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

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The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin
The Man Without a Face The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin.jpg
Paperback edition cover - March 2013
AuthorMasha Gessen
CountryUnited States
SubjectThe rise and reign of Vladimir Putin
PublishedMarch 2012
PublisherRiverhead Books
Media typeHardcover

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin is a 2012 book by Masha Gessen about Vladimir Putin and his rise to power and reign. It intertwines both a psychological and conspiratory approach written in clear and engaging language. Gessen is a Moscow native who understands the culture and psychology of Russia. Her family left Russia when she was a teenager, but she returned for a 10 year stay as an independent journalist. Gessen's analysis of Putin is mostly speculative, but she carefully investigates his own revealing accounts of his life, and she uses interviews with people who knew Putin, before he rose to power, to form her conclusions.[1]


External video
Presentation by Gessen on The Man Without a Face, March 8, 2012, C-SPAN

The book describes Vladimir Putin's early life, including his relationship with his parents and his school life under a communist government. Gessen uses Putin's early years to show the reader how he was shaped into the man he became. The book covers controversies and wars Putin was involved in, such as the First Chechen war and contains stories about former Russian leader Boris Yeltsin. It goes on to explain the relationship between him and his wife. It then discusses controversies in the government and Putin's eventual rise to power in the Kremlin.

Reviews and reception[edit]

There were multiple reviews for the book. The CIA reviewed it.[2] It sold well, but had mixed reviews. Along with positive reviews came mixed ones [2] Many had said Masha had a biased view or there had been books about Putin that had been written better.

The book was shortlisted for the 2013 Pushkin House Russian Book Prize.[3]