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

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

Paperback Riverhead

By (author) Masha Gessen

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  • Publisher: Riverhead Books
  • Format: Paperback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 25mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 3 May 2013
  • ISBN 10: 1594486514
  • ISBN 13: 9781594486517
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 67,066

Product description

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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Author information

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.

Review quote

A "Slate "and "San Francisco Chronicle "Best Book of 2012 "[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" "Thanks to her 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 " "Powerful and gracefully written... Gessen's book flows on multiple tracks, tracing Putin's life back to boyhood, the story of his hometown of St. Petersburg, and finally the last quarter-century of Russian history... For all of the ghoulish detail, Gessen's account of Russia is not overwrought... [she] displays impressive control of her prose and her story, painting a portrait of a vile Putin without sounding polemical." -"San Francisco Chronicle" "Engrossing and insightful." -"Bloomberg" "G