The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen

The Man Without a Face

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 her 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 acc...

Details The Man Without a Face

TitleThe Man Without a Face
Release DateMar 1st, 2012
PublisherRiverhead Books
GenreNonfiction, History, Biography, Cultural, Russia, Politics

Reviews The Man Without a Face

  • ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
    Masha doesn't like Putin. And he has no idea about it. This could have been a very suitable alternative description of this book.Even though the last time I checked Masha Gessen was no Vladimir Putin, this is basically a story about her. Which would have been entirely cool, had she thought to rename this to 'Masha Gessen and her progress on the quest for the fame and great stories'. Q:I felt all great stories were my freedom. (c) Of course. Atten...
  • Nate
    This should be more appropriately titled "Why you Should Hate Vladimir Putin." It is not really a biography on Putin, but rather feels more like a few long essays about random parts of Putin's life that have been laid out in chronological order with a bunch of horror stories sprinkled in. Often times large chunks of chapters aren't even about his life, but rather give background information on random people and their causes, which are then follow...
  • Mal Warwick
    Vladimir Putin, the KGB, and the Restoration of Soviet RussiaEvery once in a while I’m shocked to learn anew that the American news media has missed the mark in its reporting of events around the world. Masha Gessen’s recent portrait of third-term Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Man Without a Face, is an excellent case in point.For example, one year ago, in December 2011, we learned about large demonstrations in Moscow protesting the ob...
  • Artiom Karsiuk
    I hate books like this. I hate them with a passion. Books that mix speculation with facts are the worst, because you can't tell where one ends and the other begins.For this book to have any worth, you have to at least divide it into two parts: before Putin comes to power in the year 2000 and after. The first before part that discusses Vladimir's childhood, education and his KGB (later FSB) career is complete and utter trash. Those chapters have m...
  • Hadrian
    Based on who you ask, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, is either the Ultimate Badass who Single-Handedly Saved Russia or a crony-capitalist autocrat who is the 'Russian Mussolini'. So who is this Putin guy anyway?Gessen offers a round condemnation of Putin, stopping only from calling him an evil little tyrant (Although one of her interviewees does). She starts the biography with his early childhood (a schoolyard bully turned fervent club member) and...
  • Owlseyes on notre dame, it's so strange a 15-hour blaze and...
    "Strictly speaking, Putin was not running a campaign (...) An influential political consulting firm called the Foundation for Effective Politics...was tasked with creating the image of Putin as a young, energetic politician who would advance much-needed reform". "The Babitsky story made my life easier ...So I had no illusions. I knew this was how he understood the word patriotism-just the way he had been taught in all those KGB schools: the count...
  • Louise
    Masha Gessen is brave. As a dual American and Russian citizen she chose to live openly in Russia as a (married in the US) lesbian journalist investigating corruption from 1991 to 2013 . This book is a short introduction to the life and character of Russia’s current President, which is, essentially a book on how corruption got rooted in post-glasnost Russia with the rise of Vladimir Putin.Despite its sturdy infrastructure in Moscow, the American...
  • Jennifer
    Masha Gessen does a marvelous job on her chronicle of Russian politics. The book is courageous, easy to read and well researched - for a book of this length. Gessen covers roughly the last 25 years of Russian politics. She shows how the attempt at democracy has failed, so far, and manages to place most of the blame on Putin. Her descriptions of Putin and his actions over the last 25 years will keep your eyes wide open far into the night. I am not...
  • Paul
    Some pretty scary stuff here! Fascinating stuff about the head of Russia. Sometimes it seems too crazy, as wild allegations (such as bombs killing Russian citizens set up by Russian security forces) can't be backed up by evidence. But other stories are, and are shocking enough. The author thinks that Putin is a small minded, incompetent KGB man, longing for Soviet greatness, and compulsively taking whatever he can, but surely he there has to be m...
  • Wanda
    I thought that this would be a portrait of the thug who rules Russia. Sadly, it was more about Masha Gessen than Vladimir Putin. Poorly written in tedious prose that has no spark and evokes little interest in the reader. It is also exceedingly self referential and the objectivity is suspect. Lots of speculation. I don't recommend it. Surely someone can do a better job of telling Putin's story within the context of the events that have shaken up t...
  • Bettie☯
    (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]
  • J.
    This is a history, really, not an essay. But reporter Masha Gessen somehow manages to make a 3oo page recent-events history feel as streamlined and narrative as an essay, which is definitely no small thing. It's also a Vladimir Putin biography, which by definition must span the disintegration of the Soviet empire and the reformation of whatever it is we're calling modern Russia these days. With her reporter's sense of what matters, Gessen runs th...
  • Margaret
    Hands down the most important book I've read this year - pretty much everything in this book was new to me. I haven't studied Modern Russian history and am not a policy wonk but at the same time I don't live with my head in the sand. Still, the book was revelation after revelation. If you want to hear about what's been going on in Russia, particularly but not only with Putin, since the U.S. lost interest this is the book for you! If you just want...
  • Anatoly
    Interesting and quite disturbing. However there is too much background which is loosely connected to Putin himself. Furthermore, there are too many speculations and Gessen is too emotionally involved (it is obvious she despise Putin). So, if you’re looking to read a serious work with facts rather than personal emotions you should pass. Different reviews here on goodreads described this as a long newsletter article, a description that I absolute...
  • Richard Block
    Stalin 2 - the SequelI finished Masha Gessen's evisceration of Vladimir Putin's neo-Stalinist regime the day after Boris Berezovsky's death/murder suicide - how timely was that? Gessen is a Russian journalist who has charted events since the demise of the Soviet Union. She exposes Putin as a mafia boss leading a mob state, all corruption, illegal seizures of money and business, state ownership of media fake elections, and clear suppression of fre...
  • Matthew
    Gessen, a Russian journalist who saw the collapse of the Soviet Union, discusses how Vladimir Putin got to where he sits today. She covers the bombings Putin and his cronies at the FSB are suspected of organizing in 1999, providing plenty of circumstantial evidence to back up her claims, like the two conscripts who went into a warehouse full of bags marked "SUGAR" to get some sugar for their tea, and found that the bags actually contained RDX, th...
  • Angela Elizabeth
    Stunning, brilliant, compelling non-fiction! Gessen's biography/history/expose of Vladimir Putin reads like a spy novel and is just as addictive, but of course so much worse for being truth. How Putin still remains in power is a mystery. Gessen's book rivals Anna Funder's 'Stasiland' for compelling reading. Its only downfall is translation - it fails to read quite as beautifully as Funder's. But in every other way, Gessen is easily Funder's equal...
  • Kressel Housman
    More than just a biography of Vladimir Putin, this book is a journalistic account of the pro-democracy movement in Russia, and not just today, but when communism first fell. I’ve been wanting to read a book on that subject for years, and I always thought I’d find it in a good biography of Mikhail Gorbachev, but it turns out that the real story lies in the protests by every day folk on the street. Gorbachev never intended to topple the Soviet ...
  • Lea
    ENOUGHDNF @ 59%. I read almost 200 pages of this book and I've learned NOTHING about Vladimir Putin. Masha Gessen has no analytical ability and mediocre writing skills only. Her bias is enormous and gets in the way of explaining events coherently and logically, because she seizes on flimsy "evidence" and concocts or accepts conspiracy theories to personally lay the blame on Putin for literally everything that is wrong with Russia, including affir...
  • Dawn
    The writing included a little too much personal opinion for my taste. While I find Russian history fascinating, by almost halfway I hadn't really learned much about Putin yet. I got the feeling that the entire book is supposition. There are facts but how they pertain to Putin is entirely opinion. It reads like a blog, a well done one, but still one persons opinion on how things were/are. Well educated guesses but still guesses. Some of it can com...
  • Gail
    I got about halfway through this book and could no longer read it. I just don't like the way Masha Gessen writes. I have attempted to read some of her other books and it's always the same problem. She's more of a journalist than an author and so the writing is factual with no essence.
  • Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
    I'm not quite sure how to rate this book.Gessen has a major bias. She doesn't agree with Putin's politics and she links everything back to him as the big orchestrator for horrible occurrences that make international news. And, the hardest thing is that, as the title suggests, Putin is a man without a face. Sure, you could link things back to Putin circumstantially, but there will never be any concrete evidence against him. That makes this book di...
  • Tom Marcinko
    "Once a spy, always a spy." You could read this and definitely come away with the impression that Putin is not a very nice person. What surprised me is his pettiness. I was hoping for a pardon for Pussy Riot, but after reading this book, I knew they didn't stand a chance. A magnanimous gesture seems beyond Putin, even one that would make him look good.Sept. 13, 2000 Duma session: 'The speaker had interrupted the session by saying, “We have just...
  • Billy
    I do not think I have read a more chilling account of a modern day political leader. It made for a wonderful distraction to the politics of the 2012 election season. And we think we have it bad.I'd like to see more people in the U.S. pick up this book, especially men and women of faith who could spend their efforts in a much more constructive way fighting for 'freedom of the press' in oppressive countries like Russia, rather than flaunting our fr...
  • Rebecca
    About what I expected from the prospective of a liberal journalist now living in self exile. It's a real page turner, but the sceptic in me is dying to fact check and cross reference Gessen's sources. Putin comes out as the unambiguous bogeyman, and maybe that's fair, but I'm still left wanting for a nuanced biography of the man himself. Also, the book stops around the turn of 2012, a low point in Putin's popularity, which I believe relieved Gess...
  • kranthi balusu
    Not objective enough. Not comprehensive enough. She missed the mark . I was looking for an understanding of Putin as a man and his politics as this title suggests. She spends most of the book demonizing him, sometimes with little evidence. I lost count of the number of times Putin is called a thug. Okay , he is a thug, why does that work? Nevertheless , a good introduction to Putin's politics. Looking for a better book.
  • Susan
    This book had too much speculation in it for my liking. You could really tell that the author hates Vladimir Putin, which makes her fallible to placing her opinions as facts.
  • Dmitry
    There are probably a lot of people in the West who think that Russia, having lost in the Cold War, and having ceded it's title of a super power, is no longer worth caring about. They can't be more wrong: Russia remains the largest country in the world, the richest in mineral resources, a nuclear power and a country who takes active - and aggressive - stance against its neighbors and towards world politics in general. All the more reasons to keep ...
  • Janet Morris
    This book was the kind of book that I didn't want to put down, but also couldn't read much of at one time. There was just a lot of information that I needed time to be process. There was a lot of talk of vile things like torture, war, murder, etc., which was uncomfortable to read unless I took breaks between sections of the story.Another slight issue is that the book was dry, but I wasn't reading it because I wanted to read a good story. I was re...