An award-winning historian and translator, Douglas Smith is the author of five books on Russia. His works have been translated into a dozen languages. He studied German and Russian at the University of Vermont, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and has a doctorate in history from UCLA.
Over the past thirty years Douglas has made many trips to Russia. In the 1980s, he was a Russian-speaking guide on the U.S. State Department’s exhibition “Information USA” that traveled throughout the USSR. He has worked as a Soviet affairs analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich, Germany, specializing in Russian nationalism, and once served as an interpreter for late President Reagan.
Douglas has taught and lectured widely in the United States, Britain, and Europe and has appeared in documentaries for A&E, National Geographic, and the BBC. He is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including a Fulbright scholarship and a residency at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study Center.
His book Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy was a bestseller in the UK. It won the inaugural Pushkin House Russian Book Prize in 2013, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and was chosen Book of the Year by Andrew Solomon in Salon.
His latest book, Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs, was published in November 2016 in the US and the UK. The most complete biography ever written, Rasputin draws on long-lost documents from archives in seven different countries to overturn many of the old myths about the infamous Russian mystic, presenting Rasputin in a fascinating new light. Publishers Weekly calls it “Monumental and soul-shaking … written with a Dostoevskian flair for noir and obsession.”
Born and raised in Minnesota, Douglas has lived in Vienna, London, and Moscow, and is now based in Seattle with his wife and two children.