Rasputin: Satyr, Saint, or Satan

Douglas Myles, Author McGraw-Hill Companies $19.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-07-044239-9
Perhaps even more than Stalin or Gorbachev, the Russian name that still captures the Western imagination is that of the illiterate Siberian peasant and alleged holy man Rasputin (1872-1916). His apparent ability to restore health to Czar Nicholas II's hemophiliac son and the immense political influence he thereby won, leading to his assassination by jealous nobles, helped precipitate the Russian Revolution. Myles ( Prince Dracula ) combines elements of titillating romance, imagined stream-of-consciousness narrative and dialogue with his facts--much of the last based on the diaries of Rasputin's daughter Maria. Some of this amalgam is unabashedly melodramatic. Without seeking to rehabilitate his subject, the author cites the Byzantine tradition of itinerant seers, whose sexual excesses, like Rasputin's, were as notable as their miraculous healing powers. Photos not seen by PW. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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