Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible

The Surreal Heart of the New Russia
Narrated by: Antony Ferguson
Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
Categories: History, Russia
4.5 out of 5 stars (529 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the new Russia, even dictatorship is a reality show.

Professional killers with the souls of artists, would-be theater directors turned Kremlin puppet-masters, suicidal supermodels, Hell's Angels who hallucinate themselves as holy warriors, and oligarch revolutionaries: welcome to the glittering, surreal heart of 21st-century Russia. It is a world erupting with new money and new power, changing so fast it breaks all sense of reality, home to a form of dictatorship far subtler than 20th century strains, that is rapidly rising to challenge the West.

When British producer Peter Pomerantsev plunges into the booming Russian TV industry, he gains access to every nook and corrupt cranny of the country. He is brought to smoky rooms for meetings with propaganda gurus running the nerve-center of the Russian media machine, and visits Siberian mafia-towns and the salons of the international super-rich in London and the US. As the Putin regime becomes more aggressive, Pomerantsev finds himself drawn further into the system.

Dazzling yet piercingly insightful, Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible is an unforgettable voyage into a country spinning from decadence into madness.

©2014 Public Affairs (P)2016 Audiobooks.com Publishing
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

This book really took me by surprise. I just couldn't stop listening once I started. The anecdotal stories are really fascinating and a little bit comical, but the absolute best part about Nothing Is True and Everything is Possible is that it's non fiction!

I found this book to be superbly written. It flows at the perfect pace and is by no means an information overload. There are a lot of facts, but at the same time there are a lot of stories about different situations with a colorful array of characters. Antony Ferguson's reading is outstanding. It feels like the author is telling you his story, rather than it being a separate person. I would give the performance more than 5 stars if I could!

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Russia, and for those that love well written and entertaining non-fiction.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher- thank you!

12 people found this helpful

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A fascinating read about media in Putin's Russia

A really interesting look at how the Russian central authority has adapted control of the media since the fall of Soviet Russia. It is an important cautionary tale for Western democracies trying to grapple with the rise of authoritarianism, a loss of faith in mainstream journalism and an epidemic of fake news.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Captivating Story with Narration Issues

This book offers a great look into the modern Russian psyche, as well as the myriad ways that Russian citizens are manipulated by their leaders and state-controlled media. Well worth listening for anyone trying to build an understanding of Russia as it is today.

Sadly, the narrator cannot do accents to save his life. His attempt at a Russian accent sounds like a bad Jamaican accent, but his American accent is pretty poor too. Can't pronounce Russian words or "Nuclear" correctly.

That said, the information in this book was good enough to pull me through to the mediocre narration. If you choose not to listen, I suggest picking up a paper or digital copy.

5 people found this helpful

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A Great Book That Took Me Totally by Surprise

I wasn't sure what to make of this book from the description. But it got my attention in the first few pages and just kept getting more interesting from there. I really enjoyed this book, from start to finish.

This is not a scholarly treatise on the culture or geopolitics of Russia. It's more a documentary about the people who inhabit it, told by a writer with a TV documentarian's eye for quirky, fascinating details that taken together tell the larger story better than any intellectualized, scholastic study could. The narrator enhances that documentary effect, telling the story in a clear, intelligent style that works well with the material (although the Russian accents were sometimes a bit strained). Instead of just TELLING you about the New Russia, the author lets the reader discover it by introducing you to people and letting them tell the story through the lives they are living. He doesn't try to explain the whole crazy, wonderful, country, but instead takes small slices and watches them with a practiced, interested eye. It's the epic, unexplainable story of modern Russia told one interesting person at a time.

People like the young, beautiful woman from a small industrial backwater town who, along with scores of similar young girls, comes to the city to meet wealthy men (they call them "Forbes" for the Forbes magazine's rich list). Meeting her and seeing the world through her eyes gives you a sense of both the desperation and the hope that seems to permeate this entire society. Or the wealthy, famous gangster who the author watches and interviews while the gangster is making a film . . . about himself. This clever concept allows the reader to see this character and his world as it appears to an outsider, while the film he is making sheds light on the way this man sees himself.

You see these people head on, in the full light of day, but the book is also full of little vignettes and sideways glances that provide context and detail to the landscape that straight, descriptive non-fiction storytelling often doesn't. For instance, in the chapter about the gangster/filmmaker the author mentions almost offhandedly that many of the gangsters who dominate the Russian economy and culture today were in jail during the heady days of Gorbachev, Perestroika ("restructuring") and Glasnost ("openness"). As a result, they were completely insulated from the massive political and societal upheaval that changed so many aspects of Russia, its people and their world view. These men came out of prison very much the same old-school Russians that went in, although the world had fundamentally changed around them. He didn't spend a lot of time on this fascinating tidbit, but it made me stop the audiobook and think about it, which to me is the sign of the very best writing. In a few short sentences he gave me a world of insight, and changed the way I saw his subject.

Again, I wasn't sure I was even interested in this book at first. It seemed like one of those books that intrigue you just enough to put it on your wishlist but you never get around to buying and listening to it. But I was lucky -- I was voluntarily provided a free review copy by the publisher, and I thought I'd give it a chance once it was in my library. It turned out to be my favorite book of any genre that I've read this year. So if you are already deeply interested in Russia, its people or the way they live and view the world around them, give this book a try. It should add some worthwhile context to your knowledge. And if you're not sure if this subject is all that interesting to you, you might just want to try it, too. A great book is so much more enjoyable when you don't expect it to be. And this was a great book.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Horrible accents, great book

While the text itself is magnificent and the narrator's natural voice is soothing, he does quite possibly the worst Russian accents imaginable. Be prepared.

6 people found this helpful

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Fascinating and Eye-Opening

What did you love best about Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible?

The book gave me insight on Russia I never knew of. It was a fun, pleasant listen, which opened doors about the country.

What does Antony Ferguson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Great Narration made the book extra enjoyable.

Any additional comments?

"This review copy audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost."

4 people found this helpful

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Informative Look at How the West is Under Threat

This is a great look at how massive amounts of cash created a runaway freight train in Russia and how the oligarchy and Putin's media control keep a misinformed and passive public deep in suspicion and fear of liberal democracy.

There are a number of interesting tangents in this book but, if you are looking for why the theme of anti-democracy is so prevalent in the West, this book really brings it home.

It's more than frightening to see the fragility of democracy and how hard Russia is working to bring down the West.

Narration is really good quality and the book moves along well without any gaps.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Excellent Book, Embarrassing Narration

If you're going to narrate a book full of foreign names and terms that you have no clue how to pronounce, then please find a consultant to help you. Don't guess. Don't make it up. Get help. There are so many pronunciation errors here that it really should be rerecorded. I suppose for many people this will go unnoticed. But for anyone who knows Russian it is an excruciating slog. Somehow I don't think Audible would let this happen to a book full of French, German, or Latin names and terms.

That said, the book itself is a compelling (if also disturbing) window into contemporary Russia. If you want to understand today's Russia, this book should be on your reading list (together with anything by Masha Gessen).

1 person found this helpful

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Россия

This is a remarkably star and grim view of the modern day Russia. I can recommend no better book and trying to understand the Russian zeitgeist.

1 person found this helpful

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really enlightening and scary

It is an excellent telling of how media and politics interact and then how money gets involved. really makes one think about why we believe what we believe.

3 people found this helpful