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Preface ix Acknowledgments xv Cast of Principal Characters, Places, and Terms xix Prologue 1 1 The Outsider 3 2 Seeker and Teacher 15 3 Nicholas and Alexandra: Waiting for a Friend 31 4 The New Rasputin 39 5 The Church Strikes Back 49 6 The Romanovs' Holy Fool 57 7 The Captain's Mysterious Report 67 8 Black Boars Become Bishops 77 9 "You Are Our All" 87 10 "God Has Heard Your Prayers!" 97 11 Spiritual Crisis 107 12 The Woman with the Missing Nose 117 13 Disaster Lurks in Moscow 131 14 The Tsar Takes Charge and Loses Control 143 15 Rasputin Conquers the Russian State 155 16 The Church at the Feet of a "Low Hound" 167 17 "Our Friend's Ideas about Men Are Sometimes Queer" 177 18 Shadows Come at Twilight 185 19 The Assassin 197 20 Murder at the Palace 207 21 The Aftermath 215 22 Who Really Killed Rasputin? 225 E pilogue 233 Notes 241 Bibliography 263 Photo Credits 271 Index 273
JOSEPH T. FUHRMANN, Emeritus Professor of History at Murray State University in Kentucky, received his PhD from Indiana University, one of the leading centers for Russian studies. He attended Moscow University from 1965 to 1966. His first biography of Rasputin, Rasputin: A Life , was regarded as the best book on the subject. Since gaining access to previously closed Soviet archives, he has worked from 1991 in Russian repositories and studied a host of unpublished documents. The first biography inspired documentaries on A&E and the History Channel. He has appeared in three programs as an interviewed guest and as script consultant for two of them.
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)