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Philip Short

The extraordinary story of the world's most influential leader over the last twenty years. Vladimir Putin has the power to reduce the United States and Europe to ashes in a nuclear firestorm. He invades his neighbours, most recently Ukraine, meddles in western elections and orders assassinations inside and outside Russia. Yet many Russians continue to support him. Despite western sanctions, the majority have been living better than at any time in the past. By fair means or foul, under Putin's leadership, Russia has once again become a force to be reckoned with.

Philip Short's magisterial biography demolishes many of our preconceptions about Putin's Russia and explores in unprecedented depth the personality of its enigmatic and ruthless leader. Since becoming President in 2000, his obsession has been to restore Russia's status as a great power, unbound by western rules. What forces and experiences shaped him? What led him to challenge the American-led world order that has kept the peace since the end of the Cold War?

This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what is happening in Ukraine today.

Philip Short has written authoritative biographies including ‘Mao: A Life’ and ‘Pol Pot: History of a Nightmare’, following a long career as a foreign correspondent for the BBC in Moscow, Washington and other world capitals. He spent eight years researching and writing Putin, working mainly from sources within Russia, but also in Britain, France, the United States and a dozen other countries.

“Stupendous... The definitive biography of the man, and I do not expect it to be eclipsed as such in my lifetime, or ever.”
John Evans, US Ambassador and Consul-General in St Petersburg, 1994-7

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