Anna Anderson, the woman who claimed for most of her life to be Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia, was an eccentric who today could probably star in the television series "Hoarders."
But her life and the mystery surrounding her claim is the subject of the interesting recent biography "The Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson and the World's Greatest Royal Mystery," by Greg King and Penny Wilson.
Scientists proved conclusively a few years ago that 17-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia was murdered along with the other members of the Russian Imperial family in July 1918.
Submitted Photo - - At 432 pages, “The Resurrection of the Romanovs” retails for $35.
Anderson, whose real name was Franziska Schanzkowska, was a Polish-Kassubian factory worker who stumbled into the story when she was taken to a mental hospital after a suicide attempt. One of the other patients noticed a resemblance between the unknown patient and a picture of the czar's daughter in a magazine.
For whatever reason, perhaps simply because becoming Anastasia sounded more interesting than her own life, Anderson didn't deny it when asked.
Eventually the mystery surrounding her led her to make contact with Russian exiles, people who had known the real Anastasia and wanted to be convinced. The mystery was still unsolved when Anderson died in the early 1980s.
King and Wilson do an expert job of reconstructing the story and where Anderson might have picked up some of the inside information she knew about Anastasia's family life. The book also delves further into Schanzkowska's family background than any previous work I've read and attempts to decipher her motivation and those of family members who let her charade continue.
This is a book well worth reading for anyone who has ever been intrigued by Anastasia and the Romanov family.