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

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Review
------

Praise for "Perfect Rigor "

"A fascinating biography."
--John Allen Paulos, T"he New York Review of Books "

"A brilliant reconstruction...[Gessen] has written something rare: an accessible book about an unreachable man."
--"The New York Times Book Review "

"[A] luminous study of Russia's forever leader... a dogged researcher, [Gessen] has written a brave book, demolishing
the numerous myths and legends that have accumulated around her subject...fascinating."--"The Guardian"
"Gessen has clearly put in the hours and the miles finding people to tell her about Putin's days in the KGB, in the St
Petersburg City Administration, and in the Kremlin. She paints a portrait of a man who dislikes democratic movements,
who is committed to the ideals of the KGB, who is happy siphoning money from the state for his friends, and who would
rather fight than negotiate." -- "Sunday Telegraph
""Gessen is a talented and versatile journalist." -- "Financial Times
""Gessen conveys the atmosphere - whether of the last months of the Soviet Union, the chaotic years of Yeltsin, the
strange transfer of the presidency to Putin or the disappointments of his period - more accurately than any recent
chronicler of the period." - "The Independent
""A compelling and exhaustive portrait...Gessen argues that as the product of a highly secretive institution, the KGB,
Putin has been able to control the details of his life, and shape his own mythology, more than almost any other modern
politician - certainly any Western one." - "The Telegraph
""The Putin who emerges from this brave and important book appears to be a grudge-driven mass murderer and extortionist
... [Gessen's] engaging prose combines a native's passion with a mordant wit and caustic understatement that are
characteristically Russian." -- "Daily Telegraph
"'[This] clear, brave book ... and the tenor of reports from Russia over the past years suggest that if Putin's power is
challenged it will not be because his enemies die mysterious deaths but because the scale of the plundering he has
enabled becomes intolerable ...Gessen offers intriguing details of the scratching, biting, hair-tearing, undersized,
brawling boy Putin, refusing to be bullied in the grubby back yards of

"Part psychological profile, part conspiracy study...As a Moscow native who has written perceptively for both Russian
and Western publications, Gessen knows the cultures and pathologies of Russia...[and has] a delicious command of the
English language...A fiercely independent journalist...Gessen's armchair psychoanalysis of Putin is speculative. But it
is a clever and sometimes convincing speculation, based on a close reading of Putin's own inadvertently revealing
accounts of his life, and on interviews with people who knew Putin before he mattered." - "The New York Times Book
Review "

"In a country where journalists critical of the government have a way of meeting untimely deaths, Ms. Gessen has shown
remarkable courage in researching and writing this unflinching indictment of the most powerful man in Russia... Although
written before the recent protests erupted, the book helps to explain the anger and outrage driving that
movement."--"The Wall Street Journal ""Masha Gessen steps into the fray with a perceptive account of the new czar." -
"Newsweek/Daily Beast
""Engrossing and insightful." - "Bloomberg
""[An] incisive bildingsroman of Putin and his regime...Alongside an acute apprehension of the post-Soviet dynamics that
facilitated Putin's rise, Gessen balances narratives of Putin-as-bureaucrat and Putin-as-kleptocrat with a wider
indictment of the "Mafia clan" that retains him solely as its Godfather." - "The Daily
""Illuminating... Gessen sprinkles telltale signs of the Putin who would eventually emerge and rule Russia with an iron
fist...It is with these explosive revelations that Gessen truly excels...[She] presents her case calmly, picking holes
in Putin's character, his policies, and his rule without stooping to hysterical condemnation. ...an electrifying read
from what can only be described as an incredibly brave writer." - "Columbia Journalism Review
""A chilling and brave work of nonfiction...Gessen has succeeded in convincing

"Although Gessen is enough of an outsider to write beautifully clear and eloquent English, she is enough of an insider
to convey, accurately, the wild swings of emotions, the atmosphere of mad speculation, the paranoia, and, yes, the
hysteria that pervade all political discussion and debate in Moscow today." -- "The New York Review of Books "

"What Gessen sees in Putin is a troubled childhood brawler who became a paper-pushing KGB man and, by improbable twists
and turns, rose to the top in Russia...[She] does not attempt to weigh up Putin's record but rather examines his
biography, mind-set and methods...as a thug loyal to the KGB and the empire it served who never had a clue about the
Earth-shattering events that blew the Soviet Union apart." -- "The Washington Post "

"[An absorbing portrait...Gessen is most illuminating when she details the historical accidents that allowed an
unexceptional bureaucrat to rule Russia" --" The New Yorker "
"Part psychological profile, part conspiracy study...As a Moscow native who has written perceptively for both Russian
and Western publications, Gessen knows the cultures and pathologies of Russia...[and has] a delicious command of the
English language...A fiercely independent journalist...Gessen's armchair psychoanalysis of Putin is speculative. But it
is a clever and sometimes convincing speculation, based on a close reading of Putin's own inadvertently revealing
accounts of his life, and on interviews with people who knew Putin before he mattered." - "The New York Times Book
Review "
"In a country where journalists critical of the government have a way of meeting untimely deaths, Ms. Gessen has shown
remarkable courage in researching and writing this unflinching indictment of the most powerful man in Russia... Although
written before the recent protests erupted, the book helps to explain the anger and outrage driving that
movement."--"The Wall Street Journal"
"Masha Gessen steps into the fray with a perceptive account of the new czar." - "Newsweek/Daily Beast "
"Engrossing and insightful." - "Bloomberg"
"Gessen shines a piercing light into every dark corner of Putin's story...Fascinating, hard-hitting reading." -"Foreign
Affairs"
"[An] incisive bildingsroman of Putin and his regime...Alongside an acute apprehension of the post-Soviet dynamics that
facilitated Putin's rise, Gessen balances narratives of Putin-as-bureaucrat and Putin-as-kleptocrat with a wider
indictment of the "Mafia clan" that retains him solely as its Godfather." - "The Daily
"
"Illuminating... Gessen sprinkles telltale signs of the Putin who would eventually emerge and rule Russia with an iron
fist...It is with these explosive revelations that Gessen truly excels...[Sh

"In a country where journalists critical of the government have a way of meeting untimely deaths, Ms. Gessen has shown
remarkable courage in researching and writing this unflinching indictment of the most powerful man in Russia... Although
written before the recent protests erupted, the book helps to explain the anger and outrage driving that movement."
-"The Wall Street Journal
"
"Powerful and gracefully written... Gessen's book flows on multiple tracks, tracing Putin's life back to boyhood, the
story of his hometown of St. Petersburg, and finally the last quarter-century of Russian history... For all of the
ghoulish detail, Gessen's account of Putin's Russia is not overwrought... [she] displays impressive control of her prose
and her story, painting a portrait of a vile Putin without sounding polemical." -"San Francisco Chronicle"
"Written in English but with Russian heart, Gessen focuses on the places and institutions that bred the nation's most
resolute leader since Stalin... Some might say that Gessen's interpretation is political. Of course it is... but more
importantly, it is thorough. She has seen fellow journalists killed, has been harassed herself, and yet continues to
write from Russia... Her urgency is felt on nearly every page." -"Bookforum"
"[Gessen] shines a piercing light into every dark corner of Putin's story... Fascinating, hard-hitting reading."
-"Foreign Affairs "
"Although Gessen is enough of an outsider to write beautifully clear and eloquent English, she is enough of an insider
to convey, accurately, the wild swings of emotions, the atmosphere of mad speculation, the paranoia, and, yes, the
hysteria that pervade all political discussion and debate in Moscow today." -"The New York Review of Books"
"Illuminating... It is with [the] explosive revelations that Gessen truly excels... an electrifying read from what can
only be described as an incredibly brave writer." -"Columbia Journalism Review"
o

A "Slate "and "San Francisco Chronicle "Best Book of 2012
"[An] absorbing portrait... Gessen is most illuminating when she details the historical accidents that allowed an
unexceptional bureaucrat to rule Russia." -"The New Yorker "
"Part psychological profile, part conspiracy study... As a Moscow native who has written perceptively for both Russian
and Western publications, Gessen knows the cultures and pathologies of Russia... [and has] a delicious command of the
English language... A fiercely independent journalist... Gessen's armchair psychoanalysis of Putin is speculative. But
it is a clever and sometimes convincing speculation, based on a close reading of Putin's own inadvertently revealing
accounts of his life, and on interviews with people who knew Putin before he mattered." -"The New York Times Book Review
"
"In a country where journalists critical of the government have a way of meeting untimely deaths, Ms. Gessen has shown
remarkable courage in researching and writing this unflinching indictment of the most powerful man in Russia... Although
written before the recent protests erupted, the book helps to explain the anger and outrage driving that movement."
-"The Wall Street Journal"
"Thanks to her fearless reporting and acute psychological insights, Masha Gessen has done the impossible in writing a
highly readable, compelling life of Russia's mysterious president-for-life." -Tina Brown, "The Daily Beast "
"Powerful and gracefully written... Gessen's book flows on multiple tracks, tracing Putin's life back to boyhood, the
story of his hometown of St. Petersburg, and finally the last quarter-century of Russian history... For all of the
ghoulish detail, Gessen's account of Russia is not overwrought... [she] displays impressive control of her prose and her
story, painting a portrait of a vile Putin without sounding polemical." -"San Francisco Chronicle"
"Engrossing and insightful." -"Bloomberg"
"Gessen shines a piercing light into every dark corner of Putin's story... Fascinating, hard-hitting reading."
-"Foreign Affairs"
"[An] incisive bildingsroman of Putin and his regime... Alongside an acute apprehension of the post-Soviet dynamics
that facilitated Putin's rise, Gessen balances narratives of Putin-as-bureaucrat and Putin-as-kleptocrat with a wider
indictment of the "Mafia clan" that retains him solely as its Godfather." -"The Daily"
"Illuminating... Gessen sprinkles telltale signs of the Putin who would eventually emerge and rule Russia with an iron
fist...It is with these explosive revelations that Gessen truly excels... [She] presents her case calmly, picking holes
in Putin's character, his policies, and his rule without stooping to hysterical condemnation... an electrifying read
from what can only be described as an incredibly brave writer." -"Columbia Journalism Review"
"A chilling and brave work of nonfiction... Gessen has succeeded in convincingly portraying the forces that made Putin
who he is today." -"Bookpage"
"Although Gessen is enough of an outsider to write beautifully clear and eloquent English, she is enough of an insider
to convey, accurately, the wild swings of emotions, the atmosphere of mad speculation, the paranoia, and, yes, the
hysteria that pervade all political discussion and debate in Moscow today." -"The New York Review of Books"
"What Gessen sees in Putin is a troubled childhood brawler who became a paper-pushing KGB man and, by improbable twists
and turns, rose to the top in Russia... [She] does not attempt to weigh up Putin's record but rather examines his
biography, mind-set and methods... as a thug loyal to the KGB and the empire it served who never had a clue about the
Earth-shattering events that blew the Soviet Union apart." -"The Washington Post"
"An eye opening story with all the drama and intrigue of a novel." -"Popmatters"
"Written in English but with Russian heart, Gessen focuses on the places and institutions that bred the nation's most
resolute leader since Stalin... Some might say that Gessen's interpretation is political. Of course it is... but more
importantly, it is thorough. She has seen fellow journalists killed, has been harassed herself, and yet continues to
write from Russia... Her urgency is felt on nearly every page." -"Bookforum"

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About the Author
----------------

Masha Gessen is a Russian-American journalist who writes fluently in Russian and English. She contributes
frequently to Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Newsweek, Slate, and many other publications. The author of several
previous books, she lives in Moscow.

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