Book Review: Dracula Was a Woman: In Search of the Blood Countess

Warning: This is not your average vampire story, this is the story of a woman who tortured 600 girls to death, and loved every minute of it. It is not a story of love, but a story of unchecked power. Not only is vampireism discussed, but werewolves, necrophilia and torture are described in excruciating detail.

We have all heard the story of the Romanian queen who bathed in the blood of virgins so that she would stay young. One man was so intrigued by these legends that he went to Transylvania to investigate and uncover the truth of one of the woman who may have started the vampire myth. Raymond T. McNally was a professor at Boston College who specialized in Dracula stories. The book follows his journey in discovering the facts about Elizabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess. He analyzes court documents as well as visits the sites. McNally does an excellent job of putting the story in historical context. This all took place during a time when there was an escalation of conflict between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire.

McNally treats his subject fairly, focusing on the grisly facts. I won’t go into details, but his accounts are vivid and grisly. I was interested to see that his account of Bathory only took up the first half of the book. He then goes on to describe the Blood

Book Cover

Book Cover

Countess’s role in literary cannon, and shows her role the development of the vampire, werewolf, and necrophile themes. Vampires are in now, and if you are looking for an account of the closest thing we have had to a real vampire, then look no further. The book is also an excellent rescource if you are looking to find new books or movies about vampires. It was a great read, at times it seemed to flit around, but all told a factual account that puts its subject in historical perspective, which is exactly what I am looking for.

Amazon lists it as being a bit pricey:

http://www.amazon.com/Dracula-Was-Woman-Countess-Transylvania/dp/0070456712

but I’m sure you can pick it up used somewhere.

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Published in: on August 3, 2009 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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