The Future Is History: Book summary and reviews of The Future Is History by Masha Gessen

The Future Is History

How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia

by Masha Gessen

The Future Is History by Masha Gessen X
The Future Is History by Masha Gessen

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Book Summary

Putin's bestselling biographer reveals how, in the space of a generation, Russia surrendered to a more virulent and invincible new strain of autocracy.

Hailed for her "fearless indictment of the most powerful man in Russia" (The Wall Street Journal), award-winning journalist Masha Gessen is unparalleled in her understanding of the events and forces that have wracked her native country in recent times. In The Future Is History, she follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each of them came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children and grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own - as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers, and writers, sexual and social beings.

Gessen charts their paths against the machinations of the regime that would crush them all, and against the war it waged on understanding itself, which ensured the unobstructed reemergence of the old Soviet order in the form of today's terrifying and seemingly unstoppable mafia state. Powerful and urgent, The Future Is History is a cautionary tale for our time and for all time.

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Book Awards

  • award image National Book Awards, 2017

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A devastating, timely, and necessary reminder of the fragility and preciousness of all institutions of freedom." - Booklist

"Starred Review. A superb, alarming portrait of a government that exercises outsize influence in the modern world, at great human cost." - Kirkus

"An intimate look at Russia in the post-Soviet period, when the public's hopes for democracy devolved within a restricted society characterized by 'a constant state of low-level dread' ... a well-crafted, inventive narrative." - Publisher's Weekly

"Brilliant... A worthwhile read that describes how Putin's powerful grip on Russia developed, offering a dire warning of how other nations could fall under a similar spell of state control." - Library Journal

"Masha Gessen is humbly erudite, deftly unconventional, and courageously honest.  At this particular historical moment, when we must understand Russia to understand ourselves, we are all very lucky to have her." - Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny

"A fine example of journalism approximating art. Necessary reading for anyone trying to understand the earthshaking events of our time: how in one country after another individual aspirations for wealth and power mutated into collective cravings for strongmen." - Pankaj Mishra, author of An End to Suffering and Age of Anger

"The Future is History is a beautifully-written, sensitively-argued and cleverly-structured journey through Russia's failure to build democracy...If you want to truly understand why Vladimir Putin has been able to so dominate his country, this book will help you." - Oliver Bullough, author of Let Our Fame Be Great and The Last Man in Russia

The information about The Future Is History shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Masha Gessen Author Biography

Photo: Snob Magazine

Masha Gessen is a journalist and the author of several previous books, including Perfect Rigor and Blood Matters. Deputy editor of the Russian-language Snob magazine, she has contributed to Vanity Fair, The New Republic, Granta, and Slate, among other publications. She lives in Moscow.

Author Interview

Name Pronunciation
Masha Gessen: GESS-en, rhymes with yes

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