Current Affairs & Business

HarperCollins to publish Overreach by Owen Matthews


HarperCollins has acquired World All Language rights to the new book by veteran Moscow correspondent and historian Owen Matthews. Mudlark Publishing Director Joel Simons negotiated the deal with Northbank’s Diane Banks and Martin Redfern. Overreach: The Inside Story of Putins War Against Ukraine will be published on 10 November 2022.

A fluent Russian-speaker who has lived and worked in Moscow for over 25 years, Owen Matthews draws on his unrivalled network of contacts to deliver unique insights into Putin’s administration, security services, armed forces and propaganda machine. He sheds light on the decision-making processes within the Kremlin, and the consequences that have shaken Europe to its core.

Overreach chronicles how Vladimir Putin lurched from calculating and subtle master of political opportunity to reckless gambler whose aggression threatens to destroy both the foundations of his own regime and of Russia itself. The book transports the reader into the Covid bubble where Putin conceived his invasion plans in a fog of nationalist fantasy and bad information – and into the inner circle around Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky, the TV star president who became the war’s most unexpected hero.

Testimonies of captured Russian conscripts, Ukrainian civilians who escaped from occupation, and of the last journalists in besieged Mariupol tell the story of the war as it unfolded on the ground. Matthews’ interviews with men who launched Putin’s career, and others who have worked with him for years, help the reader to understand Putin’s motivations and to get inside the head of the world’s most secretive and dangerous leader.

Overreach is an important and unparalleled piece of investigative journalism that will be the first to offer readers a panoramic view of how the most serious geopolitical crisis since World War II began – and how its endgame is likely to unfold.

Owen Matthews says: ‘This book focuses on the most compelling mystery at the heart of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine – how did the idea of violently carving out a Greater Russia, backed up by mystical Orthodox nationalism, travel from the marginal fringes of Russian politics to becoming official Kremlin policy? How and why did Putin decide to throw decades of carefully-constructed macroeconomics and diplomacy out of the window and launch a war so reckless and risky that the details were kept even from most of his most senior ministers right up until the very moment of the invasion? Who were the dogs fighting under the carpet – as Churchill memorably once described Kremlin infighting – who battled for Putin’s ear, heart and mind? The story of the war cannot be told in full until it’s over. But Overreach is the story of how the war began. I’m delighted to be working with Joel Simons and the world-class HarperCollins team to produce this first draft of history.’

Joel Simons says: ‘This is an astonishing work of real-time reporting that explores the multiple and complex facets of this devastating conflict. Owen Matthews is one of the best-connected correspondents still operating in Moscow and I’m so excited to be working with him and his wider team on publishing what I hope will become a definitive account of the war in Ukraine.’

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