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, Ms. Gessen has shown remarkable courage in researching and writing this unflinching indictment of the most powerful man in Russia.” —The Wall Street Journal 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 is the definitive biography of Vladimir Putin.
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"This was a book that put everything that I have suspected together. Even though I have always known Russia is corrupt, I have not realized the extent of this corruption. It is amazing to realize how much people did not know about Putin and for how long they did not know it. It's a very important book because when there is no way that the people of Russia can legally take back their power, journalists like Masha Gessen are the ones who fill the power gap."
Liza (5 out of 5 stars)