Putin biographer Masha Gessen will apply her long history reporting on Russia and its surroundings and her own experiences emigrating to America in a book on the Tsarnaev brothers, which Riverhead Books announced today.
Though prompting Internet cries of "already?" and "that was quick," Riverhead has said that the book will take a look at the brother's identities as related to their homeland and their adopted home. It will, according to the press release, "reconstruct the struggle that ensued for each of the brothers between assimilation and alienation, and their metamorphosis into a new breed of home-grown terrorist, with their feet on American soil but their loyalties elsewhere, a split in identity that opened them to a deadly sense of mission."
Jynne Martin of Riverhead elaborated in a call with the Wire that Gessen already has a network of contacts in Dagestan and can travel there freely. As for Gessen's own history, Martin said: "She was talking to us about how to her there’s actually this very personal and real sense about what it means to be displaced from your culture." Martin told us that Gessen will help readers understand the brothers' cultural background in relation to their action aside from a simplistic view of Islamic extremism. How much access Gessen will get to the family is still unknown.
Martin explained that Gessen was "immediately" interested in the story, and had been overseeing coverage of the topic at Radio Liberty. Martin added: "Over the course of the past week it became clear to her and to us that she could write a book on the subject that would go beyond what anyone else was equipped to do."
Gessen, in the words of the Times' Julie Bosman is "well qualified to write the book," speaking both Russian and English, having reported from Chechnya, and emigrating to Boston from Moscow as a teenager. Gessen, who wrote Putin biography The Man Without A Face, recently resigned as director of the Russian-language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty "to begin work on a new book." Gessen's tenure there has been controversial. She also writes The New York Times' Latitude blog.