Holt. Jul. 2022. 864p. ISBN 9781627793667. $40. BIOG
Vladimir Putin has had his finger in almost every international political pie of the 21st century. To understand what drives the man and how he controls post-Soviet Russia, journalist Short (Mao: A Life) explores the totality of Putin’s life. Details of his infancy, childhood, and schooling in St. Petersburg, his marriage, life as a KGB operative in Dresden, and his nascent political career in St. Petersburg add context to the man who has presided over Russia for two decades. Extensive research including interviews with acquaintances from childhood through adulthood, observers from multiple countries, and information regarding his family life flesh out as closely as currently possible the truths and lies that comprise the Putin mystique. Sketches of Russian life during the Brezhnev, Gorbachev, and Yeltsin eras put Putin’s obsession with regaining respect for Russia in context.
VERDICT Short has written a remarkable biography, rich in facts and details, of Putin’s life and career. This book will appeal to readers with an interest in Russia, world history, biographies of world leaders, and current events.
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