Douglas Smith's new book is Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs.
From his Q&A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: What are some of the most common perceptions and misperceptions about Rasputin?Visit Douglas Smith's website.
A: One of the most common is that he was evil incarnate, Satan personified. That’s so utterly wrong, it’s [surprising] this myth took hold.
He was very much a man of peace. During the Balkan Wars before World War I, he came out against Russian involvement, and on the eve of World War I—I reproduce a letter where he was begging Nicholas II not to listen to the warmongers; if you are a true Christian, killing is wrong. That’s important about Rasputin and is misunderstood.
The idea that he was an orgiastic sex machine like in the Boney M song—he was an adulterer, no doubt, and he probably [was involved with] prostitutes, but if he was a sex maniac, there would have been illegitimate children, and there isn’t a mention of that anywhere.
His influence over policy and the Czar is...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: The Pearl.