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The Rasputin File

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  849 ratings  ·  74 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
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Paperback, 576 pages
Published December 4th 2001 by Anchor (first published January 1st 2000)
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Smashpanda
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
Nathan
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
Sera
For a man who is incredibly fascinating, this book was a real snoozefest.
☽ 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
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Laura
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
Martin
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
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lvwoolf
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
Braxton
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.
Ns
Great writer; great access to materials.
Allison
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
J.
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
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Nancy
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
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Diane Supinski
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
Sasha
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
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Heidi
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
Ally
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jos
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
Audrey
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
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
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Xavier
Jun 15, 2014 Xavier rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Natasha
Dec 07, 2008 Natasha rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history lovers, autobiography enthusiasts
Shelves: non-fiction, history
The Rasputin File is a meticulously researched and enlightening piece of work about one of history's most mysterious characters. You instantly become immersed in the author's narrative, compounded by a sense of impending doom in the years leading up to the Romanov family's demise. I have rarely read a piece of non-fiction this gripping or provocative (the complex and intertwining stories of all the Romanovs occasionally reads like a soap opera, although recollections of things like perishing in ...more
Kati
Well all I can say is fas-cin-a-ting. This book is fascinating. The way the author came upon his source materials is the stuff of movies and he, a playwright, does an excellent job conveying the historical facts about Rasputin and the Ramonov's in an entertaining way. There was a lot of presumption in the book. In trying to fill in all the gaps, Radzinsky did make a lot of educated guesses that were guesses just the same.
Also, Radzinky makes some conjectures about Rasputin's motivations but avoi
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Tracie
Somewhere between a 3.5 and 4 stars. A little tough to read due to the translation but absolutely fascinating and filled with details I haven't read in any other book on this topic.
Black&white
Captivating & really provides a lot of clarity for a lot of issues where myths, rumours etc. have really overtaken history. It provided me with pretty much all I wanted to know about Rasputin. Those who want to hold onto the myth better avoid this one.
Bunny
May 12, 2014 Bunny marked it as to-read
Shelves: rasputin
Recommended by a GR'er who saw I want to learn more about Rasputin.
Elaine
A historical biography. This is a well researched recent history of Rasputin and his influence on the last Tzar of Russia. Rasputin, though professing to be a holy man, was evil and a pervert.
I appreciate Radzinsky's untiring efforts to learn the truth(s) of Rasputin's life and death.
The middle of the book was too tedious with intrique after intrigue. I skipped or scanned most of it.
This book would appeal to anyone who is interested in Russian history pre WWI and The Russian Revolution
Jenny
An excellent book. This is probably one of the best books about him I've read because of the author's sources. Very good narrative by this Russian historian.
Jodi
I just started this. It was withdrawn from our library and I thought I should give it a shot. I'm kind of fascinated with the Russian revolution, it seems like something that happened a long long time ago but it really wasn't that long ago at all.

The book was fine. It was pretty dense and had a ton of very similar sounding names to keep track of. I don't think I can highly recommend it unless you happen to be really, really into Rasputin.
Trula Kellermann
I felt that I had enough background in Late-Tsarist Russia to get the maximum out of this book, but I probably needed to read a good biography of Nicholas & Alexandra before hand. That said, Radzinsky puts Rasputin into context in a way that I haven't seen before and the first two thirds of the book are really good. Whether you're impressed with the author's reconstruction of Rasputin's murder is another question.
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