apr 23, 2001
American author, Christine L. Benagh, has written a moving biographical and historical journey of an Englishman who went to Russia in 1901 to escape the disillusionment of his faith-shattering theological education. As Charles Sydney Gibbes' reputation as an English tutor in St. Petersburg grows, he comes to the attention of the royal family, whom he eventually serves for ten years until their tragic demise. Through Gibbes' letters and papers, we catch an intimate view of the Tsar, the Empress and their children in their home or on vacation, having tea, doing their studies, playing games and going to Russian Orthodox services. Their lives are placed into historical context with quotes from the biographies, letters and papers of people who knew them.
Sadly, Gibbes is among the first to investigate the fateful Ipatiev house in Ekatarinburg, where the Romanovs and their entourage were murderously slaughtered by the Bolsheviks. Due to his intimate knowledge of the Romanovs, as well as his command of the Russian language, Gibbes continues working in Russia for a time for the British High Command. He eventually ends up in Manchuria, working for the Chinese Maritime Service, during which time he adopts a teenaged Russian orphan and studies firsthand various Eastern religions.
At the age of 52, Gibbes decides to return to his Christian roots, but he is once more shattered by politics in the Anglican Church. After a much soul searching, he embraces the Orthodox Church, where, back in England, he is tonsured as a monk and then ordained into the priesthood.
As Father Nicholas Gibbes, he spends the remaining years of life devoted to the Orthodox faith in England, and to preserving the memory of the Romanov family with the many artifacts and relics he personally collected.
While this outstanding book is called a "spiritual journey," the spiritual journey is actually a pretty slender thread through these turbulent times until the last two chapters. It works as an interesting biography within this period of history, as an intimate portrait of the royal family, as a small slice of Russian (and English) history, and finally as a spiritual odyssey. I'd recommend this to those interested in the Romanovs, the Bolshevik Revolution, spiritual journeys or the Orthodox Church.
Excellent Apr 4, 2001
If you would like a good, honest, brief explination of the events leading to the fall of the Romanovs, this is a great source. Nicholas II is one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented historical figures. Written from the perspective of Mr. Gibbes we have an insider's view of the events discribed. This book is well written, and presented in an interesting manner that keeps the reader turning the pages. Having read many books on the subject of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, I find this to be one of the better ones. Read this and Massie's "Nicholas and Alexandra" and you will have a good picture of what really happened. Thank you Chiristine for this excellent study!