THE LIFE AND TIMES
OF GRIGORII RASPUTIN by Alex de Jonge
Coward, McCann & Geoghegan 368 pages; $17.95
On the night of July 19, 1907, Alexei, the only son of Nicholas and Alexandra, the Tsar and Tsarina of Imperial Russia, lay in his bed, hemorrhaging. The four-year-old suffered from hemophiliathe hereditary "bleeder" disease for which turn-of-the-century medicine knew no remedy. In desperation the father and mother sent for a holy man, then the rage of St. Petersburg society.
The bedside scene has been reported: "The child . . . began to bubble with laughter. Rasputin laughed too. He laid his hand on the boy's leg...