by Short, Philip

Note on Spelling and Pronunciationix
1 Baskov Lane
2 Legal Niceties
3 The Big House
4 Quiet Days in Saxony
5 Back in the USSR
6 The Grey Cardinal
7 The View from the Neva
8 Moscow Rules
9 The Cap of Monomakh
10 Power Vertical
11 A Bonfire of Illusions
12 The Russian Idea
13 Body Politic
14 Tandemocracy
15 The Straitjacket Tightens
16 Payback
17 Nemtsov, Wild Boar Sausages and the End of Liberalism
18 The Endgame
Note on Sources677(3)

"The first comprehensive, fully up-to-date biography of Vladimir Putin, woven into the tumultuous saga of Russia over the last sixty years. Vladimir Putin is wreaking havoc in Europe, threatening global peace and stability and exposing his fellow citizens to devastating economic countermeasures. Yet puzzlingly many Russians continue to support him. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the many facets of the man behind the mask that Putin wears on the world stage. Drawing on almost two hundred interviews conducted over eight years in Russia, the United States, and Europe and on source material in more than a dozen languages, Putin will be the last word for years to come"-

Philip Short has written several definitive biographies including Mao: A Life and Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare. He earlier had a long career as a foreign correspondent in Moscow, Beijing, and Washington, D.C., for the BBC, the Economist, and the Times of London.

*Starred Review* Short's robustly researched biography of Vladimir Putin mines the Russian autocrat's past for perspective on his recent maneuvers. It's long been obvious that Putin was shaped by his work in the Russian intelligence services. The late Senator John McCain famously said he "looked in Mr. Putin's eyes and saw three letters-a K, a G, and a B." But former BBC journalist Short suggests that Putin's strategic priorities, as well as his opaque, calculating leadership style, were likewise shaped by other roles. In Leningrad, under Mayor Anatoly Sobchak, Putin navigated and thrived in a pugilistic environment in which the criminal and business worlds were "not merely linked, but symbiotically intertwined." Working for President Boris Yeltsin, Putin further honed his ability to manipulate public opinion, and learned the rudiments of the "power vertical" structure that would become his mode of authoritarian rule. He also had a front-row seat to the "politics of dismemberment," as former Soviet republics began to peel away from Russia, which Putin angrily blamed on Yeltsin's excessive permissiveness. Invading the Ukraine, suggests Short, was "unfinished business" many years in the making. As he did in Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare and Mao (2005), Short leavens an essentially journalistic approach with revealing anecdotes, resulting in a comprehensive and highly engaging account. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

The author of authoritative books on Mao and Pol Pot returns with another impressive yet disturbing account of a dangerous world leader. Events in Ukraine will spur sales of this thick biography, but any praise is well deserved, as Short offers an insightful and often discouraging text on the Russian president. Born in 1952 in Leningrad, he grew up in a tiny, shabby apartment shared with two other families. Entering the KGB in 1975, he left in 1991 to join Leningrad's city government in the exhilarating aftermath of Gorbachev's perestroika. Diligent and efficient, Putin rose to prominence and moved to Moscow in 1996, becoming President Boris Yeltsin's trusted assistant and then successor in 2000. Russia's constitution (approved under Yeltsin) gives its president far more powers than America's, but Short shows how Putin's KGB background lowered his inhibitions on imprisoning or murdering political opponents; as time passed, his word became law. The author has no quarrel with the accusation that Putin destroyed the democratic liberties that followed glasnost, but he also points out that, for most Russians, the 1990s were a time of crushing poverty, crime, and disorder. Early on under Putin, living standards increased, and the streets became safer. Few Russians admire the Soviet Union, other than its status as an empire and great power. Many Russians, including Putin, are angry about how the U.S. boasted of victory during the Cold War, gave advice but little else during the lean years, and broke its promise not to expand NATO to former Soviet nations, thereby stoking Russia's long-standing paranoia about being surrounded by enemies. Putin's 2014 seizure of Crimea and backing of secessionists in eastern Ukraine remain popular, and many Russians support the invasion of Ukraine despite its difficulties. Having read obsessively and interviewed almost everyone, Putin included, Short delivers a consistently compelling account of Putin's life so far. Contradictions abound, and the author is not shy about pointing out frank lies from sources that include Putin as well as his enemies. Required reading for anyone interested in global affairs. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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