The Man Without a Face

The Man Without a Face : The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

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A chilling and unflinching portrait of one of the most fearsome figures in world politics. In 1999, the "Family" surrounding Boris Yeltsin went looking for a successor to the ailing and increasingly unpopular president. Vladimir Putin, with very little governmental or administrative experience--he'd been deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, and briefly, director of the secret police--nevertheless seemed the perfect choice: a "faceless" creature whom Yeltsin and his cronies could mold in their own image. Russia and an infatuated West were determined to see in him the progressive leader of their dreams--even as Putin, with ruthless efficiency, dismantled the country's media, wrested control and wealth from the business class, and destroyed the fragile mechanisms of democracy. Within a few brief years, virtually every obstacle to his unbridled control was removed and every opposing voice silenced, with political rivals and critics driven into exile or to the grave. Masha Gessen has experienced and reported this history firsthand, and brings it up to its present moment of unrest and uncertainty. Her spellbinding account of Putin's rise and reign will stand as a classic of narrative nonfiction.

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  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 26mm | 280g
  • Riverhead Books
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1594486514
  • 9781594486517
  • 105,705

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"[An absorbing portrait...Gessen is most illuminating when she details the historical accidents that allowed an unexceptional bureaucrat to rule Russia" --" The New Yorker " "Part psychological profile, part conspiracy study...As a Moscow native who has written perceptively for both Russian and Western publications, Gessen knows the cultures and pathologies of Russia...[and has] a delicious command of the English language...A fiercely independent journalist...Gessen's armchair psychoanalysis of Putin is speculative. But it is a clever and sometimes convincing speculation, based on a close reading of Putin's own inadvertently revealing accounts of his life, and on interviews with people who knew Putin before he mattered." - "The New York Times Book Review " "In a country where journalists critical of the government have a way of meeting untimely deaths, Ms. Gessen has shown remarkable courage in researching and writing this unflinching indictment of the most powerful man in Russia... Although written before the recent protests erupted, the book helps to explain the anger and outrage driving that movement."--"The Wall Street Journal" "Masha Gessen steps into the fray with a perceptive account of the new czar." - "Newsweek/Daily Beast " "Engrossing and insightful." - "Bloomberg" "Gessen shines a piercing light into every dark corner of Putin's story...Fascinating, hard-hitting reading." -"Foreign Affairs" "[An] incisive bildingsroman of Putin and his regime...Alongside an acute apprehension of the post-Soviet dynamics that facilitated Putin's rise, Gessen balances narratives of Putin-as-bureaucrat and Putin-as-kleptocrat with a wider indictment of the "Mafia clan" that retains him solely as its Godfather." - "The Daily " "Illuminating... Gessen sprinkles telltale signs of the Putin who would eventually emerge and rule Russia with an iron fist...It is with these explosive revelations that Gessen truly excels...[Sh

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About Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen is a Russian-American journalist who writes fluently in Russian and English. She contributes frequently to "Vanity Fair," "The New York Times," "Newsweek," "Slate," and many other publications. The author of several previous books, she lives in Moscow.

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