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The Man Without a Face

The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin
Narrated by: Masha Gessen
Length: 10 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

National Book Award-winner Masha Gessen's biography of a ruthless man's ascent to near-absolute power.

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 and made his country once more a threat to its 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 a 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 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 is the definitive biography of Vladimir Putin.

©2012 Masha Gessen (P)2019 Penguin Audio

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Clear and intelligent political reporting

Gessen is an excellent writer and witness of Russia's return to the totalitarian failed state of Lenin and Stalin. In a precise, direct narrative she chronicles how KGB operative Putin, with sullen cunning, stumbled into his dictatorship thereby completely closing any hope of individual political freedom opened by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A Preview of Authoritarianism in the USA

For an in depth view of how democracy fails and authoritarianism takes root, read this incredible personal story from an eye witness to history, Masha Gessen. Don’t think it can happen here in the USA? Think again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Book for our time.

excellent analysis and fine presentation. holds one's attention. Timely read in current situation of United States.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wow

Lots to think about in this book. Now, I want a sequel to bring us up to date.

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We are surprised?

Ms. Gessen provides the reader with background for Vladimir Putin's rise to power. As she continually describes, Vladimir Putin is unqualified from an intellectual or strategic perspective. What are we to do with this information? Russians get the leaders they deserve. A country with this level of corruption and unqualified leaders only offers the world mischief. Russia is irrelevant on the world stage. Ms. Gessen's book provides little new insights or perspectives on the Russian leader. I wasted my time.

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Please please make someone else the narrator

I can honestly understand the desire of the offer to narrate her own book, but after trying for a few chapters to listen to it I just couldn’t. She is a great writer brought her performance narrating the book is astoundingly bad. I will stop listening to it now.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful