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Editorial Reviews

"I read this book in one night.... It leaves a profoundly scary impression: [Putin's court is the] real House of Cards." (Lev Lurie, writer and historian)

Publisher's Summary

All the Kremlin's Men is a gripping narrative of an accidental king and a court out of control. Based on an unprecedented series of interviews with Vladimir Putin's inner circle, this book presents a radically different view of power and politics in Russia. The image of Putin as a strongman is dissolved. In its place is a weary figurehead buffeted - if not controlled - by the men who at once advise and deceive him.

The regional governors and bureaucratic leaders are immovable objects, far more powerful in their fiefdoms than the president himself. So are the gatekeepers - those officials who guard the pathways to power - on whom Putin depends as much as they rely on him. The tenuous edifice is filled with all of the intrigue and plotting of a Medici court, as enemies of the state are invented and wars begun to justify personal gains, internal rivalries, or one faction's biased advantage.

A best seller in Russia, All the Kremlin's Men is a shocking revisionist portrait of the Putin era and a dazzling reconstruction of the machinations of courtiers running riot.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 Mikhail Zygar (P)2017 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Pass the weak sauce

I expected a truthful hard-hitting expose and I got a cold hot dog with relish instead. It's hard to believe that anyone worth their weight as a journalist would write such a bland limp-wristed portrait of the world's most corrupt and criminal leader. Oh, I forgot, he still lives in Russia.

An Anna Politkovskaya he is NOT. I suggest reading something a little less whitewashy like Karen Dawisha, Masha Gessen, or Bill Browder. Anyone who reads this will know less than when they started...

Good narration, though.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Enough with the Russian accents!

This is such an amazing book. But the reader insisted on doing a Russian accent any time a Russian was speaking. It ended up being super distracting.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Very insightful and we'll researched view of Putin

I greatly enjoyed this well researched book on how Putin's government operates and views the world. It also provides significant insight into the nature of Putin's character and how his views have evolved over time.

Clearly there is a great deal of blame to go around between the West and Russia for the breakdown in their relations and this book fairly details that.

My only complaint is the narrator's insistence on using a bad Russian accident when quoting Russians. This accient is even used for German and Arab protagonists. Would have been better to have had no accient at all.

Otherwise it is an all-round great listen and super interning and insightful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Information not easy to get, that's for sure.

An interesting behind the scenes look at many figures past and present who have worked with the current Russian leader, outlining information about them many in the west haven't heard before.

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Intriguing insight into Putin

It’s an old story,once someone tastes power then they want more power.This is an excellent narrative,well written and well read.Fully recommended.

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Want to get to know of the inner workings of Kremlin?

Super interesting story of how Putin get to power in the late 1990’s, and how Putin gordana from being quiet pro-West to recent the Americans and the western politicians. The story is exiting as a Russian “House of Cards”. The topic and the book deserves it own TV-series. I think many Europeans could learn a lot about Russian and European politics from this highly relevant deep dive into the inner workings of Russian politics.

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  • Derrick
  • 04-22-18

Brilliant analysis, awful narration

I listened to this having watched a lecture by a US intelligence expert on Russia, who described Zygar as the foremost analyst of Putin's Russia. Having spent time in Russia many years ago and following its politics ever since, I sense his assessment is correct. This narrative rings true, with numerous interviews with some of the peripheral players in this Byzantine story. This book carries important insights as we see a new Cold War no longer predicted, but seemingly now accepted as fact.

I have to agree, though, with another reviewer; the narrator is awful. Admittedly he has a challenge as the book is peppered with verbatim quotes from the various interviewees, and it is important to distinguish between these and the author's own "voice". So a bad "James Bond baddie" accent ("Ah Mister Bond, what an unexpected pleasure") might be excusable. But what really mars the book is his pronunciation of surnames. They are not just odd, they are flat wrong. I sometimes struggled to understand who he was talking about until I cottoned on and thought: "Oh, he means HIM!". In this vein, Prime Minister and ex-President Medvedev is given a degree of anonymity that the FSB could not achieve. In Russian, many surnames change when referring to a female, with an "a" added at the end. In the mouth of this narrator, Shevardnadze and Lyushenko are amongst many senior political figures who undergo a sex change.

All of this is not enough to ruin a powerful piece of investigative journalism, but it does make it a good deal harder to follow a complex web of intrigue. Beyond that, it just grates like hell.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Gray Emma
  • 11-23-17

An excellent analysis

This is a really good retelling of Putin’s rise to power and of the “collective Putin” that has run Russia through the first two decades of the 21st century. It provides a great deal of insight into intrigues and fills in important details missing from many Western analyses.

The only criticism I have is of the narrator. Between his inability to pronounce key names (e.g. he keeps saying “Volushin” in lieu of “Voloshin”) and his unfortunate decision to voice quotations from Russians with an “Ensign Chekhov” accent, he has detracted from an otherwise riveting book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-18-18

Excellent summary of the modern Russian scene

Eye opening accounts of the Russia from the 1990s till 2016. It is rare to find independent journalistic reports of Russia and this book is one of them. A must read it you're interested in world politics with Russia in mind.

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  • Quentin Black
  • 07-30-18

Superb.

Very thorough and expansive look at one of the most polarizing figures of our time.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-26-18

An amazing look at the rise of Putin

A fantastic book, a well researched look into the rise of Putin. I encourage everyone, not just Russophiles to take a read. It would do the world a lot of good to understand the political situation in which the world currently stands.