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The Rasputin File

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,022 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
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 Russi
Paperback, 576 pages
Published December 4th 2001 by Anchor (first published January 1st 2000)
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Just a little over a year ago, I asked Santa to bring me some books on historical bastards. This was one of the treats that Santa (or rather, NikNak) responded with.

Prior to reading this, the only thing I really knew about Rasputin was that he was apparently Russia’s greatest love machine (thanks, Boney M). I now know that he was actually just Russia’s most persistent lech, but I also learnt a lot more (including the surprising revelation that this all happened so recently. Thanks to the ready a
Jul 26, 2007 Smashpanda rated it it was amazing
I read this book for a friend and even though my interest on the topic was minimal at the beginning of the work I was completely drawn into the entire Russian empire at that time by the time I was finished. The author gives you more than just a Rasputin biography here which is the main pulling point of this work of non-fiction; he gives you a background and history lesson of the entire Russian court and all of the key players in history at that time rather than just following the path of Rasputi ...more
Dec 19, 2009 Nathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Awful. Radzinsky's one strong point is his access to the titular file, which enables him to reveal information not found in other accounts of Rasputin and the Romanovs. But he is not a good enough writer to handle the information; this is a clunky, unbearably boring book, full of characters who don't do anything and events that don't portend anything and prose that barely means anything. I don't know if his choppy, fragmented style is the result of something lost in translation, but this was pai ...more
Mar 24, 2012 Sera rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, own
For a man who is incredibly fascinating, this book was a real snoozefest.
Feb 21, 2011 Ally rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 07, 2007 Laura rated it it was amazing
I got this book as a birthday present from Nick a bunch of years ago and I have finally just gotten around to reading it. Before I even begin, let me just say that I am big into Russian history. Prior to reading this book, I mostly was interested in the Lenin and Stalin periods of Russian history, but this book definately made me want to know more about the period right before it. This book is so great because it is written so much like a novel. It's really exciting and dramatic as the author us ...more
Steve Shilstone
Mar 07, 2016 Steve Shilstone rated it liked it
This book explains how a mystic peasant holy man debauchee came to darn near rule Russia via his tremendous influence over the tsarina Alexandra, who herself was the power behind her husband Nick's throne.
Jun 01, 2012 Sasha rated it liked it
My interest in anything Romanov occasionally borders with obsession so if there is a book about this subject,you can bet I will read it.
Found this one in local bookshop and of course had to buy it although at this point I am very familiar with the story,but here we have fresh files (unearthed from somewhere and sold on Sotheby's auction,presented as a gift to author),photos and less known characters.

It is a huge,occasionally very exhausting story that covers not only royal family and their inner
☽ Moon Rose ☯
Paganism has made an indelible mark in Christianity from the time of its birth, incorporating its antiquated mystic culture into the mainstream of its belief unbeknownst mostly to all, yet it is deeply ingrained in the tradition of the Christian thought. It has somehow created a convoluted world of endless discord in the pursuit of which is the truth, or which is the false.

The mysticism that envelops the figure of Rasputin during the last days of Tsarist Russia best illustrates this fusion of da
Timothy Boyd
Jul 25, 2015 Timothy Boyd rated it really liked it
One of the most misunderstood and scariest men every to live. This book covers his life from his discovery as a humble monk to the man behind the throne of Russia. A slow to read but very interesting book. Very Recommended
Jul 22, 2015 Ollie rated it liked it
It's hard to imagine a biography of Rasputin being complete without the documents that Radzinsky has unearthed. These are the police reports, official testaments and interviews with the different people that had a chance to interact with the man. Long thought destroyed, they magically popped up in an auction in Paris, and as luck would have it Radzinky got a hold of them.

Radzinsky most definitely makes an exhaustive attempt of telling what Rasputin's life was like and who people believed he was
Jan 26, 2015 Martin rated it liked it
I'd recommend this book - with one caveat - for anyone who's fascinated by early Twentieth Century Russian history, or a general interest in some of the events that led up to the First World War.

The only significant issue it suffers from is the fact that the author and/or translator makes it a rather heavy-going read, so quite a bit of patience is needed to see it through to the end. If you persevere with it though, I'd say it's a thorough and insightful attempt to explain a very complicated and
I wanted to give this book a higher rating - after all - I liked it enough to read all 503 pages! It started off very promising. Radzinsky's basic questions about Rasputin were similar to my own (and everyone else's). Unfortunately, despite access to a file missing from the Soviet archives for decades - he sort of muddled this fascinating part of Russian history up for me. I can't explain it. His quotes and references are great - he pieced the story of the strange power Rasputin held over the Ts ...more
I own, and have read, dozens of books about Rasputin. This one is the biggest. I am thinking of reading only the right-hand pages... Don't read it in bed because you will be injured when you fall asleep and it falls on your face.

The author has in his possession a file on Rasputin which was sold at Sotheby's but rightfully belongs to the Russian archives (i.e. stolen). In spite of this massive pile of "new" information, which the author regurgitates (view spoiler)
Jun 15, 2014 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gente que le apasiona la historia de Rusia
Un libro construido a partir de los hechos y que ayudan a colocar a Rasputín en un marco histórico concreto con su historia y su circunstancia.

Este libro complementa a otros como Nicolás y Alejandra así como El Fin de los Romanov. Una persona clave y que al final de todo era un ser humano que desgraciadamente sus obras socavaron las bases de la monarquía rusa.

Un enigma del siglo XX.
Feb 18, 2011 Braxton rated it it was amazing
This is the best book about Grigori Rasputin I have found. It is interesting, and not at all dry and boring like a lot of historical books. This book practically wrote an eight page research paper for me. Out of a whole stack of books about Rasputin, this was the one I kept coming back too for references.
Jul 22, 2015 Alesia rated it liked it
The only reason I read this book was because I wanted proof Felix wasn't the one who actually killed Rasputin. Although Radzinski has many advantages over other authors writing about Rasputin (I mean, he owns all the materials of the Rasputin Case - purchased by a friend at an auction!) yet I can't say he makes his best use of them.
I believe Rasputin's story, the story of the last Emperor of Russia and the "October" Revolution is best told in Memoirs by Felix Yusupov. I read them in one night,
Jul 04, 2009 Ns rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great writer; great access to materials.
Sonia Lathem
Apr 25, 2016 Sonia Lathem rated it it was amazing
The Rasputin File is a very dense, detailed account of the last years of Rasputin's life based on the interrogation files made by the Provisional Government after the fall of Tsarism in Russia. The file was located by the author after many years of searching, he collaborated information via other archival records where possible and thus gives us a very different point of view on how Rasputin influenced the end of the tsars and how Rasputin's death occurred. I found this book a useful addition to ...more
Allison Grindle
Nov 17, 2014 Allison Grindle rated it liked it
I was disappointed by this book. I feel I don't know much more about Rasputin the person despite a long 500-page slog through this book. I don't know if the writing felt clumsy because of the translation or because the author is a poor writer. You can certainly tell he is a TV presenter as his fragmented sentences would clearly lend themselves to a dramatic TV show. The cast of characters is enormous and you don't necessarily gain much by reading about all the minor people. What apparently place ...more
Oct 13, 2013 J. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm just not enough of a history buff to read something quite this detailed, so maybe I have myself to blame for getting bogged down in this. It isn't a bad telling, but it is really detailed at times. And I do have to say that the severe overuse of sentence fragments is pretty distracting.

Having said all of that, the ending is a pretty serious payoff. The author describes "the facts" of what happened the evening of the murder, then tells what he thinks REALLY happened, and that's where it reall
Dec 09, 2012 Nancy rated it liked it
Shelves: history, russia
When I was young I thought that Rasputin was fictional like Ebenezer Scrooge or Simon Legree--a exaggerated character representing a real truth. Rasputin was not a made up character. He was a real living person who figured heavily in the lives of the Romanov family and the lead up to the Russian Revolution, but the true history of his life is not easy to discover.

This book purports to use original letters, diaries and police reports to present an unbiased biography of Rasputin, but it doesn't qu
Diane Supinski
Oct 19, 2012 Diane Supinski rated it liked it
The one thing I will say about this book is that it definitely had a lot of information as well as a large cast of characters. That is why I gave it a rating of 3 stars. I tried to keep track of everyone, and the reference guide at the beginning of the book helped, but it still was confusing. I also think the author put in too many excerpts from the "file" The "file" was the main source of reference for the book. Having said that, I still got the gist of it, which is, an uneducated peasant had a ...more
Aug 19, 2008 Heidi rated it liked it
Whew. Took me a long time to get through this one. I guess I liked it, but I can't give a rave review. Although I learned quite a few facts and factoids about Rasputin and this period of Russian history, I don't feel I gained any understanding of the man, his contemporaries or the times. However, that might have been the author's point: it was a crazy time, and Rasputin and his motivations may be impossible to understand. Given that, I don't think that the much-touted "Rasputin File" shed as muc ...more
Feb 03, 2013 Jos rated it really liked it
Very interesting and good in depth look at the way in which Russian Orthodox Christianity functioned on a peasant level, as well as interacted with the thinking of the Tsars. Especially the reflection on the Khlysty sect was fascinating - the cycle of redemption, elation, full observation and participation in life including giving into the flesh/sinning, which leads again to repentance and redemption; a purification rite in which Rasputin was most likely a participant, if not a secret proponent. ...more
I got this in the Dom Knigi bookstore in St Petersburg in the beautiful old Singer building. I don't know if it was a bad translation or what, but this book was almost unbearable to read, with very awkward, jolting language. Radzinsky is not really a serious historian, but more of a media personality and writer. He seems to follow Alexander Solzhenitsyn's sort of history writing, which is like, semi-fictionalized nonfiction. But the problem was that it felt so poorly written that any power that ...more
Hessa Issa
Nov 30, 2013 Hessa Issa rated it it was amazing
If only all biographies were like this..
I really loved it and I was really sad when it ended, which is surprising, seeing how I don't get too attached to non-fiction, but those were real people which makes it all that much sadder.
Rasputin's death has always been this bewildering legend to me, and to have it explained and rationalized, it takes the magic out of it. I felt like a child finding out that Santa or the Tooth Fairy don't exist anymore. It was very disenchanting.
I love this biography
Hans Hoffmann
Feb 01, 2016 Hans Hoffmann rated it it was amazing
As bizarre an incident as one will read about in world history. It helps one understand how "sorry" Czar Nicholas and Czarina Alexandra really were. I always enjoy Radzinsky's writing as he comes from the stand point of a playwrite, so his books read more like great fiction then traditonal historical story telling
Jun 15, 2014 Peter rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Gente que le apasiona la historia de Rusia
Un libro construido a partir de los hechos y que ayudan a colocar a Rasputín en un marco histórico concreto con su historia y su circunstancia.

Este libro complementa a otros como Nicolás y Alejandra así como El Fin de los Romanov. Una persona clave y que al final de todo era un ser humano que desgraciadamente sus obras socavaron las bases de la monarquía rusa.

Un enigma del siglo XX.
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Radzinsky is an author of more than forty popular non-fiction books on historical subjects. Since the 1990s, he has written the series Mysteries of History. The books translated to English include his biographies of Tsars Nicholas II and Alexander II, Rasputin, and Joseph Stalin. His book Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives discusses ...more
More about Edvard Radzinsky...

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