Synopses & Reviews
Accessible and authoritative, this biography covers the truth behind the shadowy figure of Gregory Rasputin. Rasputin features in Russian history as a malign and destructive force, a man with an unhealthy influence on the Empress Alexandra and undue power in Russian politics. Yet his purposes were ostensibly beneficent. An uneducated peasant, he left Siberia to become a wandering "holy man" and soon acquired a reputation as a healer. The empress was desperate to find a cure for hemophilia from which her son Alexei suffered, and in 1905 Rasputin was presented at court. His positive effect on the heirs health made him indispensible. But his religious teachings were unorthodox, and his charismatic presence aroused in many ladies of the St. Petersburg aristocracy an exalted response, which he exploited sexually. Shady financial dealings added to the atmosphere of debauchery and scandal, and he was also seen as a political threat when he was assassinated in 1916.
About the Author
Harold Shukman is the author of Agents for Change, Redefining Stalinism, and Stalin's Generals.