The Future Is History

The Future Is History

How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia

Large Print - 2018
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Journalist Masha Gessen 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.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine :, Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company,, 2018
Edition: Large print edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781432850524
1432850520
Branch Call Number: LARGE PRINT 947.086 Gessen 2017
Characteristics: 879 pages (large print) ; 23 cm

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lukasevansherman
May 11, 2020

One of the most astute critics of modern Russia, Gessen has also written books about Putin and Pussy Riot, both of whom appear here. This book covers a lot of ground, including the Sochi Olympics, the crackdown on the LGBTQ community, the widespread corruption, the ultra-conservative Orthodox church, and the annexation of Crimea. Gessen blends history with political reporting and personal stories and, while much of the material is interesting, it is a long, sometimes exhausting book. Too often it feels like essays or articles put together without much concern for coherence or flow. Still, a valuable book for those seeking a better understanding of Putin and his cronies.

l
lynelliot
Sep 24, 2019

A fascinating account of both the political and ground-level social changes in Russia over the past 35 years. Russia's story shows why it's so difficult for a totalitarian state to transition to a democracy. Russia didn't make it, and Gessen makes a compelling case that now Russians are stuck with the same old totalitarian thing, albeit with a new ideological twist. Democracy is hard, people.

v
Vincentflyguy
Jul 27, 2019

A must read book that provides a review of events that have lead us to this juncture in history with this calculating and sophisticated super power pulling strings around the world.

b
bethgarza24
Jul 26, 2019

Difficult Reads - June 2019

g
GummiGirl
May 01, 2018

Unlike the preceding reviewer, I really liked how the author interwove personal stories with the checkered history of the social sciences in Russia. I learned a lot from both parts and highly recommend this book.

s
SJM7323
Apr 10, 2018

I was really excited to read this book but was left completely disappointed! I only made it 60 pages into a 486 page book (with very tiny print at that!) and I just had to stop. I couldn't read another page. The book description talks about the author following the lives of four Russians from childhood to adulthood and the experiences that they acquire. This sounded very appealing to me, especially considering Russia's history. However, 60 pages into the book and the only thing the author was continuing to go on and on about was the lack and/or outright ban of the fields of sociology and psychology in Russia. It was hard to follow, but more so the content was boring and dull. I kept waiting to read about the four individuals mentioned in the description, with only a small snippet of one of them given here and there throughout the first 60 pages. Maybe if I gave it more time, the author would have gotten to their stories? I used to hate quitting books before reading them through, but now I'm of the mindset that life is too short for bad books! If you can't catch my attention and make me enjoy what you're writing (definitely by page 60), then I'm moving on! To each his own, but this one was just not for me!

p
paul1
Feb 13, 2018

A bleak book that shows how the hopes of a liberal democracy arising in Russia have been squashed.

i
Indoorcamping
Dec 05, 2017

Read about 50 pages in and realized it's such a good book that I don't want to rush it. Also, I'm not feeling the love for reading more about Russia and dystopia right now.

Masha Gessen is a brilliant writer, and drew me in quickly with the protagonists and their stories. But I feel like I know this story, know the unhappy endings, know the crushed hopes. I keep thinking I'm happy not to have this squelched life and narrow opportunity life.

She writes this as a sort of warning for what she sees we're heading toward, and no one regrets overestimating Hitler, but it's still difficult to read with open eyes when you're so sensitive to the political atmosphere of 2017.

So maybe later.

k
kalook
Dec 01, 2017

Wow! This is an excellent book, beautifully written. It is also very frightening. I highly recommend.

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