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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Review: My Life in Politics by Jacques Chirac

Title: My Life in Politics
Author: Jacques Chirac
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
Publish Date: November 13, 2012
Source: I received a copy of the book from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You like non-fiction.
  • You're a politico.
  • You like memoirs.
What's the Story?:

From "Along with Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, and Francois Mitterand, Jacques Chirac is one of the most iconic statesmen of the twentieth century. Two-time president of France, mayor of Paris, and international politician, a recent poll voted him the most admired political figure in France, with current president Nicolas Sarkozy ranking in 32nd place. This memoir covers the full scope of Chirac's political career of more than 50 years and includes the last century's most significant events. A protégé of General de Gaulle, Chirac started political life after France's defeat in Algeria in the early 1960s. He then became Prime Minister George de Pompidou's "bulldozer" and a personal negotiator with Saddam Hussein for France's oil interests in the Persian Gulf. He sold Iraq its first nuclear reactor and incurred the wrath of the United States and Israel, which he discusses in striking detail. As mayor of Paris, Chirac was famed for his success in beautifying the City of Lights and keeping it whole during the heady days of the 1968 riots. As president in the 1990s and early 2000s, Chirac took controversial steps to privatize the economy and plan the European Union. Chirac seldom pulls punches and in several dramatic chapters describes his opposition to the US invasion of Iraq in 2002 and his personal meetings with George W. Bush. These landmark events are brought into sharp focus in this memoir that the popular French magazine Paris Match said "steals the show" even after its author decamped the presidential palace."

My Two Cents:

Prior to reading this book, I just really did not know a lot about Jacques Chirac at all. I love learning a little something new whenever I pick up a book and this book definitely fit the bill in that regard. This book is filled with Chirac's tales of his political career told in his own words.

I found this book fascinating. Chirac had a very lengthy career in politics that all started when his father pushed him to go into politics instead of being a sea captain (seriously!). It's always interesting to me to see where these big names start out. No two paths are the same. Chirac had a ton of different positions in his political life. Interestingly enough, the book is divided almost exactly in half between his political career prior to becoming President of France and his years as President.

I really enjoyed that this book was told from Chirac himself. I think you get a great sense of a person when you can hear what they think about themselves when they use their own words.

The book ends pretty abruptly when Chirac leaves office. I wish that there had been a little more closing but overall, I found this book fascinating!



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