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Extended Audio Sample The Man without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, by Masha Gessen Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (629 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Masha Gessen Narrator: Justine Eyre Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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, making 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 the 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 the 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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Quotes & Awards

  • “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.”

    Wall Street Journal 

  • “Part psychological profile, part conspiracy study…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.”

    New York Times Book Review 

  • “A perceptive account of the new czar.”

    Newsweek/Daily Beast

  • “Gessen is a talented and versatile journalist.”

    Financial Times (London)

  • “[A] luminous study of Russia’s forever leader…demolishing the numerous myths and legends that have accumulated around her subject.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Engrossing and insightful.”

    Bloomberg BusinessWeek

  • “Gessen conveys the atmosphere—whether of the last months of the Soviet Union, the chaotic years of Yeltsin, the strange transfer of the presidency to Putin, or the disappointments of his period—more accurately than any recent chronicler of the period.”

    Independent (London)

  • “An electrifying read.”

    Columbia Journalism Review

  • “[Gessen’s] engaging prose combines a native’s passion with a mordant wit and caustic understatement that are characteristically Russian.”

    Daily Telegraph

  • “[A] courageous, enlightening account of Putin’s rise to power…Brave voices like Gessen’s…have helped shed some much needed light on Putin’s ‘criminal tyranny.’”

    Independent on Sunday (London)

  • “Despite news reports, Putin doesn’t have quite the notoriety in the West he deserves; Gessen should push him to the forefront.”

    Library Journal

  • “A chilling and brave work of nonfiction…Gessen has succeeded in convincingly portraying the forces that made Putin who he is today”

    BookPage 

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A Library Journal Bestseller
  • A Slate Magazine Best Book of 2012: Staff Pick
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Dave | 2/16/2014

    " Very fascinating! A must read for anyone who wants to understand what's going on in Russia right now. I finished the last page anxious for the people of Russia and inpatient to see how this will all end up over the next few years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Gordon Howard | 2/15/2014

    " Passionately written (yet also cynical, how Russian!) story of the monster ruling Russia today. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Laura | 1/24/2014

    " Unlike George Bush, I've always through Vladimir Putin was evil. This book confirms it. An interesting look at post USSR politics. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mijito Chishi | 1/24/2014

    " Revelatory. Made me cringe. There's too much to pretend its not happening. "

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