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Dracula, Prince of Many Faces: His Life and His Times by [Florescu, Radu R, McNally, Raymond T.]
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Dracula, Prince of Many Faces: His Life and His Times Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Length: 272 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description


A shocking page-turner...A convincingly humanized portrait (New York TIMES BOOK REVIEW)

Book Description

* In this definitive biography covering Vlad Dracula's life and subsequent legend, readers will discover that life can truly be more terrifying than fiction.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3479 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (29 Nov. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FOR2O4O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #268,185 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Dracula, aka Vlad the Impaler, aka Vlad Drăcul, aka Vlad Țepeș, is one of those rare historical figures who is better known through his fictional counterpart than historical reality. There's probably scarcely an individual alive who doesn't know something about Count Dracula, the evil vampire of Bram Stoker's Gothic novel; and perhaps a minority of those who realise the fictional villain was based on an actual historical figure; but probably very few who know anything about the real medieval prince at the heart of the fiction and folklore.

What fiction and legend, however, do not record is that to this day Vlad Drăcul is remembered as a hero in his native Romania, a just albeit cruel ruler who destroyed the power of the boyar aristocracy, a fierce warrior who fought the encroaching Ottoman Empire, a religious crusader who fought for Christianity against the Islamic East - not quite a Romanian Robin Hood, but close. His sobriquet 'the Impaler' was first coined by Ottoman historians, and many of the worst stories about him were originally circulated as a form of early political propaganda.

That said, just because it was propaganda doesn't mean it wasn't all true. Reading this biography, one can see why that real-life medieval prince gave rise to the legend of Dracula, born on the backs of stories carried by German monks fleeing the persecution and massacres of Vlad's three brief reigns. Vlad himself was every bit as monstrous and bloodthirsty as 'Count Dracula', perhaps even worse. The murders, tortures, wholesale massacres, the impaling, dismembering, the whole panoply of the worst horrors the medieval mind could envisage, all are far more horrifying than a mere vampire.

This was a fascinating read, albeit truly chilling and nauseating in places.
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I have been searching for a book on Vlad the Impaler for some time, and most seem to be based in fiction or are very short, this book however is a very detailed account of the real Dracula.
This is a relatively short book, but is enough at around 240 pages, you get a detailed account of Vlads parentage, in that of Dracul. The authors explain very well how he got into power, not once not twice but three times during his lifetime. The authors also go into explaining the political and geopolitical circumstances at the time of the Impaler, and the struggle against the Turks.
The authors also attempt to look into the mind of Vlad and see his intentions in his actions and give a great account of the many atrocities that the man inflicted, to the forest of the impaled that scared away even the sultan, to boiling a gypsy alive in a cauldron and forcing his tribe to eat him.
The authors touch on the fictional side of Dracula, the stories and legends that encircle him, such as the mysterious disappearance of his body in his grave and the curse of Dracula at Castle Dracula. And also tells us about Bram Stokers novel and the inspiration he got from the Impaler to create his notorious blood sucker in the night.
If someone were to ask me to recommend them a book that just wanted the details about Vlad the Impaler and wanted to just know about him, then I would recommend them this book. I am not a historian in any sense and have not read much into Vlad beforehand, but I found this book very interesting and a very good account of history. I would have also read Bram Stokers Dracula beforehand so the last couple of chapters are not wasted on you.
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There are so many books out there on the history of the real Vlad Dracula, one inspiration for Bram Stoker's vampire of the same name, that at first browse it's difficult to know which of them will give the best and most accurate summary without one resorting to either overly expensive and/or overly academic tomes.

I think in Florescu and McNally's "Dracula, Prince Of Many Faces: His Life And His Times" hits the spot pretty well for an accessible all-rounder.

Florescu's knowledge of Romania ancient and modern help immensely. There's a helpful introduction to terminology and the key character's names in a variety of the main languages used, helpful in understanding the fact, the fiction, the meaning of important words and phrases, locations, and the context of the time. The Pope, the Holy Roman Emperor, the Hungarian Empire, Poland, the countries of Transylvania and Wallachia, the fading Byzantine Empire and the Turkish Empire feature as the political backdrop, and Roman Catholicism, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Islam the religions vying for power.

The authors first follow Bram Stoker's famous fictional pieces (Dracula: Complete, Original Text and Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Tales ) and points out where the stories digress geographically and factually, and then introduce the late Mediaeval setting and Vlad Dracula's family history.
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