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Books

This month’s best historical books

BOOK REVIEWS

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Rasputin

By Douglas Smith

Macmillan, £25, 848 pages, hardback

Later immortalised as a devilish hypnotist or ‘mad monk’ – not to mention the subject of an irritatingly catchy disco number – the life of Grigori Rasputin is far more complex and interesting than those simplifications suggest. From being a lowly peasant to trusted advisor of Russia’s early 20th-century rulers, he was a key player in an empire that was unravelling into bloody catastrophe. And it’s not just Rasputin’s life that is noteworthy – his death is also cloaked in intrigue. Were the British somehow involved? at’s just one of the compelling questions explored in this dynamic, pacy book.

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The Christmas 2016 issue of History Revealed.