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In Search of Dracula: The History of Dracula and Vampires

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,429 ratings  ·  91 reviews
The true story behind the legend of Dracula - a biography of Prince Vlad of Transylvania, better known as Vlad the Impaler. This revised edition now includes entries from Bram Stoker's recently discovered diaries, the amazing tale of Nicolae Ceausescu's attempt to make Vlad a national hero, and an examination of recent adaptations in fiction, stage and screen. ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 31st 1994 by Mariner Books (first published 1972)
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Paul Haspel
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
In Romania, Dracula seems to be everywhere. Some Romanians consider him a national hero for defending his homeland against the invading Ottoman forces -- even if, in the process, he impaled an unknown but undeniably substantial number of victims. The bloody-minded and unmistakably real Wallachian prince Vlad Ţepeş -- or Vlad the Impaler, or Vlad III Dracula -- shows up at sites throughout Romania: the Borgo Pass that connects the historical regions of Transylvania and Moldavia; the cities of Sib ...more
Paul Haspel
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In Romania, Dracula seems to be everywhere. By some, he is considered a national hero for defending his homeland against the invading Ottoman forces -- even if, in the process, he impaled an unknown but undeniably substantial number of victims. The bloody-minded and undeniably real Wallachian prince Vlad Ţepeş -- or Vlad the Impaler, or Vlad II Dracula -- shows up at sites throughout Romania: the Borgo Pass that connects the historical regions of Transylvania and Moldavia; the cities of Sibiu an ...more
Poo1987 Roykaew
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A very good introduction to both historical figure of Dracula and knowledge of vampirism. Contained a short biography of Bram Stoker, his work ,and its impact on popular culture. Studied by two experts who spends most of their lifetime professions for investigating the dark history of the man known for his cruelty as 'the Imparler'. Based on ancient manuscripts, folklores, and field study of Transylvania, those efforts come out of excited-reading, well-written text which brings, Vlad Tepes, Prin ...more
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very fascinating book for fans of Dracula, esp. if you are interested in the history behind the real figure (Vlad Tepes), locations, etc.... Part history, part folklore, part opinion, this book has a nice variety of information.

In addition to the historical sections about Romania & the Dracula family, I also enjoyed the section on Bram Stoker, his research, & other books that have been variations on the Dracula/vampire legends. The film section was fine (but I haven't seen any of the films men
Jan 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is one entertaining volume, one I can refer back to time and time again. The writers give a very matter-of-fact account of the life and times of Vlad Tepes, occasionally laced with a bit of wry humor, and relate the legends that have grown around ye olde impaler. From there, they take us through Bram Stoker and his background, and on to the celluloid versions of Dracula, all without pausing for breath...and happily so. My favorite bits are the various legends about Prince Vlad told from sev ...more
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It's the historical account of the real Dracula (Vlad Tepes). Historians Radu Florescu and Raymond McNally reconstruct the historical man and how he is related to the vampire legend. This is also just a groundbreaking history book--it's the first ever historical account of Vlad the Impaler, and I think it's extremely significant. ...more
Thomas Strömquist
An old favorite of mine that would be in small pieces if I wasn't lucky enough to snag a hardcover copy; it was one of my few sources for horror fix (others being Stoker's book, Sam J. Lundwall's translations of H P Lovecraft shorts and Poe). This historical/documentary book focuses on the real life Vlad Tepes and what little is known about him (much of the research made by the authors).

A small section of the book regard the vampire and related legends and stories in popular culture.

I really ca
William G.
I first read the original 1972 edition of In Search of Dracula back in high school when I first began to really explore the backstory of the character and novel Dracula. As a young child I became fixated on old horror films and Dracula being one of my absolute favorite fixations. Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Frank Langella. I had seen them all and then some and I became completely hooked!

As I grew older, I learned more about where the idea of the story came from
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
I am a sucker (ha!) for a vampire book.

This is one of the first research works into the Dracula mythology, the book that cements the fact that Stoker's Dracula was, in fact, based on Vlad Tepes of Romania. That the real-life Dracula committed horrific crimes against humanity is unquestionable.

The book itself is 200 pages of history, literary and film exploration, and some interpretation. The other hundred pages is bibliography, filmography, maps, family trees, and other appendix-typical info.

Dylan Rock
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
A interesting volume relating to the historical influences on Bram Stoker's novel and the subsequent impact it had had on culture ...more
This books covers the history of Vlad Tepes (Order of the Dragon (or Dracul)) and then goes on to explain how Bram Stoker took the figure of Tepes and converted him into a horror figure. A nice quick read that provides some really interesting tidbits on: the history of what became Romania in the times immediately after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks, the differing accounts of Tepes (Ethnic Germans, who ran afoul of his trade policies, demonized him as “The Impaler”; Romanians gl ...more
Greta is Erikasbuddy
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book.

My favorite part was the chapter about the movies/pop culture.
And the chapter about vampire myths.

I personally had no idea that after 7 years of being a vampire you could move to another country that spoke another language and turn back into a human. Then you can get married and have kids. The downside is that when your kids die they become vampires.

But seriously... that is cool!

You also learn about real life vampires. For example: Sweeney Todd was based on the Hanover
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was decent, but apparently I knew more about Vlad Tepes (Dracula) then I thought I did, because the chapters that detail his life and death were kind of dry and repetitive. The chapter about Bram Stoker was short but informative. Overall, this is a good book if you are unfamiliar with the "real" Dracula. The chapter on Vampires in stage, film, and fiction is good, but my copy of this book was published in 1994, so it's missing 20 years of vampire media. I would have enjoyed reading the ...more
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an extraordinary book about the man, who's name has become a symbol for vampires... I want to thank to Raymond McNally and Radu Floresku for writing it... It was really interesting to me and very helpful. On the end, you have list of historical and fictional films and books about Vlad III. ...more
Meredith Watkins
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I do love reading the history of where my ancestors came from. Interesting read
I only got about 8 pages into chapter 2 before I stopped reading... I was very excited to read this book because it's getting close to Halloween and I love learning about the history and inspiration behind the various traditions. Vlad Tepes was a very controversial figure in history depending on what side you were on, and I was looking forward to learning more about him and why the people of Transylvania and Romania view him as a hero when much of the world sees him only as the viscious and ruth ...more
J.C. Pillard
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
The original In Search of Dracula was published in 1972, and was (to the best of my knowledge) the first book that formally connected Bram Stoker and his novel to the historical personage of Vlad Tepes. I was fortunate enough to get the revised edition, which was re-released in the 1990s, and includes more information about Dracula in popular culture, including novels and films.

Side Note: The filmography in this book is hilarious. If you read nothing else, read their filmography for a good laugh
Michael Kelly
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One of the first books to really go to town presenting the history of the original Dracula, Vlad the Impaler.

It's a large book, well illustrated, with good heavy paper stock, a pleasure to hold and to read. It's well written and interesting. I had feared it might be very dry, but it avoids this trap very well. It's extremely thorough and although I already knew much about Vlad I learned some new things.

There are a few asides about Bram Stoker and his novel in most chapters, and a chapter devoted
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this to be a great book to read to prepare for a Halloween trip to Romania. It discussed many of the places I was visiting and how they connected to Vlad the Impaler. I got this from a library search, but it was also later recommended in a Romania tour guide book to familiarize yourself to the country.
Mar 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Handy and readable account of the life of Vlad Tepes, the German contemporary pamphlet literature about his brutality and atrocities, Romanian legends, Balkan vampire mythology, vampire fiction from the 18th century on and how Stoker brilliantly unified these.
Oct 25, 2020 added it
An excellent and expertly researched book on Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, and vampiric folklore. While I don't always agree with the author's conclusions, the depth of information and the wealth of research is undeniable. ...more
Lynn K.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dracula fans
It was interesting to see how Stoker used real world events, people, and places (along with myths and rumor) as a basis for his novel.
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-stars, non-fiction
If you're interested in knowing more about vampires and Dracula in particular, this is the book for you. ...more
Anette Garcia
Apr 15, 2021 rated it it was ok
As a lover of Vlad the Impaler and all things Dracula related, this was a disappointing read. Would have appreciated some citations. At least the Edward Gorey cover is great.
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: romania
In Search of Dracula is the first research volume of three research books regarding the life of Vlad III Dracula, commonly known as Vlad Țepeș (Vlad the Impaler). This book delves deeper into the connection between the historical Vlad III Dracula and the folk legends of vampires in the historical region of Transylvania, Wallachia and its surrounding that later will be associated with one another. A fascinating and insightful introduction to the controversial historical figure and its parallel re ...more
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval-history
Nothing like owning a paperback for forty years before finally getting around to reading it. This seems to have been one of the first recountings of the life of the original "Count Dracula," actually known as Vlad Tepes, or "Vlad the Impaler," who makes the legendary vampire look like a model of decorum. The authors, Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu, in ten years of research looked at medieval (15th and 16th century) source documents), interviewed natives, and tramped over historical grounds ...more
Feb 07, 2014 rated it liked it
This little book about the historical background and artistic legacy Bram Stoker's Dracula may be a little out-dated but it still made for some interesting reading. My favorite part of the book covers the historical Dracula, a 15th-century monarch who enjoyed shifty politics and capital punishment. The story of the search for the king's tomb and his castle were intriguing, but since this book was published in 1994 it'll be up to you (and Wikipedia) to ferret out any current research and discover ...more
Jean-Pierre Vidrine
Nov 12, 2015 rated it liked it
I might have enjoyed this book even more had I not already known so much about the subject matter. Still, though, there were some genuine revelations and quite a lot of fascinating information to learn here.
Now, here is where I nitpick just a little. Being a comic book fan, I could not help but notice the authors' complete ignorance of the medium here. There is not one mention of Dracula and vampires in comic books at all. This might seem like a gripe from an angry fanboy, but I do not think th
Nov 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A brisk history of the real man behind the Dracula legend, his family and the repercussions of his rule, along with notes about the books, songs, poems, plays and films he has inspired. Very interesting, and very well researched. Florescu is a native Romanian whose many times great grandfather was one of the assassins involved in killing Dracula, so he has strong personal connections to the history as well. I was fascinated by the 15th century German tabloids featuring Dracula drinking his enemi ...more
Perry Lake
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the first books to link the novel "Dracula" to the historical Vlad the Impaler. It was certainly the most influential. Not only does this book give an excellent biography of the psychopathic Romanian warlord, but it delves into authentic vampire folklore and vampire literature, especially Bram Stoker's work. It even includes a chapter on the infamous Countess Bathory. This is the essential book for anyone wanting to research Dracula, vampires, or Vlad the Impaler because it cover ...more
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Raymond T McNally was an American author and professor of Russian and East European History at Boston College. He specialized in the history of horror and wrote many books around the subject.

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