Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lee A. Farrow's "Alexis in America"

Lee A. Farrow is professor of history and distinguished teaching professor at Auburn University–Montgomery.

About her new book, Alexis in America: A Russian Grand Duke's Tour, 1871-1872:
In the autumn of 1871, Alexis Romanov, the fourth son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, set sail from his homeland for an extended journey through the United States and Canada.... Alexis in America recounts the duke’s progress through the major American cities, detailing his meetings with celebrated figures such as Samuel Morse and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and describing the national self-reflection that his presence spurred in the American people.

The first Russian royal ever to visit the United States, Alexis received a tour through post–Civil War America that emphasized the nation’s cultural unity. While the enthusiastic American media breathlessly reported every detail of his itinerary and entourage, Alexis visited Niagara Falls, participated in a bison hunt with Buffalo Bill Cody, and attended the Krewe of Rex’s first Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. As word of the royal visitor spread, the public flocked to train depots and events across the nation to catch a glimpse of the grand duke. Some speculated that Russia and America were considering a formal alliance, while others surmised that he had come to the United States to find a bride.

The tour was not without incident...
Here Farrow dreamcasts an adaptation of Alexis in America:
What a dream come true that would be! Obviously, since my book is nonfiction, I am choosing actors I like who I think look the parts. If my book became a movie, I would want Aaron Taylor-Johnson to play Grand Duke Alexis; Matthew McConaughey to play Custer; Jude Law to play General Sheridan; Matt Bomer to play Buffalo Bill; and, Diane Kruger as Alexandra Zhukovskaya. There would have to be dozens of others, but these would be the main characters.
Learn more about Alexis in America at the LSU Press website.

Writers Read: Lee A. Farrow.

--Marshal Zeringue