“The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin”

Steven Lee Myers

Considering recent events, this is a must-read. Despite the depth of the reporting and overall quality of the book, Putin is still an enigma to me. He wasn’t obviously ambitious, and, since taking power, it’s not clear how pure (i.e., how purely nationalistic as opposed to self-interested) his motives are. It’s clear that even if Putin is, in some sense, a patriot, he’s also in charge of a criminal organization. Given the layers of security surrounding the topic, it’s hard to imagine a more complete book on Putin; it’s also a good survey of post-Soviet Russian history.