Caidyn (he/him/his)'s Reviews > The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen
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really liked it
bookshelves: historical-nonfiction, nonfiction, politics

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 difficult. Gessen has amassed so much information about Putin and what he does, yet there is no evidence that can really prove that he had his hand in it.

Luckily, my bias lines up with the author's. I don't like Putin. I never will. I think he's a dictator who has taken over Russia in the guise of democracy. So, as Gessen explains things, I see the lines that connect to Putin and I find them believable, even though there's nothing truly there to set allegations into stone.

Also, the book jumps around a lot. I'm one of those people who has a vague grasp of Russian politics. I was born after the fall of the USSR. I grew up with Russia not being a huge deal. At least, there was no Cold War going on and I wasn't worried about bombs like my parents were. So, when Gessen got into names and people I feel as though I should know, I got confused and twisted about the events.

So, while I think this is a good introductory book on the topic, it helps to have some general grounding in Russian politics and politicians. If anything, it whet my appetite for more on this topic!
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Reading Progress

March 13, 2016 – Shelved
March 13, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
March 13, 2016 – Shelved as: historical-nonfiction
March 13, 2016 – Shelved as: nonfiction
April 29, 2019 – Started Reading
April 29, 2019 – Shelved as: politics
April 29, 2019 –
page 101
28.69% "The book is fine, but it jumps around a lot. Which makes it difficult for me, who has a very basic grasp of Russian politics, both past and present."
May 1, 2019 – Finished Reading

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Caidyn (he/him/his) This is a book I actually own, so good to know that this is one that's good!


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