Rasputin: A Short Life
Grigory Rasputin, Siberian peasant-turned-mystic, was both fascinating and unfathomable. As the only person able to relieve the symptoms of haemophilia in the Tsar's heir Alexis, he gained almost hallowed status within the Imperial court. Yet he played the role of the simple man, eating with his fingers and boasting, 'I don't even know the alphabet'.
During the last decade of his life, he and his band of 'little ladies"'came to symbolise all that was decadent and remote about the Imperial Family - especially when it was rumoured that he was not only shaping Russian policy during the First World War, but also enjoying an intimate relationship with the Tsarina.
Rasputin's role in the downfall of the tsarist regime is beyond dispute. But who was he really? Prophet or rascal?
In this unputdownable short biography - which draws on new material, including an interview with one of the last people alive who actually saw Rasputin, as well as unpublished memoirs, diaries and letters - Frances Welch turns her inimitable wry gaze on one of the great mysteries of Russian history.