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.
©2012 Masha Gessen (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“A thorough account…[Gessen] has written something rare: an accessible book about an unreachable man.” (New York Times Book Review on Perfect Rigor)
“Despite news reports, Putin doesn’t have quite the notoriety he deserves in the West; Gessen should push him to the forefront.” (Library Journal)
I listen to approximately 40 hours of audio books a month. I love audio books.
I've always been fascinated by Russia and Russian history. I firmly believe Russia is heading for another political/social catastrophe and this book only reinforces this belief. Listening to The Man Without A Face helped me better understand the mafia type organisation the Russian gov has now developed into. I feel sorry for the average Russian. On a side note I loved the narrator. Justine Eyre did a fantastic job reading this book. I'm going to watch out for her. Excellent book, thank you Masha!
The author did great job of storytelling, but the story was not that of Putin. It is the story of Russia's fledging and flailing Democratic gasps and Putin is merely an important player in that story.
Enough story and analysis is given to be a damning critique of the man, his mind, and his rule, but it is not a well researched biography, nor is one likely possible for decades.
This was a really engaging biography of Putin which was surrounded by a lot of context and Russian history. Even though it was written a few years ago, it has given me a lot of understanding of current day Russia and its president. The narration was not amazing but didn't get in the way of the story. Highly recommended.
The gall, disregard for other people and coldness of this modern day dictator is a reminder that the human race is still plagued with a sinful nature that only transformation through belief in Jesus can destroy.
I learned more about Russia's history than I did about how Putin came to power. If I wanted that I would have purchased a Russian history book. it just wasn't what I wanted or expected.
I saw 'The Pagemaster' in elementary school.
Very interesting topic, but the writing is the kind you may want to go into with a glass of water (i.e. because it's a bit dry). But more so than that, I couldn't help but find the narrator's sex kitten vocal fry distracting from the content, though it did bespeak a tone of detached cynicism that I felt goes hand in hand with the futilistic description of Russian corruption.
I listened to the audio and followed along with the print because it was such dense material. I needed a better understanding of Russia in general and this was a wonderful piece to clarify my interest.
Yes, but hopefully with a different narrator.
The author, Masha Gessen. I enjoyed her story and analysis of changes in modern Russian history and how Putin came to power.
Instead of trying hard to fake Russian accent it would be better to focus on correct pronounciation of Russian names and toponyms. It was almost painful to listen at times, despite the excellent qualities of the book itself.
Modern Russia, a story of stolen freedom.
I truly enjoyed the book, Masha Gessen's analysis of recent events in Russia where I spent a lot of time and lived through Perestroika years. Masha Gessen became one of my favorite authors. I would recommend a different narrator though since fake Russian accent and incorrectly pronounced names and toponyms distract from enjoying this excellent book.
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