• Words Will Break Cement

  • The Passion of Pussy Riot
  • By: Masha Gessen
  • Narrated by: Carrington MacDuffie
  • Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The heroic story of Pussy Riot, who resurrected the power of truth in a society built on lies.

On February 21, 2012, five young women entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. In neon-colored dresses, tights, and balaclavas, they performed a “punk prayer” beseeching the “Mother of God” to “get rid of Putin.” They were quickly shut down by security, and in the weeks and months that followed, three of the women were arrested and tried, and two were sentenced to a remote prison colony. But the incident captured international headlines, and footage of it went viral. People across the globe recognized not only a fierce act of political confrontation but also an inspired work of art that, in a time and place saturated with lies, found a new way to speak the truth.

Masha Gessen’s riveting account tells how such a phenomenon came about. Drawing on her exclusive, extensive access to the members of Pussy Riot and their families and associates, she reconstructs the fascinating personal journeys that transformed a group of young women into artists with a shared vision, gave them the courage and imagination to express it unforgettably, and endowed them with the strength to endure the devastating loneliness and isolation that have been the price of their triumph.

©2014 Masha Gessen (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Really wanted to love this

First, I really like Pussy Riot, and what they do socially. But, what really was poor about this title was that it was 90% reading from trial transcripts, and maybe, MAYBE 10% learning what drives the girls. With Masha Gessen at the helm here, I was expecting much more than just a historical re-telling of "what happened," mostly during the sham that passed for a trial. I know enough about the state of Russia (my wife is from Siberia, all her family and friends still live there), and the politics of Putin and former regimes. But none of that was really explored here – if I were only familiar with the band and their small catalog of music, and wanted to learn what drives them, I still would have no idea.

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Idealism No Match Against KGB Pragmatism

I am so relieved to have read this book. Masha Gessen knows whereof they speak. I will be reading their other books, one by one, something I anticipate with an undertone of dread. this is real life, and it doesn't end happily ever after … not yet, at least. My one regret is that Gessen didn’t narrate.

Putin's presence in this book about the Pussy Riot performance art punk prayer and its repercussions is not tangible; it's felt strongly, though, as if he were Sauron looking into a Palantir in Mordor. Yes, it's THAT creepy.

To anybody — like Trump — who thinks Putin is an okay guy, read the part that takes place in the penal colonies. If you have any background studying the Holocaust, it'll sound very familiar. These women and men are courageous and indefatigable. We here in America need them more than Russia wants them. But Russia is their Rodina, and I don't see them giving up on her. Lucky for Russia, bad for Putin. And that's a Good Thing.