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Masha Gessen

Words Will Break Cement

Masha Gessen Words Will Break Cement The Passion Of Pussy Riot
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Biographical note:

Masha Gessen is a Russian-American journalist who is the author of several books, most recently the national bestseller The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Newsweek, Slate, and many other publications, and has received numerous awards, most recently the 2013 Media for Liberty Award. She has served as the editor of several publications and as director of Radio Liberty’s Russia Service. She lives in Moscow.

Main description:

The heroic story of Pussy Riot, who resurrected the power of truth in a society built on lies

On February 21, 2012, five young women entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. In neon-colored dresses, tights, and balaclavas, they performed a “punk prayer” beseeching the “Mother of God” to “get rid of Putin.” They were quickly shut down by security, and in the weeks and months that followed, three of the women were arrested and tried, and two were sentenced to a remote prison colony. But the incident captured international headlines, and footage of it went viral. People across the globe recognized not only a fierce act of political confrontation but also an inspired work of art that, in a time and place saturated with lies, found a new way to speak the truth.

Masha Gessen’s riveting account tells how such a phenomenon came about. Drawing on her exclusive, extensive access to the members of Pussy Riot and their families and associates, she reconstructs the fascinating personal journeys that transformed a group of young women into artists with a shared vision, gave them the courage and imagination to express it unforgettably, and endowed them with the strength to endure the devastating loneliness and isolation that have been the price of their triumph.

Review quote:

Praise for THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE: THE UNLIKELY RISE OF VLADIMIR PUTIN

“Gessen has shown remarkable courage… [An] unflinching indictment of the most powerful man in Russia.” –The Wall Street Journal
 
“[Gessen] shines a piercing light into every dark corner of Putin’s story… Fascinating, hard-hitting reading.” –Foreign Affairs

“Illuminating… It is with [the] explosive revelations that Gessen truly excels… An electrifying read from what can only be described as an incredibly brave writer.” –Columbia Journalism Review

“Part psychological profile, part conspiracy study. As a Moscow native who has written perceptively for both Russian and Western publications, Gessen knows the cultures and pathologies of Russia… [and has] a delicious command of the English language… A fiercely independent journalist… Gessen’s armchair psychoanalysis of Putin is speculative. But it is a clever and sometimes convincing speculation, based on a close reading of Putin’s own inadvertently revealing accounts of his life, and on interviews with people who knew Putin before he mattered.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Absorbing.” –The New Yorker

“Powerful and gracefully written.” –The San Francisco Chronicle


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