-by Simon Shuster
A monumental account of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the forging of a leader, The Showman provides an insider’s perspective on the war reshaping our world, based on unprecedented access to Volodymyr Zelensky and the high command in Kyiv.
Time correspondent Simon Shuster chronicles the life and leadership of Volodymyr Zelensky from the dressing rooms of his variety shows to the muddy trenches of Ukraine’s war with Russia. Based on four years of reporting; extensive travels with President Zelensky to the front; and dozens of interviews with him, his wife, his friends and enemies, his advisers, ministers and military commanders, Shuster tells the intimate and revealing story of the president’s evolution from a slapstick actor to a symbol of resilience.
His wife, First Lady Olena Zelenska, describes her escape from Kyiv with their children, her life on the run, and the tensions that emerged in her marriage as she struggled to return to a meaningful role in the administration.
Ukraine’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, shares the untold story of his fraught relationship with the president and the subsequent consequences.
Reflecting on their own regrets and critical decisions, Zelensky and his senior aides open up about the causes of the Russian invasion and how it may have been avoided. They describe with astonishing frankness how their peace talks with Vladimir Putin fell apart and how their faith in the U.S. faltered, both under Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
The Showman provides the first inside account of Zelensky’s life amid the invasion, offering a clear-eyed view of his failures to prepare for it and his willingness to silence dissent under martial law. What emerges is a complex picture of a man struggling to break what he sees as a historical cycle of oppression that began generations before he was born. Even as the war drags on, Zelensky lays out his vision for its future course and, through his actions, demonstrates his strategy for countering the Russians and keeping the West on his side.
The Showman, as a work of eyewitness journalism, provides an essential perspective on the war defining our age, resulting in a riveting, vivid portrait of the invasion as experienced by its number one target and improbable hero.