The Man without a Face

  • by Masha Gessen
  • Narrated by Justine Eyre
  • 10 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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, making 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 the perfect choice for the oligarchy to shape according to its own designs. Suddenly the boy who had stood in the shadows, dreaming of ruling the world, was a public figure, and his popularity soared. Russia and an infatuated West were determined to see the progressive leader of their dreams, even as he seized control of the media, sent political rivals and critics into exile or to the grave, and smashed the country’s fragile electoral system, concentrating power in the hands of his cronies.
As a journalist living in Moscow, Masha Gessen experienced this history firsthand, and for The Man Without a Face she has drawn on information and sources no other writer has tapped. Her account of how a faceless man maneuvered his way into absolute - and absolutely corrupt - power has the makings of a classic of narrative nonfiction.


What the Critics Say

“A thorough account…[Gessen] has written something rare: an accessible book about an unreachable man.” (New York Times Book Review on Perfect Rigor)
“Despite news reports, Putin doesn’t have quite the notoriety he deserves in the West; Gessen should push him to the forefront.” (Library Journal)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting and entertaining

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, great perspective on life outside of the USA.

What did you like best about this story?

Great narrative; good storytelling.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


Any additional comments?

While it may be a little bias and it's clear the author has strong feelings I found it easy to get past that and enjoyed the book for what it was. Sure, there's some speculation but it's great to hear from a journalist living through history, a very disturbing history that most Americans and world citizens are probably oblivious too (I know I was/am). Very interesting listen and very engaging. All the more so, given current world events.

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- Bob Jack

Narration Flawed

If you could sum up The Man without a Face in three words, what would they be?

Insight into Putin

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Putin's rise to power.

How could the performance have been better?

Have some pride! Learn to pronounce the Russian words. For example, it's Ro-Dee-Na not ro-din-ah and worse, it's Metallurgy not, "metallic-ly"

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


Any additional comments?

A little bland and tough to follow, but made harder by the poor narration.

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- Charles H. Hoens

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-01-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.