JOSEPH T. FUHRMANN, Emeritus Professor of History at Murray State University, carried out graduate work at Indiana and Moscow Universities. His first biography of Rasputin (1989) was well received, but Soviet archives were closed to foreign scholars working on such topics at that time. This book, Rasputin - The Untold Story, is based upon full access to Russian and Siberian archives. Fuhrmann also edited the Complete Wartime Correspondence of Tsar Nicholas II and the Empress Alexandra (1999). He is currently writing a biography of Nicholas II.
* Using material from newly opened Soviet archives, particularly the correspondence of Czar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra, Fuhrmann, an emeritus professor of history at Murray State University in Kentucky, extends the range of his Rasputin: A Life (1990). He shows how an obscure Russian Orthodox monk became a close adviser to the czar and czarina, particularly after he predicted the recovery of their son, Alexis, from a possibly fatal illness in 1909. Alexandra turned to him for advice on Russia's WWI military campaign, and he influenced the appointment of high officials. This outsize influence, and rumors that Rasputin was pro-German, impelled a cabal of members of the nobility to assassinate him in December 1916. Fuhrman provides graphic details of the murder and weighs the evidence that the British Secret Intelligence Service participated in the plot. Fuhrmann draws a complex portrait of a dissolute alcoholic figure who allegedly raped at least one woman, yet he was seen by his many followers as a starets (charismatic holy man). Fuhrmann does not provide a final appraisal of Rasputin's significance in the immediate prerevolution period. Still, this vivid, briskly written biography brings to life one of the most colorful and sinister figures in modern Russian history. Illus. Agent: Andrew Lownie, Andrew Lownie Literary Agency. (Nov.) ("Publishers Weekly", August 2012)