The Man without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin Audiobook | Masha Gessen | Audible.com
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The Man without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin | [Masha Gessen]

The Man without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (108 )
5 star
 (38)
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3.6 (100 )
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    John Oak Park, IL, United States 04-01-12
    John Oak Park, IL, United States 04-01-12 Member Since 2008
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    "very good points, but bias is evident"

    Masha Gessen is right on with her description of Vladimir Putin and his Regime as a gang of thugs. Hurray for her publicizing this important message which still hasn't gotten through to people at some institutions (IMF, EBRD, UN, World Bank, etc.).

    My criticism is that she describes certain oligarchs (Berezovsky, Gusinsky, Khodorkovsky) as being honest businessmen who were wrongfully oppressed. Let's be honest - these oligarchs are no better than Putin himself.

    John Christmas, author of "Democracy Society"

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nate Jackson, MS, United States 10-15-13
    Nate Jackson, MS, United States 10-15-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Mr. Putin looks on with bored, icy blue eyes as:"

    •He hunts without a shirt on.
    •He takes over the TV station/media and exiles the majority stock holders in order to create his own news.
    •The FSB plants bombs in apartment buildings and blames the Chechens (bags of hexagen marked as sugar).
    •He hires 7 ambassador-cronies to oversee the various regions and control the voting process.
    •He reverts to the former Soviet national song… slash fear-mongering totalitarian state.
    •He jokes on Larry King Live about a nuclear submarine that sank during a drill with no rescue attempts, killing 113 Russian sailors.
    •He cuddles with dolphins.
    •300 hostages (mostly women and children) were killed by federal troops that stormed a school.
    •129 hostages were killed post-rescue due to a gas attack by a SWAT team at a Moscow Theatre.
    •The dismantling of democracy reaches completion.
    •Innumerable Russian journalists, lawyers, and dissenters are imprisoned/exiled and/or killed.
    •Polonium murders abound.
    •He steals Kraft’s NFL Championship ring.
    •And much, much more!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Jack CA 05-08-12
    Bob Jack CA 05-08-12 Member Since 2011

    FATBOY

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    "Interesting and entertaining"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, great perspective on life outside of the USA.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Great narrative; good storytelling.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    While it may be a little bias and it's clear the author has strong feelings I found it easy to get past that and enjoyed the book for what it was. Sure, there's some speculation but it's great to hear from a journalist living through history, a very disturbing history that most Americans and world citizens are probably oblivious too (I know I was/am). Very interesting listen and very engaging. All the more so, given current world events.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth WASHINGTON, DC, United States 07-25-12
    Kenneth WASHINGTON, DC, United States 07-25-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How Putin got so much Power so fast...."
    Would you listen to The Man without a Face again? Why?

    I liked this, quite a lot, and have listened so some chapters a number of times. Yes, she's a journalist, and there are a number of personal stories, but that makes it interesting. The story of Gary Kasparov's abortive attempt to run, is sad, and emblematic of what's happened.


    Have you listened to any of Justine Eyre’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I like it, though a few of her Russian accents are a tad over-the-top.... But how else is she going to handle it?


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It's sad...unremittingly tragic.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought some of the other reviewers were unnecessarily tough on this book. It's a Point-of-View.....and doesn't profess to be anything else....

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bobby Somerville, MA, United States 09-10-12
    Bobby Somerville, MA, United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Interesting, Engaging"

    Very good book - the material was fascinating and well written. At first it seemed silly to hear the narrator switch to her Boris-and-Natasha voice when reading dialogue, but it does work, and eventually becomes disappointing when switches back to non-accented English. I've heard Masha Gessen interviewed and would have rather heard her do the book, but it was still very good.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean MacKenzie Kabul, Afghanistan 12-24-12
    Jean MacKenzie Kabul, Afghanistan 12-24-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Poor performance mars listening experience"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I would much rather have read the book. Listening was painful, due to the really terrible performance. The reader did not know Russian, and got almost every single name wrong, which was terribly distracting. She also read all the quotes in an insulting Boris & Natasha accent that set my teeth on edge.For a book like this you MUST have someone who is familiar with the subject matter and who speaks Russian, or knows it well enough to pronounce "Starovoitova" correctly.I spent a lot of time in Russia and know the events described quite well. I like and respect Masha Gessen, and think the book was well written and well researched. But I almost could not finish it given the performance.It did a real disservice to the text.I think it would be worth rerecording, actually.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Man without a Face?

    I loved the description of the Nord-Ost theater siege, an event I lived through from afar. I was very sad, but perversely satisfied, to learn that Masha's research and interpretation, jibed with my own.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Justine Eyre’s performances?

    NEVER.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes, with pleasure, providing the actors knew what they were doing.


    Any additional comments?

    The performance ruined the book for me. I will have to buy it on Kindle to be able to enjoy it. I drive quite a bit cross country, and was looking forward to listening to this book on the way. It was such a disappointment.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Y. Cohen Chappaqua, NY 06-20-13
    Y. Cohen Chappaqua, NY 06-20-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Excellent!"
    Where does The Man without a Face rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    If you want to understand why Putin is helping Syria's Asad by selling him more weapons, and why he's helping Iran, and whether or not he stole Robert Kraft's Super Bowl ring in 2005, read this book. It provides a fascinating look at Putin, from his days as a child to his current role as President of Russia.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Man without a Face?

    The most memorable moment was how Putin behaved when a Russian submarine (the Kursk) sunk. Putin didn't let any foreigners - who had the ability to save the sailors - save the Kursk, and all 118 sailors and officers aboard died.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The book is getting interesting as you go along. I remembered many of the events that were discussed in the book, but got a different perspective of each event as the author explained what really happened, and how Putin influenced, and sometimes controlled the event.


    Any additional comments?

    A Must read for everyone who loves history, and who really wants to understand Putin's motives.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tony Ottawa, ON, Canada 01-14-13
    Tony Ottawa, ON, Canada 01-14-13 Member Since 2012

    I listen to approximately 40 hours of audio books a month. I love audio books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Want to better understand the new Russia?"

    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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles H. Hoens Princeton, NJ USA 03-31-14
    Charles H. Hoens Princeton, NJ USA 03-31-14 Listener Since 1999
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    "Narration Flawed"
    If you could sum up The Man without a Face in three words, what would they be?

    Insight into Putin


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Putin's rise to power.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Have some pride! Learn to pronounce the Russian words. For example, it's Ro-Dee-Na not ro-din-ah and worse, it's Metallurgy not, "metallic-ly"


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    A little bland and tough to follow, but made harder by the poor narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Fayetteville, AR, United States 03-28-14
    Jeff Fayetteville, AR, United States 03-28-14 Member Since 2011

    Jeff

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    "Not put together an pretty one sided"
    What disappointed you about The Man without a Face?

    The voice does not fit this book in the narration. Sounds like it belongs to a novel. The story itself is poorly resourced so it came across to me as more of a propaganda bio rather than a legitimate bio. I could not finish it.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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