Rasputin: The Untold Story

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John Wiley & Sons, Oct 30, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 284 pages
37 Reviews

Legend portrays Rasputin as the "Mad Monk" who rampaged through St. Petersburg in an alcoholic haze, making love to scores of women. A symbol of excess and religious extremism, he was believed to hold a mysterious power, emanating from his hypnotic eyes, over Tsar Nicolas II and his family. The fact that he was neither mad nor a monk has not stopped scores of writers from repeating these and other bogus claims.

In Rasputin: The Untold Story, Rasputin scholar Joseph Fuhrmann shares the fruits of his two-decade search for the truth about Rasputin through previously closed Soviet archives. The man he discovers is entirely human and even more fascinating than the Svengali-like caricature imagined by millions.

This definitive biography unveils the truth behind Gregory Rasputin's storied life, controversial relationships, and much-discussed death. Fuhrmann unearths previously unknown details from Rasputin's childhood and his early years as a farmer and itinerant preacher to his decade-long relationship with the Romanovs.

This exposť features an account of the Church investigation into charges that Rasputin was a member of the heretical Khlysty, as well as the report from a new bishop that resolved the case in Rasputin's favor. It provides a new and accurate account of a deranged woman's attempt to murder Rasputin in the summer of 1914 and a pioneering exploration of Rasputin's and the Romanovs' surprising tolerance of homosexuals—men who were out of the closet and forging public careers that would have been inconceivable anywhere else in the world at the time.

But what of Rasputin's mysterious powers? Was he a faith healer who actually stopped the hemophiliac tsarevich's bleeding at will? Could he hypnotize and control others with his eyes? Is it true that his murderers first poisoned, then shot, then beat him, before throwing him into an ice-choked river, where he finally drowned? Was British intelligence involved in the plot to murder Rasputin? Fuhrmann answers these questions and many more.

Whether or not he possessed superpowers, Rasputin was an undeniably powerful figure who played an important role in the Russian Empire's collapse. Fuhrmann portrays Rasputin's relationship with Nicholas and Alexandra through previously unpublished letters from the tsar and his wife to Rasputin and excerpts from Rasputin's personal notebooks.

Complete with many rare photos, including studio photographs of Rasputin, and samples of his handwriting, Rasputin: The Untold Story does more than set the record straight. It tells the powerful and tragic story of a man who started out with noble intentions and sincere convictions but fell victim to greed, lust, temptation, and his own power.

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Review: Rasputin: The Untold Story

User Review  - Will Nelson - Goodreads

The author's focus here appears to be setting the historical record straight or completing it with various details he has uncovered. This is good in that it's pointless to read a biography where all ... Read full review

Review: Rasputin: The Untold Story

User Review  - Jason Lytle - Goodreads

I really liked it had a nice flow and breezed right through it. Fuhrmann challenged a lot of the existing myths. Using the then recently opened Russian archives. Some interesting stories that I did not hear before. Also tracks down his family members which is rather tragic. Read full review

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About the author (2012)

JOSEPH T. FUHRMANN, Emeritus Professor of History at Murray State University in Kentucky, received his PhD from Indiana University, one of the leading centers for Russian studies. He attended Moscow University from 1965 to 1966. His first biography of Rasputin, Rasputin: A Life, was regarded as the best book on the subject. Since gaining access to previously closed Soviet archives, he has worked from 1991 in Russian repositories and studied a host of unpublished documents. The first biography inspired documentaries on A&E and the History Channel. He has appeared in three programs as an interviewed guest and as script consultant for two of them.

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