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The chancellor : the remarkable odyssey of…
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The chancellor : the remarkable odyssey of Angela Merkel (original 2021; édition 2021)

par Kati Marton

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'An intimate, insightful portrait of an extraordinarily private leader' WALTER ISAACSON From the bestselling author of Enemies of the People An intimate and deeply researched account of the extraordinary rise and political brilliance of the most powerful - and elusive - woman in the world. Angela Merkel has always been an outsider. A pastor's daughter raised in Soviet-controlled East Germany, she spent her twenties working as a research chemist, only entering politics after the fall of the Berlin Wall. And yet within fifteen years, she had become chancellor of Germany and, before long, the unofficial leader of the West. Acclaimed author Kati Marton sets out to pierce the mystery of this unlikely ascent. With unparalleled access to the chancellor's inner circle and a trove of records only recently come to light, she teases out the unique political genius that is the secret to Merkel's success. No other modern leader has so ably confronted authoritarian aggression, enacted daring social policies and calmly unified an entire continent in an era when countries are becoming only more divided. Again and again, she's cleverly outmanoeuvred strongmen like Putin and Trump, and weathered surprisingly complicated relationships with allies like Obama and Macron. Famously private, the woman who emerges from these pages is a role model for anyone interested in gaining and keeping power while staying true to one's moral convictions. At once a riveting political biography, an intimate human portrait and a revelatory look at successful leadership in action, The Chancellor brings forth from the shadows one of the most extraordinary women of our time.… (plus d'informations)
Membre:Hemamayigowda
Titre:The chancellor : the remarkable odyssey of Angela Merkel
Auteurs:Kati Marton
Info:London : William Collins, 2021.
Collections:Votre bibliothèque
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The Chancellor: The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel par Kati Marton (2021)

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Affichage de 1-5 de 6 (suivant | tout afficher)
"WIr schaffen das."

"We can handle it" is the translation given here. It is what Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a news conference about how Germany was going to handle the surging refugee crisis in 2015. I remember hearing this. In my memory, which may not be perfect, the question was particularly what was going to happen if the rest of Europe did not step up to the challenge. The emphasis was on the "Wir," "we", meaning Germany. If the rest of Europe did not step up, well, Germany would handle it. Germany would do what was right. And they did. This is when I first considered Merkel a personal hero.

"The fact that one million refugees had been allowed into Germany was, of course, the headline of 2015. However, an equally startling figure...: six million to seven million Germans helped them."

"For Germany's self-image - and how the rest of the world regards the former Third Reich - Angela Merkel's regugee policy has been transformational. Nothing short of astonishing is the fact that the country responsible for the Holocaust is now regarded as the world's moral center."

This book is really a gem. It never devolves into a boring litany of Germany political mundanity ("first the Socialist Democrats formed a coalition with the Democratic Socialists who in turn..."). It has a somewhat chronological arc without being strictly chronological; after some straightforward early life biography, the book is divided into chapters which showcase different aspects of Merkel's chancellorship: a chapter on the refugee crisis; one each on her relationships with W. Bush, Obama, and Trump; one on Ukraine (written alas before the latest invasion); etc. It really sustains interest.

Merkel has a doctorate in physics, as does her husband (who avoids all media attention and just likes to do his physics in peace). She honestly doesn't seem to have gone into politics for any reason other than to get things done. She does her own shopping. The most lovable photo is captioned thus:

"Shortly after her heartfelt warning to the nation regarding the looming Covid pandemic, the chancellor was seen shopping in her neighborhood grocery store. Note that there are more bottles of wine in her cart than rolls of toilet paper. Merkel beseeched her countrymen not to hoard."

Hero! ( )
  Tytania | Jun 29, 2022 |
It was indeed a remarkable journey to success by a remarkable woman. This is more her personal story than her political story. A good read. ( )
  gbelik | May 3, 2022 |
Kati Marton wrote this biography of Angela Merkel during her last four years in office, in the midst of a pandemic based on interviews and time spent with Merkel. She had no written record, a diary or journal, to go to and very few public interviews as the Chancellor was an extremely private person who sharply delineated between her public and private lives.

Merkel’s father was a Lutheran pastor who chose to move to East Germany. Russian soldiers and Stasi spies outnumbered the local population and made their present felt in all aspects of their lives. Angela studied sciences at university and earned a Ph.D in physics. In 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell she was in a dead end, boring job but saw this as a means to start a new life, in politics.

She used her scientifically oriented brain to bear on the political issues, prepared herself, knew what she believed in and as one of the few women available was given work which caused her to be noticed by what she produced. The bulk of the book covers from 2005 when she became Chancellor until her retirement in 2021. I think her major fault was she dealt with facts and presented them like a scientist, without emotion, lacking a human touch in most cases.

Her four terms required her to touch in someway on all the big issues, climate change, refugees, financial crash, the problems within the European Union, first Russian -
Ukrainian War in 2014, trade with China, Putin, Trump, and COVID-19. In some cases she was seen as the European leader not just the German Chancellor. She was untouched by scandal which wasn’t the case with her predecessors and some colleagues, in and outside Germany.

Marton’s writing is mainly clear and reflects the straightforward style used by Markel. At times I needed to reread a sentence or paragraph to follow the sense of it. One sentence that caused me pause and some thought was written about Merkel’s first visit to Israel and she is about to enter the parliament building. The author comments on Israel’s “blue and white banner” and “Germany’s red, black and gold flag” outside the building. Israel’s FLAG is blue and white! I couldn’t decide what the sentence was trying to express, but it didn’t sit well with me.

Merkel played a prominent role in international politics in this century. This book clearly lays out what she accomplished, how she did it and how it was received.

📚📚📚📚 ( )
  pmarshall | Apr 30, 2022 |
Fast paced biography of one of the most important global political figures of the last 30 years. Author Kati Marton expertly blends together the history of East and West Germany, and the fascinating narrative involving Merkel's highly unlikely life trajectory. Marton has managed to provide a lot of relevant personal information to help a reader understand the drives, likes and dislikes of one of the longest serving Chancellor in German history. As an American male reader, I enjoyed many examples of how Merkel bested both her male politics competitors both in Germany and outside. ( )
  kenkarpay | Dec 23, 2021 |
With Merkel soon stepping down from power, I thought this would be a good, timely read. I'm old enough to really only remember Merkel as Germany's Chancellor (I could really only recognize the names of her predecessors and wouldn't be able to name what they did if my life depended on it). So I was curious to know what we would be losing as Merkel's time ends.

It's a relatively straightforward book that follows Merkel's life and career. A lot of it is probably familiar to readers if you've followed German history/politics (I couldn't say). Author Marton talks about Merkel's youth, rise to power, her career and also through the prism of important events, people, etc.

This was a mixed bag for me. The stuff that I knew a little bit about (such as her childhood, her relationship with people like Barack Obama, etc.) was interesting and I did learn a bit. But I'll also admit that parts of it were dense: if I knew/understood German history/politics better I would imagine I'd get more out of it. But negative reviews also tell me that there was perhaps more for the author to go, and it was not as in depth as it could have been.

Overall, it did not seem like there's not much more here that maybe you wouldn't know by reading a few detailed profiles of Merkel. Infamously dedicated to her work, doesn't get very emotional, has a handle on politics despite her unusual position/role (woman, etc.) in German politics, her husband typically stays out of the limelight, etc.

I'm not sure if this has to do with the audience (it did feel more like for a layperson) or how much of this has to do with my lack of knowledge or both. Was it interesting? Yes. Is it the best source out there? I really don't know.

I think it was probably a better resource for someone like me, without a whole lot of knowledge about her, German politics, etc. but it wouldn't surprise me if those who know more would find this a disappointment. Best as a library borrow so you can assess whether it's a resource you should keep in your own library. ( )
1 voter HoldMyBook | Nov 24, 2021 |
Affichage de 1-5 de 6 (suivant | tout afficher)
Angela Merkel’s marathon tenure as Germany’s leader may have officially crossed the finishing line with September’s federal elections, but her final lap of honour could take some time. Depending on the pace of coalition talks between the politicians hoping to fill her shoes, she may yet give one more of her annual TV addresses in a caretaker capacity this Christmas.

Still, as a new generation of German leaders rises to the fore and Merkel recedes into the background, the contours of her legacy are becoming easier to distinguish. There are quantifiable historic firsts: 16 years in office make her the joint longest-serving chancellor of the postwar era, equalling the record of her former mentor Helmut Kohl. She’s the first German chancellor to have the wisdom to step down of her own will, at the end of a full term.

She’s the first female German head of government, the first with a scientist’s training, and the first to have grown up in a socialist command economy. She may go down in history as a once-in-a-century political adaptor, connecting two differently hardwired systems kept apart by the Berlin Wall.

Yet it’s also possible that Merkel may not be remembered as a pioneer, but as the last example of an idea that feels increasingly old-fashioned in an age where more and more political tribes are built around personal identity: leadership as an exercise in ego suppression, holding high office as tantamount to covering the very traits that make you unique.

Hungarian-American author Kati Marton is especially fascinated by this aspect of Merkel’s tenure: the intense privacy of a woman who rose to power in an era of oversharing.

“After several decades, Germans are not tired of her image, her voice, her looming persona – because Merkel does not loom,” Marton writes in her biography, in response to the German leader’s enduringly high popularity ratings. “Despite knowing little about their chancellor’s private life, other than that she comes across as leading a life not so different from their own, Germans thrice reelected her, each time by a comfortable margin.”

From Marton’s US perspective, the contrast is especially glaring: while Donald Trump’s stint in the White House became a reality TV show, broadcast in real time through tweets and continual leaks, Merkel’s chancellory is famously gossip proof. Marton writes that her obsession with privacy “verges on paranoia”. The world was privy to Trump’s every idle thought via Twitter; Merkel, however, keeps no journal, does not use email, and “texts only briefly and when necessary”. Her long-standing, mostly female set of advisers is not only intensely loyal but almost invisible to the media’s eye.

Those who have been unwise enough to blab found themselves banished from her inner circle: one political ally, Marton writes, was never allowed back into Merkel’s confidence after releasing a four-word email with the following explosive content: “Thanks for the suggestion, AM.”

Few Germans are even aware that their chancellor has a sister and a brother, because they lead ordinary lives doing ordinary jobs and never speak to the press. Her first husband, Ulrich Merkel, whose surname she kept after their divorce in 1982, once gave a reluctant on-the-spot interview in which he praised his ex for her stance during the refugee crisis of 2015.

Perhaps after Merkel has left office proper there will be a biography that will lift the veil on her private motivations; Marton’s diligently compiled but often overtly reverential chronological overview is not it. In spite of numerous interviews with close advisers, touted as “circumventing the chancellor’s extraordinary need for control”, there are few revelations here that cast a new light on her leadership.

Marton notes how Merkel was the daughter of a Protestant pastor and the former head of a party with the word “Christian” in its name. She believes her “private faith, and the Bible, would steady her sometimes rocky path”, as well as provide a connection with the first US president she met in office, George W Bush. She may well be right, but this book doesn’t present any evidence to back up that claim, nor does it explore how Merkel’s specifically East German Lutheran brand of Christianity may have influenced her.

Marton believes Merkel to be a feminist, even if the chancellor herself only used the term to describe herself for the first time last month (in a panel discussion with the the novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). But as with her East German background, the chancellor’s sex was never converted into a policy priority. In fact, little of Germany’s progress on gender equality over the last 16 years can be directly put down to Merkel’s leadership: she initially opposed her labour minister Ursula von der Leyen’s proposal for legally mandated gender quotas for senior management positions.

At times, there is a slightly comical sense that the qualities Merkel’s biographer finds most intriguing are also those that most elude her: Marton, who also grew up east of the Iron Curtain and went on to become an ABC News foreign correspondent and marry the influential late US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, cannot help but slide her own story into the footnotes. Not quite the lesson one would have expected a writer to draw from studying a politician who managed to command authority by leaning out rather than in.

In one aside, Marton mentions that she once met Merkel at a lunch party hosted by the film director Volker Schlöndorff in September 2001, long before she started her biography. The writer Susan Sontag was also in attendance, she reveals, though sadly her memory of what words passed between the two women is sketchy. The pair were “a study in contrasts”, apparently: “Sontag, expansive; Merkel, the active listener.”

Perhaps while we wait for Merkel’s inner circle to go public and help produce the first truly illuminating biography of her tenure, we need storytellers to fill in the gaps. A chamber play on love, life and the way we live now featuring Merkel and Sontag: now that would be revelatory.
ajouté par kleh | modifierThe Guardian, Philip Oltermann (Nov 3, 2021)
 
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'An intimate, insightful portrait of an extraordinarily private leader' WALTER ISAACSON From the bestselling author of Enemies of the People An intimate and deeply researched account of the extraordinary rise and political brilliance of the most powerful - and elusive - woman in the world. Angela Merkel has always been an outsider. A pastor's daughter raised in Soviet-controlled East Germany, she spent her twenties working as a research chemist, only entering politics after the fall of the Berlin Wall. And yet within fifteen years, she had become chancellor of Germany and, before long, the unofficial leader of the West. Acclaimed author Kati Marton sets out to pierce the mystery of this unlikely ascent. With unparalleled access to the chancellor's inner circle and a trove of records only recently come to light, she teases out the unique political genius that is the secret to Merkel's success. No other modern leader has so ably confronted authoritarian aggression, enacted daring social policies and calmly unified an entire continent in an era when countries are becoming only more divided. Again and again, she's cleverly outmanoeuvred strongmen like Putin and Trump, and weathered surprisingly complicated relationships with allies like Obama and Macron. Famously private, the woman who emerges from these pages is a role model for anyone interested in gaining and keeping power while staying true to one's moral convictions. At once a riveting political biography, an intimate human portrait and a revelatory look at successful leadership in action, The Chancellor brings forth from the shadows one of the most extraordinary women of our time.

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