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Charles Degelman, author of “Gates of Eden” reviews “Rasputin and The Jews”

November 12, 2012

New review of “Rasputin and The Jews” by Charles Degelman, author of “Gates of Eden.”

5.0 out of 5 stars Rasputin in reverse…, November 11, 2012
By Charles Degelman “Charlie D.” (Los Angeles, CA USA) 

This review is from: Rasputin and The Jews: A Reversal of History

Rasputin and the Jews: A Reversal of History
Delin Colon

History tells us that, once a myth is planted in the archives of recollection, it is difficult to root out. As a corollary, it’s rare to find scholarship that reverses popular, dominant perceptions of people, settings, and events. In her compelling monograph, Rasputin and the Jews, scholar and author Delin Colon does just that.

Colon’s book focuses on the myths about Rasputin, the Russian healer, mystic, and human rights activist who rose to prominence in Tsarist Russia, survived vicious slander from the Tsar’s court down, endured social and political upheaval, only to be assassinated by a cohort of displaced noblemen and right-wing politicians.

In her exploration of the case against Rasputin, Colon establishes the mythic elements connected with his life and methodically knocks them down. Colon’s convincing research and reportage contradicts Rasputin’s reputation as a demonic womanizer, a drunkard, charlatan and spy. Not satisfied with shattering the myths surrounding this complex figure, Colon’s deep research places Rasputin squarely in the midst of a harshly anti-Semitic Russia where a weak-willed Tsar condoned pogroms, expulsion, and relentless persecution of Russian Jewry.

But the success of Colon’s work extends beyond her persuasive portrayal of Rasputin, his values and the courageous stance he took in defense of Russia’s Jews. “Rasputin and the Jews” exposes the tools of mythmaking — yellow journalism, court and legislative slander, class, cultural, and ethnic bigotry, even violence — that a dominant power deploys to maintain its wobbling grasp on power.

Finally, Colon portrays the mythmaking swamp that surrounded this “unique product of the peasantry” as a model of how dangerous free will and independent thought and action can become and how hard the dominant power will work to diminish, humiliate, and destroy its proponents.

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