"Roxburgh paints a...compelling portrait. He is sympathetic to what motivates Putin but critical of what Putin has become during his years in power...engrossing." - Foreign Affairs
"A solid foreign correspondent narrative of Putin’s behavior" – Bill Keller, The New York Times
"The considerable value of this book lies in [Roxburgh’s] painstaking and empathetic effort to understand how Mr. Putin came to power, why many Russians still support him today, and how the West’s approach to Russia has helped to shape his rule... Mr. Roxburgh persuasively argues" – Wall Street Journal
"Roxburgh is a talented journalist and writer...a useful history of the Putin era....with views from Russian politicians, and some of the key players from the world of international politics, it is a book firmly rooted in fact and analysis. This means that Roxburgh’s approach is refreshingly free from some of the usual polemic, and he is to be congratulated for giving credit where credit is due and for underlining Putin’s role in stabilising Russia after the free-fall of the Yeltsin years." – Good Book Guide
"…an old Russian hand. [Roxburgh] takes us behind the curtain of the Kremlin press section….he is at his best in a chapter on fraught Georgian-Russian relations, capturing the culpability on all sides." – Stephen Kotkin, TLS
"[A]lively and absorbing study.... [Roxburgh] is especially well placed to tell the story of how the west’s early enthusiasm for Putin turned sour." – Luke Harding, Guardian
"[Written] with admirable even-handedness and insight...The Strongman is not only political history; it is informed by the author’s close acquaintance with many of the prime players...Every chapter of this book is worth reading." – Mary Dejevsky, Independent
"Well researched and with many personal observations by an admired and insightful journalist, this will appeal to contemporary Russophiles and Putin watchers." – Library Journal
"Roxburgh’s experience as a public relations advisor to Putin provides the basis for some of the most interesting passages in the book." – David Satter, Literary Review
"...much can be learned about the conduct of Western and Russian international relations from the valuable interviews the author conducted with Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Gerhard Shroder, Mikhail Kasyanov, German Gref as well as David Miliband, George Robinson and Ukraine’s Viktor Yushchenko." – David Lane, London Progressive Journal
"Roxburgh’s book accordingly is a vivid account by a ‘Western’ journalist with excellent senior access of the tumultuous transition of Russia away from Soviet communism to today’s sui generis Russia…Roxburgh offers many vivid, credible anecdotes about Putin and his merciless dealings with top Russians and Western leaders…" – Charles Crawford, EUROPP (European Politics and Politics – LSE Blog)
"We need an insider to give us some insight into what has really been going on since 1999, when Putin went from unknown to acting president. It is fortunate then that we have Angus Roxburgh... fair, nuanced and well written...His account of the complete mutual incomprehension between his employers, Ketchum, and the Russians they worked with is fascinating." – Oliver Bullough, Sunday Telegraph
"[Roxburgh’s book] is powerful...and gives much more attention to the international connect and to Russia’s economy [than Masha Gessen’s book]" – The Age
"As a former adviser to the Kremlin in 2006-09, working for the Brussels based consultancy GPlus, Roxburgh had an excellent vantage point, and here he offers a stellar cast of sources, drawn from those closest to Putin and Western leaders. Their accounts make this is a valuable book." – European Voice
…The Strongman is not a biography or an inside-his-head account, but a straightforward chronicle of Putin in power. What Roxburgh delivers is a solid foreign-correspondent narrative of Putin's behavior.
The New York Times Book Review
Former BBC Moscow correspondent Roxburgh (Pravda: Inside the Soviet Press Machine) begins his analysis of Putin and Russia with a review of the country under former President Yeltsin, which had been "truly battered by the abrupt transition from communism," before providing a brief biography of Putin's early life, his time as a KGB agent (a childhood aspiration) and rise in politics, aided by his patrons, the Family-which comprised Yeltsin's closest advisers. The author describes the past two decades of Russian history with an interesting, involved voice, discussing the Chechen war, attacks on journalists and politicians, and various aspects of Russian politics. Based on numerous interviews, Roxburgh delves into the relationships that Russia has built with other countries since the fall of the Soviet Union, including France, Britain, Italy, Germany, and, extensively, the United States. With canny understanding, Roxburgh illuminates diplomatic protocol, international politics, and the personalities involved, from Putin to Presidents Bush and Obama. Photos.
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