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Summary

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 20th 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. Rasputin draws on a wealth of forgotten documents from archives in seven countries and is the most thoroughly researched biography ever written. Demolishing the caricature of the holy devil, Smith's account presents Rasputin in all his complexity - man of God, voice of peace, loyal subject, adulterer, drunkard. More than just the story of an extraordinary life, Rasputin offers a fascinating portrait of the twilight of Imperial Russia as it lurched towards catastrophe.

©2016 Douglas Smith (P)2016 Macmillan Digital Audio

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Narrator

Book ruined by the narrator. Is this a made up accent? Verbal emphasis in all the wrong places.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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More (and less) to Rasputin than The Boney M song

I'm fairly ignorant when it comes to history so a lot of this was new to me and I got a lot out of it. I've learnt a lot about Rasputin, Russian society before the revolution and some of the causes of the revolution and also the Orthodox Christian church. But boy is this a long book! You have to concentrate hard and I found the narrator's style a little odd and robotic. But I reccommend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I got 4 minutes in and had to stop.

There is an art to reading a book aloud that this gentleman is sorely lacking.

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A good piece but overly long.

I understand the need to explain the historical context of a person but I do feel there was a bit too much about 'other' people ; it felt like the history of the Romanovs more than anything else. The murder of Rasputin was a very small section of the book and warranted further examination. The conclusion was nigh on non-existent. Still, a good book if looking for a more general history book. Could have been tightened by cutting down the length by half.

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Definitive biography on Rasputin

Douglas Smith has taken every story we know about Rasputin and delved into the facts like an historical detective. He has found discrepancies on dates and a lot of 'fake news'.
It is a fascinating, thorough read, which also imparts much about the desperation and susceptibility of the Russian Empress and society at the time.

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it is a well researched biography

More of a treatise than a biographical novel. well detailed and attempts to create good imagery of early 19th century Russia / Europe in audience's mind. I must say I enjoyed it ... rather I was able to easily endure a voluminous book. monotonous voice-over adds feel to the serious topic this book deals with.

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Always interesting.

I really loved this book, the subject has always interested me and there is so much information about this man I find this book pulls it together brilliantly.

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My God, they gossiped to their very end.

They gossiped and chatted about Rasputin to thier very ends. This book opens the doors to the very rooms where the elite signed thier own death warrants. Rasputin is only one of the many powerful personalities you'll discover in this book. You will be taken to the very people who created Rasputin.

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This book changed my mind about Rasputin

Everything I have ever read about the years leading up to the Russian Revolution had convinced me that Rasputin was one of the chief culprits in the demise of Russia as it was known up until that time. He was evil, debauched and would stop at nothing for power.
After extensive research, Douglas Smith has produced a book which has completely changed my mind about this much vilified/adored, charismatic/weird man.
He was undoubtedly the scapegoat for all the problems of the Romanoff dynasty. Imperialists found it easier to blame a peasant with the “evil eye” than a weak Tsar who did not possess the strength or wisdom to rule Russia and prevent Revolution.
A deeply religious man with supposed super-natural powers, he was a loving husband and family man who cared about the poor and suffering. This deeply controversial man also
loved women and was unfaithful to his wife (with her consent, it would seem).
Haunting, mesmerising eyes and an innate ability to read minds and predict future events gave him the reputation of a mystic. Tragically for him and his country, the saying “no smoke without fire” allowed these “powers” to feed his critics with myths that grew out of all proportion to reality and become the truth to millions.
The only fault I have with this book is that it is too long. Many “stories” were so similar to each other it seemed like repetition and could possibly have been omitted.
Good narrator with clear diction which is a help when listening to such a long audiobook that requires much concentration.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful