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4.0 

The Man Without a Face

By Masha Gessen
The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

National Book Award winner Masha Gessen's biography of a ruthless man's ascent to near-absolute power.

“In a country where journalists critical of the government have a way of meeting untimely deaths, Gessen has shown remarkable courage in researching and writing this unflinching indictment of the most powerful man in Russia.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Thanks to fearless reporting and acute psychological insights, Masha Gessen has done the impossible in writing a highly readable, compelling life of Russia's mysterious president-for-life.” –Tina Brown, The Daily Beast


The Man Without a Face is the chilling account of how a low-level, small-minded KGB operative ascended to the Russian presidency and, in an astonishingly short time, destroyed years of progress and made his country once more a threat to his own people and to the world.
 
Handpicked as a successor by the "family" surrounding an ailing and increasingly unpopular Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin seemed like a perfect choice for the oligarchy to shape according to its own designs. Suddenly the boy who had stood in the shadows, dreaming of ruling the world, was a public figure, and his popularity soared. Russia and an infatuated West were determined to see the progressive leader of their dreams, even as he seized control of media, sent political rivals and critics into exile or to the grave, and smashed the country's fragile electoral system, concentrating power in the hands of his cronies.

As a journalist living in Moscow, Masha Gessen experienced this history firsthand, and for The Man Without a Face has drawn on information and sources no other writer has tapped. This account of how a "faceless" man maneuvered his way into absolute—and absolutely corrupt—power is the definitive biography of Vladimir Putin.

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27 Reviews

4.0
“I found this book enthralling. I knew about things like the possible FSB involvement with the apartment bombings, but I didn’t realize the evidence was quite as strong as what’s presented here. I had forgotten about things like the school and theater hostage situations, but Gessen also IMHO makes a pretty compelling case for, at the very minimum, extreme cynicism on the part of the Russian government in exploiting those events to inspire fear—and likely more active involvement. I get the criticism that Gessen put a lot of herself in this book, but a lot of it is reported firsthand, and her story as a reporter allows you to really follow the collapse of civil society in Russia. So many disturbing parallels to the modern US—from “special electoral culture” to media filter bubbles to discriminatory legalism (DJT’s apparent use of the IRS to investigate his FBI enemies seems particularly Putin-esque) to a modern Republican Party kept in line by fear of a mafia-like leader.”
“I found this book enthralling. I knew about things like the possible FSB involvement with the apartment bombings, but I didn’t realize the evidence was quite as strong as what’s presented here. I had forgotten about things like the school and theater hostage situations, but Gessen also IMHO makes a pretty compelling case for, at the very minimum, extreme cynicism on the part of the Russian government in exploiting those events to inspire fear—and likely more active involvement. I get the criticism that Gessen put a lot of herself in this book, but a lot of it is reported firsthand, and her story as a reporter allows you to really follow the collapse of civil society in Russia. So many disturbing parallels to the modern US—from “special electoral culture” to media filter bubbles to discriminatory legalism (DJT’s apparent use of the IRS to investigate his FBI enemies seems particularly Putin-esque) to a modern Republican Party kept in line by fear of a mafia-like leader.”

About Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen is the author of eleven other books, including the National Book Award–winning The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia and Surviving Autocracy. A staff writer at The New Yorker and the recipient of numerous awards, including Guggenheim and Carnegie fellowships, Gessen teaches at Bard College and lives in New York City.

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