The Man Without a Face | Granta

  • Published: 03/01/2013
  • ISBN: 9781847084231
  • 129x20mm
  • 320 pages

The Man Without a Face

Masha Gessen

When Vladimir Putin, an unimportant, low-level KGB operative, was rushed to power by a group of Oligarchs in 1999, he was a man without a history. Within a few brief years, Putin had dismantled Russia’s media, wrested control and wealth from the country’s burgeoning business class, and decimated the fragile mechanisms of democracy. Virtually every obstacle to his unbridled control was removed and every opposing voice silenced, with political rivals and critics driven into exile or to the grave.

Drawing on information and sources no other writer has tapped, Masha Gessen’s fearless account charts Putin’s rise from the boy who had scrapped his way through post-war Leningrad schoolyards, to the ‘faceless’ man who manoeuvred his way into absolute – and absolutely corrupt – power.

Courageous and shocking

Katy Guest, Books of the Year, Independent on Sunday

A clear, brave book... Gessen offers intriguing details of the scratching, biting, hair-tearing, undersized, brawling boy Putin, refusing to be bullied in the grubby back yards of Leningrad

James Meek, Observer

Gessen's engaging prose combines a native's passion with a mordant wit and caustic understatement that are characteristically Russian

AD Miller, Daily Telegraph

The Author

Masha Gessen is a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of several books, among them the National Book Award-winning The Future is History and the Samuel Johnson prize-longlisted The Man Without a Face. The recipient of numerous other awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Carnegie Fellowship, Gessen lives in New York City.

More about the author →

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We knew Trump’s range: government by gesture; obfuscation and lying; self-praise; stoking fear and issuing threats.

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‘Once I came home at the end of August, it was as if nothing had ever happened. Indeed, nothing had.‘

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‘With a disease as unpredictable as cancer, the opportunity to blame an actual person is an unexpected temptation.’