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

de Kati Marton

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1148214,598 (4.1)6
"The definitive biography of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, detailing the remarkable rise and political brilliance of the most powerful--and elusive--woman in the world. The Chancellor is at once a riveting political biography and an intimate human story of a complete outsider--a research chemist and pastor's daughter raised in Soviet-controlled East Germany--who rose to become the unofficial leader of the West. Acclaimed biographer Kati Marton set out to pierce the mystery of how Angela Merkel achieved all this. And she found the answer in Merkel's political genius: in her willingness to talk with adversaries rather than over them, her skill at negotiating without ever compromising on what's most important to her, her canniness in appointing political rivals to her cabinet and exacting their policies so they have no platform to run against her, the humility to allow others to take credit for things done in tandem, the wisdom to stay out of the papers and off Twitter, and the vision to take advantage of crises to enact bold change. Famously private, the Angela Merkel who emerges in The Chancellor is a role model for anyone interested in gaining and keeping power while holding onto one's moral convictions--and for anyone looking to understand how to successfully bridge huge divisions within society. No modern leader has so ably confronted Russian aggression, provided homes to over a million refugees, and calmly unified Europe at a time when other countries are becoming more divided. But Marton also describes Merkel's many challenges, such as her complicated relationship with President Obama, who she at one point refused to speak to. This captivating portrait shows a woman who has survived extraordinary challenges to transform her own country and return it to the global stage. Timely and revelatory, this great morality tale shows the difference an exceptional leader can make for the greater good of a country and the world"--… (més)
Membre:Hemamayigowda
Títol:The chancellor : the remarkable odyssey of Angela Merkel
Autors:Kati Marton
Informació:London : William Collins, 2021.
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The Chancellor: The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel de Kati Marton (2021)

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I liked this book's focus on Angela Merkel as a person and leader. Yes, it was uncritical and very accepting of her, but I didn't mind that because, like so many, I admire Ms. Merkel. I found the book inspiring in terms of being true to your values and that actions mean more than words.

The book provides a brief, recent history of Germany, a look at Angela Merkel as leader and a little geopolitical context. It is really about leadership. It must be hard to write a biography of someone so private, so there are gaps. It is unclear how she transitioned from being a scientist to a politician, for example.

I was struck by how much the German media, in this day of 24-hour news and tabloids, largely respected Ms. Merkel's privacy. I was also struck by how Ms. Merkle's experiences as an East German shaped her decisions, at times even more than her rational, scientific bent; for example, in allowing one million Syrian refugees into Germany.

This book is very easy to read and accessible. We'll have to let a little more time pass before we can see a definitive biography of Ms. Merkel, but this book is a good place to start that reflection. ( )
  LynnB | Oct 4, 2022 |
In 2021, one event that I never really expected to occur did: Angela Merkel stepped down as Chancellor of Germany. She'd been in that role since I was in college, outlasting other world leaders and becoming the known steady hand in foreign policy that so many depended on. Here is an insider's view* of how Merkel got there and how she was so successful that many people hoped--or just assumed--that she would remain Chancellor for life. I had no idea that her pre-2005 political career was a short, steep climb into leading the CU. But Merkel has always been a canny negotiator and political operator, and early chapters offer that crucial play-by-play. This is a pretty inspiring read for someone looking for that one-in-a-million story that no one expected.

*Kati Marton is a longtime journalist moving in diplomatic circles that met Merkel multiple times. ( )
  jonerthon | Jul 2, 2022 |
"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 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 8 (següent | mostra-les totes)
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.
afegit per kleh | editaThe Guardian, Philip Oltermann (Nov 3, 2021)
 
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"The definitive biography of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, detailing the remarkable rise and political brilliance of the most powerful--and elusive--woman in the world. The Chancellor is at once a riveting political biography and an intimate human story of a complete outsider--a research chemist and pastor's daughter raised in Soviet-controlled East Germany--who rose to become the unofficial leader of the West. Acclaimed biographer Kati Marton set out to pierce the mystery of how Angela Merkel achieved all this. And she found the answer in Merkel's political genius: in her willingness to talk with adversaries rather than over them, her skill at negotiating without ever compromising on what's most important to her, her canniness in appointing political rivals to her cabinet and exacting their policies so they have no platform to run against her, the humility to allow others to take credit for things done in tandem, the wisdom to stay out of the papers and off Twitter, and the vision to take advantage of crises to enact bold change. Famously private, the Angela Merkel who emerges in The Chancellor is a role model for anyone interested in gaining and keeping power while holding onto one's moral convictions--and for anyone looking to understand how to successfully bridge huge divisions within society. No modern leader has so ably confronted Russian aggression, provided homes to over a million refugees, and calmly unified Europe at a time when other countries are becoming more divided. But Marton also describes Merkel's many challenges, such as her complicated relationship with President Obama, who she at one point refused to speak to. This captivating portrait shows a woman who has survived extraordinary challenges to transform her own country and return it to the global stage. Timely and revelatory, this great morality tale shows the difference an exceptional leader can make for the greater good of a country and the world"--

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