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Dracula, Prince of Many Faces: His Life and His Times Paperback – Bargain Price, October 31, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The fictional Dracula of Bram Stoker's novel is better known than the actual Vlad Dracula the Impaler, who ruled as prince of Wallachia for three brief periods in the mid-15th century. This study by two Boston College professors who have written other books about Dracula explores how the legend of the Transylvanian vampire arose. As a ruler, Dracula spread terror far and wide, inflicting appalling tortures on his victims, killing them by impalement, by boiling or skinning them alive. Yet when the time came to defend Europe against Turkish invaders, he led the battle, and the authors view him as "the first modern Renaissance prince of the land." Florescu and McNally offer so much detail about the battles of kings, princes, princelings and claimants to thrones that the book will appeal only to the most ardent Dracula fanatics. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Dracula is the third book that Florescu and McNally, both historians at Boston College, have written about either the real Dracula or the legendary vampire ( Dracula: A Historical Biography of the Impaler, 1431-1476 , Hawthorn, 1973; LJ 2/1/74). This scholarly work focuses almost exclusively upon the "real" Dracula, a 15th-century Romanian prince. The authors present him as a multifaceted figure, a national hero still revered for defending Romania from the Turks, yet also a psychopath who used his power indiscriminately to torture and murder thousands of his enemies and subjects. Because of the constant interest in the occult (especially in the vampire Dracula), public libraries will want this for popular collections. Because of its sound treatment of an important figure in Eastern European history, academic libraries also should consider.
- Ann H. Sullivan, Tompkins Cortland Community Coll. Lib., Dryden,
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 261 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co; New Ed edition (October 31, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316286567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316286565
  • ASIN: B000JBY0RO
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,601,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Robert Jarvis ( on February 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
The title may sound flippant, but make no mistake, this is a very deep & studious history of the character. Thrill seekers should be more than satisfied by the vivid descriptions of Dracula's divers forms of despatching those poor individuals who incurred his wrath. The authors deal both thoroughly & entertainingly with all the characters, wars, international intrigues, & give a chilling idea of what life was about in those violent & dangerous times. Dracula in particular is described in a most non-judgemental manner. Whilst it is impossible to defend his awful behaviour, study of his early life leads one to easily understand how his baser instincts might be brought to the surface. The book abounds with ironies & contrasts. Depending on the country of origin, there are totally different historical treatments of his deeds. He was brave, cruel, ambitious, devious, loyal, unreliable, resourceful & vain. A clever, or honest response to his interrogation could result in impalement, or dinner & a pot of gold, depending on Dracula's violent & unpredictable mood swings. Anyone however, remotely interested in seriously knowing more about Dracula's "life & times" can't fail to be impressed by this book.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
In an earlier review I wrote regarding Dr. McNally's work on Robert Louis Stevenson, I noted that I had been a student of his in college. In reviewing this book, rather than discuss the meat of what lies within, I thought I would relate a couple of stories related to me by Professor McNally.
The first is that the opening of Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula film was inspired directly by the writings in McNally and Florescu's two Dracula books, although there was a bit of tiff over the fact no credit was given.
The second tidbit came later in that semester, when I caught an "In Search Of..." episode on A&E which detailed the search for Dracula's castle and featured some rube gumming happily to the camera over his discovery. Well, the next day I tracked down the Professor and mentioned it to him. Befitting his status as the "Dracula professor", he let out this deep, rumbling and, well...evil, laugh. He was well acquainted with the special, and the simple fact was the castle in the special was the wrong one! In fact, as Prof. McNally evidenced in class soon after with a nifty little highlight video from the late 70's/early '80's, he and Radu Florescu had gained their noteriety by being the ones to find and prove which castle belonged to the historical Vlad.
These two stories evidenced for me, and ought to evidence for the prospective buyer, that Ray McNally and his longtime associate Radu Florescu are the definitive academics on the historical Vlad and the legend of Dracula. If you are interested in the man and the myth, then you need go no further than "Dracula: Prince of Many Faces" and "In Search of Dracula: The History of Dracula and Vampires".
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
Florescu and McNally have done a commendable job not only at revealing the historical person of Dracula but also at providing the reader with a fascinating window into the man's world. I found this work extremely informative since I am deeply interested in the history of Eastern and Central Europe and well-written and well-researched works in English can be difficult to come across when it comes to this part of the world. It is nice to read a book about this period and not have to wade through a myriad of contemporary Western biases.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By on January 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm a college professor in History and next semester I'll be offering a special course titled Dracula and his Contemporaries. I have chosen Prince of Many Faces as one of the required readings after reading most of what is available on Vlad in English. Florescu's biography is impossible to put down. It is written for the general public and is scholarly at the same time. The title tells us exactly what we will find in the book. But it also provides a selection of translated contemporary sources which allows us to savor the contemporaty attitudes towards the Impaler.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Baird on September 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
The world over, Vlad the Impaler is considered a ruthless and bloodthirsty tyrant who butchered 100,000 people just for the sick pleasure of watching them die. Sure, this is absolutely true, and in Romania they say it with pride, where he is regarded somewhere on a level between George Washington and Jesus. A huge chunk of Transylvanian land that Vlad gave to a clan of minor nobles was never made subject to Communist collectivization 500 years later. Maybe Romanians know something we don't.

Virtually every movie about him has been a blockbuster and every book a top seller (including the ones that came straight off Gutenberg's press!), but this is one of the few biographies about him. It is also the only one that dares to tell the story of the desperate conditions that threatened his sovereignty. This tells not only the most complete story of Dracula's life, but puts it into context by giving accounts of all the players and politics of the 15th century Eruopean theater.

The stories about and around Vlad's life are enough to satisfy anyone's thirst for romance, horror, or history. As he is faced with the incalculable odds against him, one will marvel at Vlad's fast and effective soultions to his multitude of problems. He is, for example, a true pioneer in the fields of chemical and germ warfare on the battlefield. Domestically, the tales concerning government reform, rearmament, Transylvanian justice, and what could be termed as the first "barbecue for the homeless," are both horrific and hilarious. No book about the condition of Dracula's death can ever compare to the story of his life.
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