The Man without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin Paperback – 3 Jan 2013
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"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
"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 Putin's 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"
"Written in English but with Russian heart, Gessen focuses on the places and institutions that bred the nation's most resolute leader since Stalin... Some might say that Gessen's interpretation is political. Of course it is... but more importantly, it is thorough. She has seen fellow journalists killed, has been harassed herself, and yet continues to write from Russia... Her urgency is felt on nearly every page." -"Bookforum"
"[Gessen] shines a piercing light into every dark corner of Putin's story... Fascinating, hard-hitting reading." -"Foreign Affairs "
"Although Gessen is enough of an outsider to write beautifully clear and eloquent English, she is enough of an insider to convey, accurately, the wild swings of emotions, the atmosphere of mad speculation, the paranoia, and, yes, the hysteria that pervade all political discussion and debate in Moscow today." -"The New York Review of Books"
"Illuminating... It is with [the] explosive revelations that Gessen truly excels... an electrifying read from what can only be described as an incredibly brave writer." - --Columbia Journalism Review
Bold, detailed, and eloquent. --'Paperback of the Year', Independent on Sunday
About the Author
MASHA GESSEN is a journalist who has written for Slate, the New Republic, the New York Times and other publications. She is the author of several books, including Dead Again, Two Babushkas and Blood Matters: A Journey Along the Genetic Frontier. She lives in Moscow.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a journalistic account and Gessen makes it clear from the outset that she is strongly opposed to the Putin regime. It is not an impartial analysis that you could quote for an academic essay but it is very readable and, in the end, quite optimistic. I recommend it to anyone interested in Russian politics.
Everyone with the remotest interest in politics, Russia or just the future of the world should read this book. For years the media in the West have shut their eyes to the true nature of Mr Putin's Russia. Liberal opinion has sort of assumed that he was entitled to the benefit of the doubt - long after there was any doubt to have the benefit of - from decades of practice in giving the benefit of the doubt to the Soviet Union. For years it was only some far-right-wingers who, to their credit, noticed and wrote about the enormity of what was being inflicted on the Russian people.
This includes theft on a titanic scale, both of money and elections, the calculated destruction of democratic structures and the rule of law, and the murder of Russian citizens when short-term political considerations suggest it. It is all dispassionately set out here.
As an account of Mr Putin's gruesome career it is hard to fault this book. For a start it is beautifully written. This is not just in the sense that it is elegant and cliché-free and reads as compellingly as a novel, but, more importantly, in that Ms Gessen manages to get across complex matters clearly and succinctly - and some of the shenanigans by which various enormous sums of money reached various back pockets were complex.
She is also fair. She obviously loathes her subject, but she attributes particular atrocities to him only where there is clear evidence.Read more ›
Gessen is clearly a skilled journalist who, for me, has clearly described what she sees and feels in no uncertain terms and I finally feel I have got to know Vladimir Putin. He's a very dangerous and very unlikeable animal.
There is, however, one aspect of modern Russian life I still am not clear about and that is whether the inner workings of the Kremlin are still pulling all the strings or not. I feel that there are some bodies behind Putin who have, as it were, simply unleashed him for him to do as he wishes.
It is diffucult knowing what to believe about Putin as the western media is never going to give the real story. This book being written by a Russian who has lived there during Putin's reign makes the book seem more believable than what western media would. Parts of it I found biase as the writer is anti-Putin, so as with other stories you are never going to get the full truth. All in all, though, I found the book to be very open and thought provoking and a good insight into how many Russians feel about the Putin.
It is very up to date and includes thoughts about the most recent election held in Russia which caused many protests within Moscow and St Petersburg which Masha talks about being involved in.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have found reading some of the reviews on this book almost as interesting as the book itself. We none of us know whether the history we learn is accurate or not but by reading... Read morePublished 3 days ago by F1Hertz
This is a fascinating insight into a world figure. Terrifying. I borrowed it from a friend and then bought my own copy and bought another for someone else and lots of people have... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kindle Anne
Very interesting book about Putin. I learned so much about the man as well as the circumstances in which he came to power. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting and informative if you are interested in modern history and current affairsPublished 8 months ago by Peter Daniels
Fascinating book about Putin's background and state of Russia today. A disturbing account of self-aggrandisement and corruption.Published 11 months ago by Kindle Customer
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