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In Search of Dracula: The History of Dracula and Vampires

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,378 ratings  ·  86 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.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 31st 1994 by Mariner Books (first published 1972)
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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.
Paul Haspel
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 III Dracula -- shows up at sites throughout Romania: the Borgo Pass that connects the historical regions of Transylvania and Moldavia; the cities of Sibiu a ...more
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
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
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.

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
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.
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
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.
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: non-fiction, 3-stars
If you're interested in knowing more about vampires and Dracula in particular, this is the book for you.
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
Gerry Germond
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
Ari Eris
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
Jan 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've had a galley of this book sitting on my shelf for years. Every time I considered giving it away I held on thinking I really would like to read it--now I finally did and it was worth hanging on to it. There's not a lot here about Dracula in art. It's really more at the end of the book that it gives an overview of the many many vampire stories that we're still familiar with today. Most of the book is about the actual vampire Vlad Tepes, the Impaler, Dracula. I didn't know that much about him, ...more
Oct 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was one of those books that our little goup of ragamuffin kids secretly sought out at the 'grown-ups' section of the public library that was attached to our elementary school. We could never check it out because of our age, but we could learn some interesting things about the 'real' Dracula. This was, in effect, the first history book I ever saw!

I recently skimmed the book and I think the work holds up fairly well considering that there are now ten different weekly ghost hunting or world's
Lynne Cantwell
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. The authors have written an engaging history of Vlad the Impaler and his family, of Bram Stoker, and of Dracula's impact on popular culture.

I was interested to learn that the real Vlad didn't live in Transylvania; his castle was actually in Wallachia, and his military exploits occurred up and down the Danube. Stoker put his story in Transylvania for his own dramatic purposes.

Another fun fact to know and tell: Bela Lugosi didn't speak English at al
Cynthia June Long
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Neither a history of Vlad the Impaler nor a collection of vampire folklore but a survey of the history and evolution of the Dracula character. Best part was the copious (warning: gruesome) details about additional atrocities committed by the "Blood Countess" Countess Elizabeth Bathory, which I have not seen elsewhere. Bonus: Includes travel guide. Annotated bibliography and filmography. Will likely be of interest to pop-culture aficionados but not helpful for scholars/history-lovers. No Index :- ...more
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
I would say this book was OKAY. I like reading history and it is commendable the amount of work and expenses put in to find out about a legendary figure. The book started well, however it spent quite a few chapters on war wit Turks. I wish there was more about surrounding myths or at what point does Vlad becomes a Dracula. Guess the legends have grown too much in comparison with the real man behind them. Vlad seems to be a warlord who enjoyed war and death. There has been a montion that his chil ...more
Shelly Bajwa
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I inherited this book from my Grandfather when I was 11 and I read this before I had the chance to read Bram Stoker's Dracula. well, what better way to praise the book.than to say that when I did eventually read Dracula, I was well armed with knowledge and the various back stories to the elusive creature. It was through this book that I could finally see why Vlad Tepes 3 or Vlad the Impaler could be marked a vampire. His crazy murderous rampage and then some have marked him as a creature doomed ...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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