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Paperback Book Details
  • 05/2013
  • 9781484925850 B00CX3EUWG
  • 286 pages
  • $16.50
Delin Colon
Author, Illustrator, Translator, Service Provider
Rasputin: The Memoirs of His Secretary
Delin Colon, translator, editor

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

Available and annotated for the first time in English, Aron Simanovitch’s memoirs offer an intimate view of Rasputin through the eyes of his dear friend and secretary. Simanovitch reveals Rasputin’s progressive ideas for social and economic reform that outraged the nobility. In the process, he depicts the underbelly of early twentieth-century Petersburg society, with its gossip, plots and intrigue. But more importantly, his revelations about Rasputin’s humanitarianism lend a three-dimensional view to this controversial figure of Russian history.
Plot/Idea: 0 out of 10
Originality: 0 out of 10
Prose: 0 out of 10
Character/Execution: 0 out of 10
Overall: 0.00 out of 10


Plot/Idea: Colon's translation of Simanovitch's journals will be a welcome addition to the vast trove of literature that focuses on Rasputin. Colon's helpful introductory material provides helpful contexts for understanding the world in which they lived, including the rabid anti-Jewish hatred and the precarious political position of the Tsar.

Prose: Colon's translation brings Simanovitch's words to life, and the footnotes provide helpful context.

Originality: The journals themselves, translated into English for the first time, offer an original look into the world of Rasputin and the ill-fated royal family.

Character/Execution: This is a fascinating, well-executed translation of an important historical document.

The reader noted some tension between the Journal's focus on Rasputin (as interesting as this is) and the author. In fact, the excellent introductory material made the reader want to know more about Simanovitch -- who he was, what he and his fellow Jews were dealing with, etc. -- than his journals, since they are focused on others, permit. The brief afterword that mentions he was murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau during the Shoah was especially heartbreaking to read, but still left the reader wanting to know more about his life in the ensuing years.

Date Submitted: January 19, 2024

Bjorn Larsen on Amazon

This is an important piece of history. I have read many books on this time period but did not know until I read this book that Rasputin was very sypathetic to the difficulties of the Jews in Imperial Russia.

Cliffie.H-B on Amazon

I have read a lot of British history, but just recently I have become interested in imperial Russia and the last 100 years of the Romanovs. In my admittedly not (yet) extensive reading, I've read over and over again about the "mad monk" and his evil influence on Nicholas and Alexandra. This book certainly gives a different perspective. The author knew Rasputin very well, and while he admits to using Rasputin's influence with the royal family to further his own aims, he also tries to show that Rasputin attempted to guide Nicholas and Alexandra away from their stubborn and ultimately fatal insistence on autocracy. I am not sure how much I accept the idea of Rasputin as the ultimate Russian good guy, but it is always interesting to get a new perspective on things - makes me think a bit, which is always good.

David Barth on Amazon

A great book. I highly recommend it.

DRM on Amazon

This memoir presents a fascinating inside account of the Russian imperial court during the final years of Tsarist rule. In those years, the tsar and his wife were enthralled by Siberian mystic Grigori Rasputiin and this book was written by Aron Simonovich, a Jewish jeweler who acted as a secretary and aide to Rasputin and sought to influence the tsar (via Rasputin) to improve the lot of Jews in Russia. (The memoir was written in 1928 but has just now been translated into English.)

As with any memoir, this one must be taken with a grain of salt since the author is undoubtedly portraying his own actions (and those of his friends) in the most flattering light, while also depicting his enemies as villains. However, the English translator has included numerous rigorous footnotes that help to set the record straight and also provide important historical background for readers who are unfamiliar with the details, relationships and rivalries of pre-revolutionary Russia.

Overall, a very enjoyable read.

mcpenn on Amazon

By mcpenn on August 5, 2013

Format: Paperback

I heard about Simanovich's memoirs and was so glad to find Ms. Colon's English translation. An excellent, facsinating, and easy read. Lot of juicy and interesting details about the Tsars / royal court. In addition, I learned a lot about the problems that Jewish people faced in tsarist Russia and the noble efforts of Rasputin / Aron Simanovich to try address the same. I had a hard time putting the book down. I also thought Ms. Colon did an excellent job footnoting various items in order to fill the reader in on various background facts. I highly, highly recommend this to anyone who wants an insider's view into what went on in the final years of the Tsars.

reginaswee on Amazon

If you're interested in history, and in particular all things Russian, this little gem will open your eyes! I also recommend Rasputin and The Jews "A Reversal of History" by the same author.

Paperback Book Details
  • 05/2013
  • 9781484925850 B00CX3EUWG
  • 286 pages
  • $16.50