JRL NEWSWATCH: “Who Is Vladimir Putin? Philip Short’s ‘Putin’ is an impressive biography but one that necessarily lacks the final chapters of the story.” – New York Times

Vladimir Putin file photo, adapted from screenshot of video at shareamerica.gov

PUTIN, by Philip Short | Illustrated | 864 pp. | Henry Holt & Company | $40 … Short’s account is both perfectly and unfortunately timed, arriving just when we most need to understand Putin, yet missing the chapter that may yet define his place in history. … Short’s version nonetheless offers a compelling, impressive and methodically researched account of Putin’s life so far. He plumbs an array of sources, including his own interviews, to reconstruct the tale of a street brawler from a bleak communal apartment in postwar Leningrad who embarks on a mediocre career as a midlevel K.G.B. officer in East Germany only to make a stunning leap to power in Moscow following the chaos of 1990s post-Soviet Russia. Short, … former[ly] … with the BBC, The Economist and The Times of London, adds to the library of insightful [Putin] books … including ‘The New Tsar,’ by Steven Lee Myers; ‘Mr. Putin,’ by Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy; ‘The Man Without a Face,’ by Masha Gessen; and ‘Putin’s World,’ by Angela Stent. But unlike those Russia specialists, he comes to his subject as a chronicler of some of history’s biggest villains … [such as] Pol Pot and Mao Zedong. ….”

JRL NEWSWATCH: “Who Is Vladimir Putin? Philip Short’s ‘Putin’ is an impressive biography but one that necessarily lacks the final chapters of the story.” – New York Times/ Peter Baker

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