Marking the release of award-winning historian Douglas Smith's new book Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs, The Museum of Russian Art is honored to present a book presentation and signing.
Please join us for a discussion between two authors - Robert Alexander and Douglas Smith
Moderated by Jocelyn Hale
Who was Rasputin and why does this character from Russian history continue to fascinate and intrigue people around the world 100 years after his death?
Part faith healer, part shaman, part ascetic, the Russian peasant Rasputin held unusual sway over Tsar Nicholas II and his family in the years leading up to World War I and, ultimately, the Russian Revolution. In a discussion between authors Robert Alexander (“Rasputin’s Daughter”) and Douglas Smith (“Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs”) we will examine this character from two perspectives: as a character in history and as a character in historic fiction. Which approach allows us to get closer to the emotional and historic truths behind this fascinating subject? The conversation will be moderated by Jocelyn Hale, former executive director of The Loft Literary Center, and promises to be entertaining, educational, and edifying. Both authors will be available for book signings following the discussion
5:30-6:30 p.m. Museum open for viewing
6:30-7:30 p.m. Discussion
7:30 p.m.: Book Signing. Both "Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs" and "Rasputin's Daughter" will be available for purchase
About the Authors
For nearly thirty years Robert Alexander has been traveling to Russia, where he has attended Leningrad State University and worked for the U.S. Government. Since 1990 he has been a partner in a St. Petersburg company that operates a warehouse and customs clearance center, dental clinic, and Barabu, a chain of espresso-wine bars with locations at The Hermitage and the Fortress of Peter and Paul. Born and raised in Chicago, Alexander now lives in Minneapolis
"Rasputin's Daughter" - In this follow-up to his popular debut The Kitchen Boy, Alexander again mines the considerable lore of the Russian imperial family. Rasputin, the legendary mad monk, is also a family man raising two daughters in 1916 St. Petersburg. As he ministers to the tsaritsa and her royal brood during the last week of his life, 18-year-old Maria strives to understand the menacing aura surrounding her father. She is both loving and rebellious, but her adventures are limited to a flirtation with a young man. Alexander's wild-eyed romp through a period much studied for its contradictions and cruelties will be a staple of most historical fiction collections.
An award-winning historian and translator, Douglas Smith is the author of four books on Russia. His works have been translated into a dozen languages. He studied German and Russian at the University of Vermont and has a doctorate in history from UCLA.
Over the past thirty years Smith has made many trips to Russia. In the 1980s, he was a Russian-speaking guide on the U. S. State Department’s exhibition “Information USA” that traveled throughout the USSR. He has also worked as a Soviet affairs analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich, Germany, and served as an interpreter for late President Reagan.
Smith has taught and lectured widely in the United States, Britain, and Europe and has appeared in documentaries for A&E, National Geographic, and the BBC. This will be his fourth lecture at Hillwood. He is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including a Fulbright scholarship and a residency at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study Center.
His latest book, Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs, was just published in November 2016 in the US and the UK. The most complete biography ever written, Rasputin draws on long-lost documents from archives in seven different countries to overturn many of the old myths about the infamous Russian mystic, presenting Rasputin in a fascinating new light. Publishers Weekly calls it “Monumental and soul-shaking … written with a Dostoevskian flair for noir and obsession.”
Born and raised in Minnesota, Douglas has lived in Vienna, London, and Moscow, and is now based in Seattle with his wife and two children.