- Publisher: Riverhead Books,U.S.
- Format: Hardback | 314 pages
- Dimensions: 160mm x 231mm x 30mm | 522g
- Publication date: 1 March 2012
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 1594488428
- ISBN 13: 9781594488429
- Sales rank: 58,737
"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 her 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" she has drawn on information and sources no other writer has tapped. Her account of how a "faceless" man maneuvered his way into absolute-and absolutely corrupt-power has the makings of a classic of narrative nonfiction.
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Masha Gessen is a journalist and the author of several previous books, most recently "Perfect Rigor." Editor of the Russian-language "Snob "magazine, she has contributed to "Vanity Fair," "The New Republic," "Granta," and "Slate," among other publications.
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" "Gesse