I received No One Man Should Have All That Power by Amos Barshad directly from Abrams Books as an advanced reader copy. It is a survey of popular culture that discusses the idea of “Rasputinism,” which takes place when one person who remains behind the scenes is actually a puppeteer of a fare more public and influential individual. I was immediately drawn to this book as I have an interest in sociology and a book discussing how one person can gain the power to influence many was very intriguing. This informative novel consists of interviews and research done by Barshad and his own input as to how one person, and in some cases multiple people, can influence others for good or bad. This work of nonfiction is compelling in a myriad of ways, but I would like to focus on the way the publishers chose to market the book. Beginning with the title, No One Man Should Have All That Power is reminiscent of a Kanye West song entitled “Power” which tells the story of a person drunk off their own power and influence over others. Anyone who has heard of the song will automatically be curious as to what similarities the book has to the song, it was no accident that Barshad agreed to go with this title. Even the cover is provocative to potential readers as a hand pulling a marionette’s strings graces the front and although we do not see the puppet, it is obvious that the hand is manipulating something. And that is just from close-up. From a distance, it is easy to imagine that it is a hand stretching out for someone or something, in this instance it would be power, the ability to use one’s own influence to shape the minds of others. It is a driving force, a hand reaching out daring a reader to come and meet it.
Overall score: 5⭐
I enjoyed this piece on many levels, reading about the extent of Rasputin’s hold on the Tsar and Tsarina was a great refresher on who the overly sexual and self-proclaimed monk was and helped me to understand where the author was coming from. Barshad provides a lot of detail into each case and I was amazed as to how in depth his research was and how he was able to interview so many Rasputins, even the ones who had fallen from grace and were no longer able to manipulate to the capacity that they truly wished. This book is a case study that truly encourages the reader to think about the powerful and how the few can have such a large impact on the world around us. There were many names in this book that I had never encountered before but after reading Barshad’s work, I will undoubtedly be looking into the Rasputins that may have an influence on my own daily life.
What are some power plays you’re familiar with? Does this book seem like one you would enjoy? Let me know down below in the comments. Be sure to share this post with another bookish person or perhaps someone who isn’t bookish. Check me out on Goodreads and Instagram and feel free to ask me any questions on my contact page or down below in the comments!