The Chancellor: The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel

S. & S. Oct. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781501192623. $30. BIOG
Biographer Marton (True Believer: Stalin’s Last American Spy) looks at the life and career of the famously private German chancellor Angela Merkel. Raised in authoritarian East Germany, Merkel studied as a physicist before turning to politics. Marton argues that Merkel’s training as a scientist, as well as her devout Lutheran faith, have greatly contributed to the steady, precise nature that has marked her success as a politician. The majority of the biography is focused on Merkel’s political career as Marton evaluates her strengths and limitations as a politician. The author effectively tells how Merkel is often acutely reminded of Germany’s past and strives to ensure that Germany is a moral leader, resists authoritarianism, and remains a part of the European Union and a key member of the global community. The major events of Merkel’s chancellorship are explored, particularly Russia’s takeover of Crimea, the Syrian refugee crisis, the 2008 financial collapse and subsequent destabilization of the European Union, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Marton looks at Merkel’s relationships with prominent world leaders such as Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, Emmanuel Macron, and Donald Trump.
VERDICT A fascinating look at a highly influential leader. Recommended for readers interested in world politics.
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