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  • The New Tsar

  • The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin
  • By: Steven Lee Myers
  • Narrated by: René Ruiz
  • Length: 22 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (2,045 ratings)

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The New Tsar

By: Steven Lee Myers
Narrated by: René Ruiz
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Publisher's summary

“A riveting, immensely detailed biography of Putin that explains in full-bodied, almost Shakespearian fashion why he acts the way he does.” –Robert D. Kaplan

The New Tsar is the book to listen to if you want to understand how Vladimir Putin sees the world and why he has become one of the gravest threats to American security.

The epic tale of the rise to power of Russia's current president—the only complete biography in English–that fully captures his emergence from shrouded obscurity and deprivation to become one of the most consequential and complicated leaders in modern history, by the former New York Times Moscow bureau chief.

In a gripping narrative of Putin’s rise to power as Russia’s president, Steven Lee Myers recounts Putin’s origins—from his childhood of abject poverty in Leningrad, to his ascension through the ranks of the KGB, and his eventual consolidation of rule. Along the way, world events familiar to readers, such as September 11th and Russia’s war in Georgia in 2008, as well as the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, are presented from never-before-seen perspectives. This book is a grand, staggering achievement and a breathtaking look at one man’s rule. On one hand, Putin’s many reforms—from tax cuts to an expansion of property rights—have helped reshape the potential of millions of Russians whose only experience of democracy had been crime, poverty, and instability after the fall of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, Putin has ushered in a new authoritarianism, unyielding in his brutal repression of revolts and squashing of dissent. Still, he retains widespread support from the Russian public.

The New Tsar is a narrative tour de force, deeply researched, and utterly necessary for anyone fascinated by the formidable and ambitious Vladimir Putin, but also for those interested in the world and what a newly assertive Russia might mean for the future.

©2015 Steven Lee Myers (P)2015 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“Steven Lee Myers’s The New Tsar is not the first biography of Putin, but it is the strongest to date. Judicious and comprehensive, it pulls back the veil… from one of the world’s most secretive leaders. What is most striking, given the aura of steely consistency that Putin cultivates, is how he has changed over the years…. The great strength of Myers’s book is the way it shows how chance events and Putin’s own degeneration gradually cleared the path to the Ukraine crisis… Putin emerges as neither a KGB automaton, nor the embodiment of Russian historical traditions, nor an innocent victim of Western provocations and NATO’s hubris, but rather as a flawed individual who made his own choices at crucial moments and thereby shaped history.” —Daniel Treisman, The Washington Post

“What Steven Lee Myers gets so right in The New Tsar, his comprehensive new biography — the most informative and extensive so far in English — is that at bottom Putin simply feels that he’s the last one standing between order and chaos… What Myers offers is the portrait of a man swinging from crisis to crisis with one goal: projecting strength… A knowledgeable and thorough biography… Putin himself now represents the chaos he so abhors — the chaos that will surely come in his wake.” —Gal Beckerman, The New York Times Book Review

"Steven Lee Myers coherently, comprehensively, and evenhandedly tells the story not only of Putin’s glory years, but also of his hardscrabble childhood in Leningrad, his checkered academic career, his undistinguished work as a KGB agent in East Germany, his remarkably loyal service to the mayor of post-Soviet St. Petersburg, and his reluctant but speedy climb through President Yeltin’s ministries in the late 1990s."— Bob Blaisdell, The Christian Science Monitor