In This Review

The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin
The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin
By Steven Lee Myers
Knopf, 2015, 592 pp

What is it about Vladimir Putin that makes people want to write books about him—many more, it seems, than about any other currently serving leader or, indeed, any recent leader? Most of the authors of these books are journalists such as Myers; Russia seems to get into their blood, and Putin, an improbably striking character, is at the center of the country’s turbulent existence and effect. Myers retraces familiar ground: Putin’s childhood, KGB service in East Germany, entry into Leningrad politics, ascent in Moscow, and consolidation of power, and the various twists and dramas of his time in power, including the ongoing Ukrainian conflict. What Myers adds to this oft-told tale are revealing details, texture, and nuance made possible by the seven years he spent reporting from Russia for The New York Times. For readers looking for a full, highly readable account of Putin and the era he has shaped, this is the book.