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Book Reviews: Anastasia: The Life Of Anna Anderson + The Year's Best Horror Stories: Series XI part1

Anastasia: The Life Of Anna Anderson by Peter Kurth

The cover of this 1985 print of the 1983 original declares dramatically: these five children were shot and bayoneted in 1918...did Anastasia survive? Kurth is far from impartial, he devoutely believed Anna Anderson was a Grand Duchess of Russia denied her name by her greedy mean relatives.


Of course Anna Anderson was a fraud. But that was proven years after this book was published and Anna Anderson was dead. But before the bodies and the DNA tests, there was this study in credulity. It is obvious (but not to Kurth) that she was a mentally ill fraud who was either exploiting the gullible or was exploited by them. Her lack of Russian and shady and later outright crazy behaviour is shrugged off. Kurth didn't seem to believe the Tsar and his family were executed. He lays out realms of information. At one point Anderson had a cat named Kiki. What became of Kiki?


He dismisses witnesses to the murders as liars, he handwaves away Anderson's insane behaviour by saying it was trauma and he also dismisses as liars, the family of the sick Polish factory worker Anderson was eventually revealed to have been. Kurth took her word as gospel apparently he later even dismissed the bodies and DNA evidence.


Anderson made enemies of allies, alienated all friends, never said thank you and scared people. The Romanovs acted bizarrely, some recognised her as the lost Grand Duchess and others did not. This book is a misleading factual picture of who Anna Anderson was. Could she have been a con woman or an exploited woman with a brain injury?


Kurth goes on and on about belief and wanted to rectify the Romanovs denial of Anna Anderson. He fails to see the reason Anna Anderson's case was so fraught with difficulty was because she wasn't Anastasia. How could Kurth believe that the Bolsheviks didn't even deign to murder one Grand Duchess? This is a good book to read to see delusion and confirmation biasis in action.


Best Lines:

“What would happen when this woman, who had spent so long telling people she was still alive, actually – finally – died.”


“Who they held in contempt.”


~
Karl Edward Wagner Presents The Year's Best Horror Stories: Series XI

This 1983 DAW anthology has a strikingly memorable cover and no Stephen King.


Introduction

Magazines were still a thing in 1982. This is an interesting look at a vanished publishing world.


Best Line:

“Juvenile delinquency, moral decay and communism,”


The Grab

By Richard Laymon. His issues with women are obvious. A hick bar hides horror. This was okay.


Best Lines:

“Pair of unescorted females.”


“Sneered at her.”


The Show Goes On

By Ramsey Campbell. Going into a long closed cinema is a bad idea, this was okay but the end makes no sense.


Best Line:

“Devoted twenty years of writing to convincing readers to stay away from that city.”


The House At Evening

I've read this before. Vampires lurk in an old dark house.This was okay.


Best Line:

“Remember your company manners.”


I Hae Dream'D A Dreary Dream

A climber encounters something. This was mediocre.


Deathtracks

By Dennis Etchison. The grimness of the 80s and social alienation and the the decade of no hope are laid bare. This still makes no sense.

Tags: 2nd hand book store find, book review
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