“A riveting, immensely detailed biography of Putin that explains in full-bodied, almost Shakespearian fashion why he acts the way he does.” –Robert D. Kaplan
The New Tsar is the book to read if you want to understand how Vladimir Putin sees the world and why he has become one of the gravest threats to American security.
The epic tale of the rise to power of Russia's current president—the only complete biography in English – that fully captures his emergence from shrouded obscurity and deprivation to become one of the most consequential and complicated leaders in modern history, by the former New York Times Moscow bureau chief.
In a gripping narrative of Putin’s rise to power as Russia’s president, Steven Lee Myers recounts Putin’s origins—from his childhood of abject poverty in Leningrad, to his ascension through the ranks of the KGB, and his eventual consolidation of rule. Along the way, world events familiar to readers, such as September 11th and Russia’s war in Georgia in 2008, as well as the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, are presented from never-before-seen perspectives.
This book is a grand, staggering achievement and a breathtaking look at one man’s rule. On one hand, Putin’s many reforms—from tax cuts to an expansion of property rights—have helped reshape the potential of millions of Russians whose only experience of democracy had been crime, poverty, and instability after the fall of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, Putin has ushered in a new authoritarianism, unyielding in his brutal repression of revolts and squashing of dissent. Still, he retains widespread support from the Russian public.
The New Tsar is a narrative tour de force, deeply researched, and utterly necessary for anyone fascinated by the formidable and ambitious Vladimir Putin, but also for those interested in the world and what a newly assertive Russia might mean for the future.
—Daniel Treisman, The Washington Post
“What Steven Lee Myers gets so right in The New Tsar, his comprehensive new biography — the most informative and extensive so far in English — is that at bottom Putin simply feels that he’s the last one standing between order and chaos… What Myers offers is the portrait of a man swinging from crisis to crisis with one goal: projecting strength… A knowledgeable and thorough biography… Putin himself now represents the chaos he so abhors — the chaos that will surely come in his wake.”
—Gal Beckerman, The New York Times Book Review
"Steven Lee Myers coherently, comprehensively, and evenhandedly tells the story not only of Putin’s glory years, but also of his hardscrabble childhood in Leningrad, his checkered academic career, his undistinguished work as a KGB agent in East Germany, his remarkably loyal service to the mayor of post-Soviet St. Petersburg, and his reluctant but speedy climb through President Yeltin’s ministries in the late 1990s."
— Bob Blaisdell, The Christian Science Monitor
“Combining skilled story telling, psychological examination and political investigation, Steven Lee Myers succeeds brilliantly in this biography of Vladimir Putin. Explaining the dangers that Putin’s Russia may and does pose, Myers effortlessly and expertly guides the reader through the complexities of the Russian Byzantine governing style and the country’s politics and identity. In the end, the book provides one of the most comprehensive answers to a puzzling question: Despite all the changes that Russia has gone through during communism and post-communism, why is it still an empire of the tsar?”
“Such an understanding of Putin’s early life and the evolution of his leadership is lacking. [Myers’s] methodology is sound and, I believe, the only way to capture such an intimate understanding of Russia’s iron man.”
—Ian Bremmer, author of Superpower
“Personalities determine history as much as geography, and there is no personality who has had such a pivotal effect on 21st century Europe as much as Vladimir Putin. The New Tsar is a riveting, immensely detailed biography of Putin that explains in full-bodied, almost Shakespearean fashion why he acts the way he does.”
–Robert D. Kaplan
“The reptilian, poker-faced former KGB agent, now Russian president seemingly for life, earns a fair, engaging treatment in the hands of New York Times journalist Myers… [who] clearly knows his material and primary subject… Putin used the perks of power to create a complex system of cronyism and nepotism. Myers shows how Putin convinced everyone that this way of operating was part of the Russian soul and how he perpetuated it through an archaic form of Russian corruption… Myers astutely notes how Putin’s speeches increasingly harkened back to the worst period of the Cold War era’s dictates by Soviet strongmen… A highly effective portrait of a frighteningly powerful autocrat.”
–Kirkus (starred review)
“What could be more timely and relevant than a new, thorough biography of Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, from a writer who was The New York Times correspondent in Moscow for seven years of the Russian chief's reign?... Russia has lived through numerous prime ministers, a stock market crash, a debt default, moments of paralysis, wrenching warfare in Chechnya, brutal murders and good and crooked elections, all recounted succinctly by Mr. Myers… Putin's and Russia's relations with the United States are dealt with candidly.”
—Dan Simpson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette