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The Life and Times of Grigorii Rasputin
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The Life and Times of Grigorii Rasputin

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  345 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Few historical figures have been as shrouded in myth and speculation as Grigorii Rasputin. At the height of his fame, he was thought to be no less than a demonic figure, possessed of supernatural powers, a dissolute agent of the forces of evil with an iron-clad, perhaps sexual, hold on the throne of Imperial Russia. His disciples swooned in his presence; his enemies plotte ...more
Hardcover, 363 pages
Published January 1st 1982 by Coward, McCann and Geoghegan
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3.77  · 
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 ·  345 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I've seen loads of television shows, YouTube videos, and movies on Rasputin and I'd read lots of magazine articles and references in history books but I've consistently and purposely avoided, dallied around, and put-off on reading a biography of Rasputin until I was sure I'd found one that was going to deliver. This was the one.

There are "newer" developments and discoveries about Rasputin since this book was written back in 1982 and it all adds to to the facts surrounding him and the characters
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent read. It does an exceptional job of giving the reader a detailed context of the religious, political and social environment in which Rasputin, a peasant from Siberia, rose to become one of the most defining characters in modern Russian history. The incredible amount of research put in here is truly commendable, serving to throw light on how the myth behind the man came to be while making sure all varying perspectives are given a voice. Alex crafts the flow well enough such t ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
De Jonge presents us with a very nuanced look at the true Rasputin--the peasant who rubbed elbows with the Czar and his family.

This is a very nicely written history. It picks up quite a few threads as the story goes along, but wraps them up nicely as the end nears.

5/5 stars.
Jenny Moench
Nov 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Russian history
Shelves: history
After reading this book I felt I had a much better understanding of how Russians think and their politics. It's also very interesting just for historical information too. Rasputin was a very interesting person, darker and stranger than the comic book character he's become.
Trixie Fontaine
I can't remember if I actually finished this book, I just remember our favorite Snape-like English teacher in high school sharing a very juicy detail from it and picking it up afterwards partly because of that. And having certain things STICK inside me.
May 16, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Definitely interesting, and dispelled some myths I had always heard about Rasputin. The writing was a bit redundant at times.
Elise Shedd
After reading about him,I saw a freaky, perverted religous cad who brought the Russuan governnent down and how his death help birth evil dictators like Stalin.
Barb Gant
Apr 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
First rate research. Clears up a lot of misconceptions.
Scott Holstad
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Grigorii Rasputin was a real enigma. Was he a true holy man? Was he a mere charlatan? Was he the “mad monk?” Was he a con man? Did he indeed have supernatural powers? Was he merely a sex fiend who used his position to take advantage of women throughout imperial Russia?

This biography attempts to answer these questions and more. Unfortunately, it bogs down somewhere in the middle and gets repetitive and somewhat dull, so it’s relatively hard to slog all the way through, honestly, but it’s an hones
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Eye-opening and horrifying, like having your eyelashes ripped out “for your own good.”
Rasputin was a peasant with grand ambitions, no restraint, and a seemingly holy set of simple wisdom that the #MeTooMovement of the day tried to turn into mincemeat. The country was alternately laboring under heavy burdens imposed by their hereditary leaders (some who didn’t want to rule, like Nicholas), panting after false teachers in a desire to see God active in blessing Russia (or changing her), and wrapped
Ray Grasshoff
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This volume includes considerable insight into the importance of the religion in Russian culture, especially with respect to czarist rule over hundreds of years. The Orthodox Church plays the largest role, but self-described men of God -- mostly shamans -- had great influence as well. Rasputin played well into that world, ultimately becoming the most important advisor and confidant to Empress Alexandra, and through her to Czar Nicholas II. Unfortunately, the author's writing style is overly comp ...more
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinating. enjoyed it.
Veronica Noechel
I carried this book around, doing a close reading and looking up all sorts of references to events and other pre-revolution characters, my copy had to be held together with rubber bands by the time I made it halfway through. At one point it split in half, which was actually pretty convenient since I only had to carry the latter half with me for most of the reading of that part. I did lose a few pages along the way, but I can't really complain. I used the hell out of this book. Sticky notes pop o ...more
Simeon Readingape
p. 332 "They had some difficulty in finding the corpse, despite the use of divers, but it was eventually discovered a hundred sazhens (226 metres) downstream, having floated up under the ice. It was felt that the autopsy should be conducted as discretely as possible, and that it would be unwise to transport the body through the city, for fear that it might inspire public unrest. It was taken in a covered ambulance to a naval hospital three miles out of town, and a guard was placed over it. Raspu ...more
Jul 31, 2013 rated it liked it
I have always been curious about Rasputin and now my curiosity is satisfied. My interpretation of De Jonge's book is that Raputin was a gifted peasant (you must decide what gifts he possessed) who was corrupted by success. Based on De Jonge's telling I do not believe that Rasputin led a very interesting life once he began 'social climbing.' He was just another opportunist.

De Jonge's book is not very well written. I frequently found sentences that I had to read several time in order to determine
Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
The myth of the man Grigorii Rasputin is widely known even today but the truth is even more fascinating. I think it says a lot about human nature that a man like this rose to the top of respectable society. Although pre-revolution Russia was particularly susceptible to holy men, it needs to be pointed out that the model of Rasputin continues to pop up in society even today. It's difficult to dismiss him as exclusively a con man as he had genuine belief in his own proximity to god and had genuine ...more
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Well written and very readable. Ample and interesting background information putting into context R's rise to fame from the Siberian sticks to Russian society's salons and the inner sanctum of the Imperial family.

It is balanced and leaves readers to make up their own minds about our Grigorii – charlatan or holy man with special gifts? The answer probably lies some where between the two? Exploiting the naivety and desperation of the Tsarina for the health of the Tsarevich? He exposed the tragic w
Apr 05, 2013 rated it liked it
It's exactly what it says it is. I was hoping for more on the Bolsheviks and all that, but as the title would indicate, the book ends abruptly when Rasputin is killed. It's an older book, written during the USSR days, but by a Westerner. I don't think it would get written today because the author is pretty much taking it as fact that Rasputin was magical. I don't even really mean that as a criticism, only that it's not a perspective you really expect to hear.
May 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
How was this book as interesting as it was? I have no idea, but it was awesome. The 80's pop song just doesn't do him justice after reading it. If you have a good amount of interest in the Romanov dynasty, or WWI history, I'd recommend this book. If not, read it anyway...I have no interest in either and I loved it.
Elizabeth Kennedy
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the way De Jonge dismantles the mythic Rasputin and reveals a complex human being. De Jonge describes a Rasputin that is almost equal parts simple peasant and strange, mysterious, corrupt courtier. His Rasputin is certainly not the evil cartoon character portrayed in film and elsewhere. De Jonge also creates a compelling portrait of declining Imperial Russia.
May 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: borrowed, abandoned
It had a very colloquial and immature tone
Maggie Salisbury
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
There's got to be something out there better than this on such a fascinating character as Rasputin.
Jun 05, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
Solid biography of that Russian rascal, Rasputin.
Valena Arguello
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is nuts! The life of this man was crazy enough, but his mysterious death was even more so.
Tells the back story about who Rasputin was and how he went from being a peasant to one of the most powerful men in Russia.
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like trying to eat an ice-cream cone through cellophane. The content was fascinating and I wanted more... but the horrible writing made this a painful endeavor.
M. Shipley
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent bio highlighting how it was the perception of the tsarina that was the ultimate cause of the downfall of the dynasty illustrating that old adage that timing is everything!
Jul 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book delves deeply into Rasputin's pre-Romanov life, but somehow he still seems as mysterious as ever.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it liked it
A little tedious at times, but none the less a pretty good book.
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
dude is badass. just mentioning his name is spooky
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