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
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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.
'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