I have finished ready a new biography about former German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, entitled The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel by Kati Marton.
The book, newly released following Ms. Merkel’s retirement as Chancellor after 16 years in power, is an easy read and enjoyable from start to finish.
We learn about Ms. Merkel’s upbringing in the then East Germany, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor who chose to move to East Germany.
We find in this biography, despite her support and involvement in the writing of the biography, a very private person. Ms. Merkel has been able to have an active public life as Chancellor of Germany and de facto “Leader of Europe” while also maintaining a very private life – even some of her closest advisors have never been in her Berlin apartment, for example!
This biography also shows how she tried to maintain a good relationship with the USA, even during the term of Donald Trump as President, a person who she had a difficult with relationship.
Also on display are her abilities to put in long hours to try and negotiate an agreement, even staying up part of the night, when others would have gone to bed instead!
The books also shows how Ms. Merkel wanted to be able to leave on her own terms and how she decided not to run again once her fourth term as Chancellor was finished. She had seen how other leaders had been pushed out of office, so wanted to leave on her terms and in her humble way.
In this biography, we learn how Ms. Merkel dealt with trying to lead the world in helping with refugees, a sign of her upbringing and a reorganization of Germany’s Third Reich past. At the same time, we learn how she was able to take the best items from her opponents and make them work for the good of the country – something that helped make her popular with the electors and made it hard for opposition parties to have a platform to run on at election time.
I only have one gripe with the book, and that is the author’s consistent reference to Ms. Merkel as being a “Head of State” instead of “Head of Government.” Perhaps not a major issue for many, but the Chancellor of Germany is the Head of Government, not Head of State.
If you get a chance to read the book, do so. It is a great read about an important person of our times. The book is available through bookstores, and Amazon.