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In Search of Dracula: The History of Dracula and Vampires Paperback – October 31, 1994

4.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Little did the coauthors realize at the time they embarked upon this project over a glass of plum brandy in Bucharest more than twenty-five years ago, that their work would result in the discovery of the authentic, bloodthirsty prototype for Bram Stoker's famous novel Dracula." This pioneering study, first published in 1972, became a collector's item, so this fully updated edition is welcome indeed. The authors' pursuit of the notion that Vlad the Impaler (1431-76) was the original Dracula--through treks both antiquarian (in old libraries and museums) and geographic (in areas of Romania that were once Transylvania and Walachia)--has the thrill of an adventure story. In Search of Dracula is also an entertaining introduction to vampire lore and to people's obsession with Dracula. It has a delightful cover by Edward Gorey and numerous illustrations, including antique woodcuts of Vlad's impaled victims and photos from the authors' trips to Romania.

From Library Journal

McNally and Florescu, the authors of several Dracula-related titles, here trace the history of Vlad Tepes, a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler, the murderous Romanian prince upon whom Bram Stoker based his infamous blood-drinking count (LJ 2/1/73). The duo gathered their information from Romanian peasant oral history and firsthand archaeological research. This updated edition also includes information on the vampire legend, an extensive filmography, and excerpts from Stoker's recently discovered diaries.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Rev Sub edition (October 31, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395657830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395657836
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If given the choice I would prefer to split this book down the middle, the first half being given fours stars and the second 1. I would have to say that the title of the books says this is a history of vampires as well as dracula. I think this is incorrect; there is one chapter on vampiric folklore which to be blunt is very vague and doesn't really tell you anything.

However, whilst I have doubts about there use of some evidence (the authors repeatedly seem very trusting of peasant folklore) the chapters on Dracula (Vlad Tepes), which constitute the bulk of the book, are very good and the book is worth buying for that alone.

I do have the feeling that once this was done the authors needed to padd the book out and hence add three chapters on vampire fiction to the present day. It is only because I have an obsessive need to finish any book I start that I finished this, otherwise I would have given up contented once they had finished with Dracula.

However, I am in agreement with the previous reviewer who stated that the score was recued by the appendixes. By bringing such resources in one place it is a very useful aid to the reader's further research and hence am happy to recommend.
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Format: Paperback
A nice blend of scholarship with fascination, this is the first book to look for the truth behind the fiction. Does a nice job not only of explaining where Bram Stoker got the bits and pieces he picked up to turn Vlad the Impaler into Count Dracula, but also puts the Wallachian Prince in historical perspective. There are more detailed biographies of Vlad out there, but this is really the book that opened the door and its writers are paricularly well suited to the task. If you only want to read one book about the real Dracula and his transformation into one of the major fictional characters of all time, this would be that book.
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Format: Paperback
"In Search of Dracula" is an exploration into any historical basis that may exist for Bram Stoker's icon of gothic horror, Count Dracula. The authors, Raymond McNally and Radu Florescu, both history professors at Boston College, undertook seven research expeditions to investigate their hypothesis that the infamous vampire Count was in part based on a real person: the 15th century Eastern European ruler Vlad Tepes, Prince of Wallachia, otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler. Vlad Tepes' father was Vlad Dracul, who ruled Wallachia before him, and Tepes preferred the name "Dracula", by which he was widely known in his own time. Bram Stoker's Count Dracula appears to have been inspired by stories of Vlad the Impaler along with the vampire folklore of the region that the historical Dracula dominated. Vlad the Impaler has never been considered a vampire by his countrymen, and similarities to the fictional Count are superficial, but they are enough to indicate more than coincidence: The two men have the same name. Count Dracula is from Transylvania, while Prince Dracula was from neighboring Wallachia, but his castle was on the Transylvanian border. Both men led their nations to victory against the incurring Ottoman Turks. And both were widely feared. Vlad the Impaler was and still is considered to be one of the most bloodthirsty and Machiavellian leaders to have ever lived, having murdered an estimated one fifth of his own population. Legend has it that the ruthless Prince ate bread dipped in the blood of his victims. That's not substantiable, but it may provide a further connection to Bram Stoker's fictional Count.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I'm a college professor in History and next semester I will be offering a special course on Dracula and his Contemporaries. I have chosen this book as one of the required readings. It serves as a companion volume to Florescu's Dracula: Prince of Many Faces. Particularly useful are the bibliography and the translated documents. The book tells us about the research the authors did on Vlad the Impaler and about his career as Prince of Wallachia.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was disappointed with this book. I have read the authors' biography of Dracula, and found little new or worthwhile presented here. Moreover, the title is deceptive. Very little of this book is devoted to the history of vampires, and too much of it deals with modern popular culture. Given that the authors are serious scholars, I was hoping for a detailed look at popular culture roughly at the time of Vlad Tepes. I highly recommend the authors' other book, "Dracula: Prince of Many Faces," but find little merit in this volume. I think this book might have more appeal to a general audience. So, if you are looking for some basic background on the "real" Dracula (Vlad Tepes), and the basics of how he fits into folklore and popular culture, then this book may very well be for you. It is well written, and draws on the authors' considerable knowledge. It just was not what I expected or hoped for.
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Format: Paperback
This is one entertaining volume, one I can refer back to time and time again. The writers give a very matter-of-fact account of the life and times of Vlad Tepes, occasionally laced with a bit of wry humor, and relate the legends that have grown around ye olde impaler. From there, they take us through Bram Stoker and his background, and on to the celluloid versions of Dracula, all without pausing for breath...and happily so. My favorite bits are the various legends about Prince Vlad told from several points of view, and how they compare with each other. Very revealing, and always entertaining. Great fun for vampire afficionados and "serious" devotees alike.
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