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Masha Gessen: Where to Begin


This post is part of a series in which Readers Services librarians suggest a good starting place for authors appearing in our LIVE from the NYPL series.

Masha Gessen will deliver this year's annual Robert B. Silvers lecture, "The Stories of a Life," on Monday, December 18 at the Library. Tickets have sold out, but you can still join in by watching a livestream of the event!


The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (2017)

Gessen's most recent book is the most relevant, well-researched work of nonfiction on Russia and Vladimir Putin to emerge in recent days. It follows the fates of four Russians whose bright lights were extinguished, and then expands her story to shed light on the wider effects of Putin's rise to power and the ways it could be used as a template for other would-be autocrats. It couldn't be more timely. Read it. —Gwen Glazer

New Yorker stories

I am enjoying Gessen's editorial pieces reflecting on this historic moment in exposing established men for sexual assault and harassment. As happy as we are to see abuses of power punished, it is nuanced and it is useful to have this articulated so clearly for us. 
...the distinctions between rape and coercion are meaningful, in the way it is meaningful to distinguish between, say, murder and battery. 
"'Should Al Franken Resign?' Is the Wrong Question" November 19, 2017
According to ​(Ellen) ​Page, when she was eighteen, the director and producer Brett Ratner made crude comments about her in front of other actors and outed her to the cast. He and his team allegedly proceeded to humiliate Page while also demanding her loyalty: at one point, she says, she was instructed to wear a T-shirt with the words “Team Ratner” on it. Page, according to her account, was being taken hostage. (Ratner has not responded publicly to Page’s allegations.) In a single sentence in the sixth paragraph of the post, Page mentions being sexually assaulted by a crew member—an event that she clearly sees as a consequence of being dehumanized by much more powerful men. Her assailant had no reason to fear retribution. 
Lynn Lobash


Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Have other ideas about the best place to start or your favorite book by these authors? Let us know in the comments. 


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Great places to start ! Mid

Great places to start ! Mid-Manhattan has a number of additional titles by Masha Gessen: Words will break cement : the passion of Pussy Riot / Masha Gessen The brothers : the road to an American tragedy / Masha Gessen Where the Jews aren't : the sad and absurd story of Birobidzhan, Russia's Jewish Autonomous Region / Masha Gessen Ester and Ruzya : how my grandmothers survived Hitler's war and Stalin's peace / Masha Gessen. Perfect rigor : a genius and the mathematical breakthrough of the century / Masha Gessen. The man without a face : the unlikely rise of Vladimir Putin / Masha Gessen.

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