Brian Moynahan had done what few other historic writers have been able to do: bring history to life. Rasputin's legend is rooted in tales of debauchery and sorcery and yet, as Moynahan offers, there are always two sides to a person's life and to their story. Rasputin: The Saint Who Sinned is that other side.
Moynahan does not gloss over the fact that Rasputin was everything people said that he was. He seems to have indulged in nearly every sort of self-gratification that Russia had to offer. However, the accusations and crimes which over the years have added to the legend of his evil, are what this book brings into question.
Grigory Rasputin is one of the central figures in the last days of the Ramanov family. And, in many instances, was representative of the poor peasant classes of his day and age. However, he was a peasant with a surprising gift.
He had the gift of healing, of prophecy and of other 'paranormal' gifts. Some unsubstantiated rumors state that he was an evil sorcerer, but in the light of modern analysis, what Moynahan seems to suggest is that he was one of the few truly gifted psychics who managed to win the ear of the nobility. He used his abilities to lift himself out of crushing poverty and to elevate his status to the point where he was essentially a vizier.
Rasputin became Alexandra's advisor because Rasputin has the ability to stop her son's fits. Her son was a hemophiliac and Rasputin was able to alleviate the pain. His idiosyncracies were overlooked in lieu of the fact that he had a 'miraculous' gift to which he had been given to the nobles of Russia in their time of need. Rasputin was reported to have enjoyed pagan rituals but was...