Masha Gessen, one of the most perceptive of a new generation of correspondents in Russia, does not share this opinion. Her fascinating book is the first to examine the ways in which intellectuals are finding an identity in the new Russia. Through a series of extraordinary individual stories, she shows their quest for a new faith, be it religion or the paranormal, a commitment to nationalist ideology, or to feminist principles. She shows, too, their search for a place in the new society, as artist or politician, entrepreneur or neo-dissident. Some of those she describes as already famous (or infamous); others unknown. Her accounts of their careers and preoccupations can be inspiring or harrowing, and sometimes hilarious. Finally, Masha Gessen considers the prospects for future generations of intellectuals, giving a vivid, and disturbing, portrait of Russia’s outcast Generation X, and of those younger still, who have largely abandoned any notion of society or hope for a place in it.