From the bestselling author of Stalin and The Last Tsar comes The Rasputin File, a remarkable biography of the mystical monk and bizarre philanderer whose role in the demise of the Romanovs and the start of the revolution can only now be fully known.
For almost a century, historians could only speculate about the role Grigory Rasputin played in the downfall of tsarist Russia. But in 1995 a lost file from the State Archives turned up, a file that contained the complete interrogations of Rasputin’s inner circle. With this extensive and explicit amplification of the historical record, Edvard Radzinsky has written a definitive biography, reconstructing in full the fascinating life of an improbable holy man who changed the course of Russian history.
Translated from the Russian by Judson Rosengrant.
Ever since the brutal murder of Grigory Rasputin on the eve of the Russian Revolution, morbid fascination has assured the semiliterate peasant a legacy in infamy. Now, armed with a newly discovered trove of testimonies from Rasputin's inner circle of devotees, Radzinsky (The Last Tsar) promises to "solve" the mystery of Rasputin's death. A veteran writer of Russian history, Radzinsky writes as if a historian must also be a sleuth and a psychiatrist. It's no wonder, then, that his book, which has the makings of a genuine expos , goes more than a little off the rails. His latest effort is a muddle of conjecture that reads like a made-for-television docudrama. It is true that the evidentiary file--compiled by a revolutionary commission in 1917 and bought at auction in 1995 by the famous cellist Mistoslav Rostropovich--contains new and often sensational material. However, a transcription of the titillating details of Rasputin's sexual escapades coupled with "who's who" captions for previously printed photographs cannot be equated with, in the author's words, "a unique investigation." More inadequate is Radzinsky's claim to have solved a great mystery when he declares that Rasputin was felled (but not killed) by a bullet from Assassin B (the Grand Duke) and not from Assassin A (a collaborator), as has so long been thought. Even if it is true, one wonders how relevant such a theory is in light of the more miraculous fact that Rasputin died from drowning--after his poisoned, bludgeoned and bullet-ridden body was dumped in the Neva River. Lovers of history and pulp fiction alike should rejoice that this account fails to crack the enigma of Rasputin.
The Rasputin File
High marks, especially if you can carve off the time for reading all 3 books (Tsar, Rasputin, Stalin). Among the 3, Stalin comes off as the utterly fascinating psychopath, the Tsar as the regular guy born into a role he didn't want (but his wife, different story!), and Rasputin...well, he did rock star stuff, never said he was a plumber. Great weaving together of all 3 stories, I learned so much!
This is a history book that reads like a novel. Unlike in many other books about Rasputin, you can see better what is myth and what is fact.Its amazing how this charismatic peasant was able to influence so many people, most importantly the tzar family,and, as a result, he influenced the flow of history itself. Great book!