Author Topic: New Biography of Rasputin out in November  (Read 2473 times)

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Offline Prospector

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New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« on: October 31, 2016, 10:35:34 AM »
For all fans of the last Romanovs, I'm thrilled to announce my new biography of Rasputin, six years in the making and drawing on new material from archives in seven countries, is out this week in the UK with Macmillan and later in the month in the US with Farrar, Straus & Giroux. The initial reviews have all been excellent.

Learn more about "Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs" at my site: www.douglassmith.info

I look forward to readers' comments about the book.

Douglas Smith

Offline edubs31

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2016, 08:50:35 PM »
Looks terrific Douglas. I'll probably be picking it up on my own or adding it to my Christmas wish list.

Wishing you great success and thanks for your other literary/historical contributions!
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline amelia

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2016, 05:23:10 AM »
I bought mine. Can't wait to read it. I wish you success Mr. Douglas.

Offline Prospector

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2016, 01:27:19 PM »
Thank you for the kinds words and for buying the book. I'm most grateful. Please do let me know what you think of it. You can always email me via my site at www.douglassmith.info

All the best, Doug

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2016, 08:38:39 PM »
Hi Doug
I have read your book "Former People" which was very good. I will read your book on Rasputin one day. Note there is another author of a book on Rasputin on this site margarita Nelpa see the books section.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2016, 02:59:23 AM »
Hello Douglas

I too will look out for your book now that November is here.

Ann

Offline Prospector

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2016, 06:38:29 PM »
Thank you all for the kind support!

Offline Lee_Hutch

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2016, 12:27:14 PM »
I just finished the book a few days ago. Not in print, but rather the Audibook version which comes in at a tad over 33 hours as memory serves me. I found it quite good. So much so that I listened to the entire thing over a span of three days.  I'm not much of a book reviewer, so all I can say is that I enjoyed it, as evidenced by the 11 hours a day I spent listening to it!

Lee
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Offline John Walker

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2017, 05:38:04 PM »
I have reached page 130 in four days!  It seems excellent and I hope to comment further when I have finished it.  So far I would say that Douglas Smith has written the most thoroughly researched book on Rasputin and he presents his evidence without prejudice letting the reader draw his own conclusions.  I have one question regarding Rasputin's literacy:  My recollection is of seeing a letter/note written by Rasputin on display in the Yussupov Palace.  The handwriting was immature, large and childlike.  On page 116/7 Douglas Smith quotes bishop Antony of Tobolsk in September 1907 noting "..... how poorly Rasputin read Russian to say nothing of his ability to write....".  Yet on page 113 a letter is printed in full from Rasputin to Maria Vishnyakova written in November 1907, a mere two months later, using highly sophisticated grammar and vocabulary.  Separately I have often wondered - believing from my earlier knowledge that Rasputin conformed to Antony of Tobolsk's description - about the letters Rasputin is reported as sending to high ranking officials and the nobility when asking for favours for one of his acolytes.  In what form were these letters written?  Can anyone shed some light please?  And I am sorry of Douglas Smith has answered this question on page 131 !     

Offline edubs31

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2017, 11:35:13 PM »
Did you get to page 131 yet? :-)

I'm somewhat curious too.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline John Walker

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2017, 09:15:22 AM »
:-)! 155 and no further info.  If no one can advise by 200 I will contact OU at YP for info of the displayed letter.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2017, 04:45:17 AM »
Could it be that some of Rasputin's correspondence was written for him by one or more of his admirers?

Ann

Offline NicolasG

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2017, 05:39:58 AM »
Could it be that some of Rasputin's correspondence was written for him by one or more of his admirers?

Ann

I think that's the right answer. It's funny, I have recently finished the book and while reading it (it's a long book) never gave a thought to the subject of Rasputin's literacy. So I have had to check it again.

In pages 107-108 (UK hardcover edition):

"In September 1907 Rasputin returned to Pokrovskoe [...] Traveling with Rasputin were Olga Lokhtina and three other women. Akilina Laptinskaya would become one of Rasputin's closest followers, and more, for the rest of his life. Born into a peasant family in the village of Bakhoro in the Mogilyov province in 1879, Laptisnskaya was a nurse in Petersburg, having previously served in military hospitals during the Russo-Japanese war. She had first heard of Rasputin quite some time earlier from conversations at the St. Troitsky Comune of Nurses and turned to Lokhtina to arrange a meeting that took place in September 1907 [...] When she learned this group of women was going to Pokrovskoe to see how Rasputin lived and learn from him, she asked to join them. She was not disappointed. Laptinskaya stayed with Rasputin for the rest of his life, becoming a sort of personal secretary and helping to run his househould in the capital."

The date (September 1907) matches the apparent sudden improvement in Rasputin's grammar.

Offline John Walker

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2017, 04:04:51 AM »
Thank you Ann and Nicholas!  That is what I was thinking but I did not want to prompt replies.  Specific to the letter this theory opens a whole range from the extreme possibility 1, that Rasputin dictated the letter to extreme possibility 2, that Rasputin recognized that Vishnyakova would be a 'useful recruit' and told someone (Laptinskaya?) to write her a nice letter.  From there we go to a third possibility that someone (Laptinskaya?) took it upon herself to write the letter on Rasputin's behalf.  Clues to the answer must lie in the letter itself.  Is there a sender's address?  Is the letter signed by Rasputin?  If so is it signed in the same hand as the letter content?  A Rasputin signature would presumably appear crude and clumsy  appended to a letter of such sophisticated language.  Then there is the fourth possibility that the letter is not genuine and that it was written at a later date, perhaps in 1918 to doctor evidence.  What archive markings appear on the letter in ГАРФ?  Is there a date of its entry or other information appended to the letter or its file?  Douglas Smith and Helen Rappaport both quote the ГАРФ source so presumably they have seen the letter in ГАРФ.  Perhaps they could help .......... please!
 

Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: New Biography of Rasputin out in November
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2017, 11:14:55 AM »
I have reached page 130 in four days!  It seems excellent and I hope to comment further when I have finished it.  So far I would say that Douglas Smith has written the most thoroughly researched book on Rasputin and he presents his evidence without prejudice letting the reader draw his own conclusions.  I have one question regarding Rasputin's literacy:  My recollection is of seeing a letter/note written by Rasputin on display in the Yussupov Palace.  The handwriting was immature, large and childlike.  On page 116/7 Douglas Smith quotes bishop Antony of Tobolsk in September 1907 noting "..... how poorly Rasputin read Russian to say nothing of his ability to write....".  Yet on page 113 a letter is printed in full from Rasputin to Maria Vishnyakova written in November 1907, a mere two months later, using highly sophisticated grammar and vocabulary.  Separately I have often wondered - believing from my earlier knowledge that Rasputin conformed to Antony of Tobolsk's description - about the letters Rasputin is reported as sending to high ranking officials and the nobility when asking for favours for one of his acolytes.  In what form were these letters written?  Can anyone shed some light please?  And I am sorry of Douglas Smith has answered this question on page 131 !   

These two postings may shed some light on the topic in general:
http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=1359.msg531807#msg531807
инок Николай