Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs, a True Story of Ambition, Wealth, Betrayal, and Murder by Ben Mezrich

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)
The author wrote this book as a dramatic narrative account, creating it from court documents, newspaper articles, and participant recollections. Some dates and names were changed to protect privacy, but this is a true story, these events really happened from 2000-2013.

The story follows Boris Berezovsky, known as the Godfather of the Kremlin and Roman Abramovich. After the fall of communism, these and other ruthless men privatized major industries in Russia and became billionaires.

This is a true life thriller, the story starts with an assassination attempt and follows the brutality of the men rising to the top and acquiring billions along the way.

Berezovsky’s TV stations helped keep Yeltzin in power and also propelled Putin to the top. When Berezovsky turns on Putin, he has to flee the country with his bodyguards and enormous wealth in tow.

This book gave me a good understanding of how the oligarchs come to be and why they are so dangerous. Roman Abramovich is still in the news – he is the current owner of the Chelsea (England) Football team that is now under worldwide scrutiny.

This was an interesting, but disturbing read. I feel that I learned a lot and recommend this book to anyone that wants to be more knowledgeable about world events.

Available through the Bridges Library System

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