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Smith, Douglas, 1962- author

A hundred years after his murder, Rasputin continues to excite the popular imagination as the personification of evil. The spectre of the lustful Siberian holy man and peasant still casts its eerie shadow over Russia's bloody twentieth century. Numerous biographies, novels, and films recount his mysterious rise to power as Nicholas and Alexandra's confidant and guardian of the sickly heir to the throne. His debauchery and sinister political influence are the stuff of legend, and the downfall of the Romanov dynasty was laid at his feet. Even during his lifetime Rasputin was shrouded in myth and his true story remains obscure today. Douglas Smith's 'Rasputin' separates fact from fiction to reveal the true life of one of history's most alluring figures

Paperback, Book. English.
Published London: Pan Books, 2017
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Available at Morley.

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Statement of responsibility: Douglas Smith
ISBN: 1447245857, 9781447245858
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Note: Originally published: London: Macmillan, 2016.
Physical Description: xx, 817 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (black and white, and colour), maps (black and white) ; 20 cm
Subject: Russia History Nicholas II, 1894-1917.; Russia Court and courtiers Biography.; Biography.; Rasputin, Grigoriì† Efimovich, 1869-1916.


  1. Section - i: List of Illustrations
  2. Section - ii: Maps
  3. Section - iii: Notes on Dates and Spelling
  4. Unit - Part One: HOLY PILGRIM 1869-1904
  5. Chapter - 1: Origins
  6. Chapter - 2: The Pilgrim
  7. Chapter - 3: Nicholas and Alexandra
  8. Chapter - 4: Monsieur Philippe
  9. Chapter - 5: Alexei
  10. Chapter - 6: The Burning Torch
  11. Chapter - 7: The Mad Monk
  12. Unit - Part Two: OUR FRIEND: 1905-1909
  13. Chapter - 8: To the Throne
  14. Chapter - 9: Rasputin-Novy
  15. Chapter - 10: Sects and Whips
  16. Chapter - 11: Demons of the Silver Age
  17. Chapter - 12: Anna Vyrubova
  18. Chapter - 13: The Eyes
  19. Chapter - 14: ". . . prayers that purify and protect us."
  20. Chapter - 15: The Investigation: Part I
  21. Chapter - 16: The First Test
  22. Chapter - 17: "better ten Rasputins . . ."
  23. Unit - Part Three: SCANDALS: 1910-1911
  24. Chapter - 18: Trouble in the Nursery
  25. Chapter - 19: The Press Discovers Rasputin
  26. Chapter - 20: In Search of Rasputin
  27. Chapter - 21: Prince Yusupov
  28. Chapter - 22: Holy Land
  29. Chapter - 23: Rasputin in His Own Words
  30. Chapter - 24: Iliodor's Triumph
  31. Chapter - 25: Two Murders
  32. Chapter - 26: Confronting the "Antichrist"
  33. Unit - Part Four: A TIME OF MIRACLES: 1912-July 1914
  34. Chapter - 27: Germogen's Fall
  35. Chapter - 28: Iliodor, Apostate
  36. Chapter - 29: Quousque tandem abutere patientia nostra?
  37. Chapter - 30: The Blow to the Alcove
  38. Chapter - 31: The Investigation II: Was Rasputin a Khlyst?
  39. Chapter - 32: The Miracle at Spala
  40. Chapter - 33: War and Celebration
  41. Chapter - 34: Gutter Talk, Name-Glorifiers, and Murder Plots
  42. Chapter - 35: On the Edge of a Precipice
  43. Chapter - 36: The Attack
  44. Chapter - 37: "This time it didn't work . . ."
  45. Chapter - 38: Iliodor's Flight
  46. Unit - Part Five: WAR: July 1914-1915
  47. Chapter - 39: A Menacing Cloud
  48. Chapter - 40: The Incident at the Yar
  49. Chapter - 41: Rasputin's Women
  50. Chapter - 42: Dinner with Rasputin
  51. Chapter - 43: The Religious Faces of Rasputin
  52. Chapter - 44: A Summer of Troubles
  53. Chapter - 45: The Tovarpar
  54. Chapter - 46: Nicholas Takes Command
  55. Chapter - 47: Rasputin, Favorite
  56. Chapter - 48: Fresh Scandal
  57. Chapter - 49: The Troika
  58. Chapter - 50: Gorokhovaya
  59. Chapter - 51: Dark Forces and Mad Chauffeurs
  60. Chapter - 52: Another Miracle
  61. Unit - Part Six: THE FINAL YEAR: 1916
  62. Chapter - 53: Revolution in the Air
  63. Chapter - 54: The Minister Plots Murder
  64. Chapter - 55: Iliodor in America
  65. Chapter - 56: With Us or With Them
  66. Chapter - 57: Rasputin the Spy?
  67. Chapter - 58: Rasputin and the Jews
  68. Chapter - 59: "The sun will shine . . ."
  69. Chapter - 60: Apotheosis
  70. Chapter - 61: Stupidity or Treason
  71. Chapter - 62: "Vanya has arrived."
  72. Chapter - 63: "My hour will soon strike"
  73. Chapter - 64: The Last Day
  74. Chapter - 65: A Cowardly Crime
  75. Chapter - 66: The Investigation
  76. Chapter - 67: The Body in the Water
  77. Chapter - 68: The Romanov Family Drama
  78. Chapter - 69: Orgies, Gay Love, and the Secret Hand of the British
  79. Chapter - 70: The End of the Tobolsk Yoke
  80. Unit - Part Seven: THE AFTERMATH: 1917-1918
  81. Chapter - 71: A Time for Dominoes
  82. Chapter - 72: Here Lies the Dog
  83. Chapter - 73: The Myth
  84. Chapter - 74: Unsettled Business
  85. Section - iv: Epilogue
  86. Acknowledgements - v: Acknowledgements
  87. Section - vi: Bibliography
  88. Section - vii: Endnotes
  89. Index - viii: Index

Author note

Douglas Smith is an internationally recognized expert in Russian history and the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of numerous articles and three books, including, most recently, Former People (also published by Pan Macmillan). Before becoming a historian, Douglas Smith worked with the U.S. State Department in the Soviet Union and as a Russian affairs analyst for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.


Douglas Smith has delivered the definitive biography that is brilliantly gripping, as hypnotic, wild and erotic in its revelations as the Mad Monk himself, sensitive in its human portrait, astute in its political analysis, superbly researched with rich new material gathered in faraway archives, and populated with the zaniest cast of the deranged Romanovs, depraved bishops, whores, mountebanks, adventuresses, mystics and murderers.||The most comprehensive account of Rasputin to date, brimming with complexities and fascinating detail, and stands as an enlightening re-evaluation of this crucial figure in Russian history.
Daily Telegraph||Douglas Smith begins this impressive biography by rubbishing almost everything previously written, stripping away a century of myth, fabrication, gossip and lies . . . a fascinating, often entertaining, biography.
The Times||Utterly fascinating and foreniscally detailed . . .There are plenty of Rasputin biographies already, but its superlative scholarship and attention to detail put this one in a class of its own.
Sunday Times||This brilliantly written, meticulously researched account of the life of Rasputin is the best, most complete and accurate I have ever read. Step by step, day by day, week by week in this life, Douglas Smith tells the story from its humble beginnings, through its obscene sexual chapters, to its violent end. He describes how a peasant became 'Our Friend' to the last emperor and empress of Russia. He explains why this dependency came at terrible cost for the imperial couple, for their children, for Russia, and for the Twentieth Century world. Readers will begin by saying that this is an impossible story to believe. They will read on because, in Douglas Smith's mesmerizing telling, it must be believed. And because it did happen.||Some years ago when working on a historical novel I had to read all the existing Rasputin biographies, and they do abound - in all literary styles and in many languages. What a pity that Douglas Smith's Rasputin had not yet been published, it would have saved me a lot of time. If you are interested in the story of the Romanovs' pet prophet this is the book to read.||A prodigious piece of scholarship. Doug Smith's exhaustive and forensic examination of a wealth of new and previously unseen evidence finally lays to rest the tired old myth of 'the mad monk' and rightly positions Rasputin as a crucial figure in late Imperial Russian history.||Douglas Smith understands that history is not only what happened, but what people think happened. In Rasputin, he deftly unpicks myth, legend and fact, separating and examining each thread, before weaving them back to create a pattern not merely of a man, but of a time, and a place, and a revolution. It is, itself, revolutionary.||Few figures in 20th century history have been more obscured by myth and legend than Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin, the mystic confident of the last tsar and tsarina. In his research, comprehensive to the nth degree, Douglas Smith has dug up previously unseen archives, followed previously unexplored leads, and connected the dots across the Russian landscape. They're dots of blood. Rasputin reveals the true character of the man without minimizing his malign hold on the loathsome, feckless Romanovs.||The very best biographies illuminate an individual and the time and place in which they lived. In this magisterial, exhaustively-researched work on Rasputin, Douglas Smith paints a rich, detailed portrait of one of history's most fascinating individuals while also chronicling the dramatic last days of the Tsar. It's a wondrous read.||It is hard to imagine a historical figure more barnacled with myth than Rasputin. Douglas Smith unravels Rasputin's complex narrative in unprecedented detail, showing how he was a kind of chimera onto which could be hung all the ills of a disintegrating Russia. In the process Smith vividly exposes the astonishing blindness of the ruling class that made its tragic end inevitable. A brilliant achievement.||The most complete and masterful study of Rasputin that I've read. Douglas Smith's work is not only extraordinarily readable, but rich in detail.

Back cover copy

'If you are interested in the story of the Romanovs' pet prophet this is the book to read.' Boris Akunin, author of the Erast Fandorin mysteries

A century after his murder, Rasputin is still widely seen as the personification of evil and the truth has remained shrouded in myth. In this acclaimed biography, Douglas Smith separates fact from fiction to reveal the real Rasputin in all his complexity - man of God, voice of peace, loyal subject, adulterer, drunkard. The result is not only a definitive biography of an extraordinary man, it is also a riveting portrait of the twilight of imperial Russia as it lurched toward catastrophe.

'Douglas Smith begins this impressive biography by rubbishing almost everything previously written, stripping away a century of myth, fabrication, gossip and lies . . . a fascinating, often entertaining, biography.' The Times

'The definitive new biography' Anne Applebaum, Harper's Magazine

'An admirably encyclopaedic account of the fantasy life of early-twentieth-century Russians, as well as a multifaceted image of the Rasputin of their imagination . . . richly illuminating' Lucy Hughes-Hallett, New Statesman