Two-time president of France, mayor of Paris, and international politician, Jacques Chirac stands with Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, and Margaret Thatcher as one of the most iconic statesmen of the twentieth century.
In this revealing and informative memoir, Chirac looks back at his 50 years in politics, giving us both an intimate window onto the challenges of leadership and a broad reference for much of our recent history. A protégé of both General Charles de Gaulle and President Georges Pompidou, Chirac enjoyed a meteoric rise that earned him the nickname “bulldozer.” He was at the center of some of the twentieth century’s most significant events, serving as confidante to Yasser Arafat during the Camp David peace talks, as well as being France’s point person in the early planning stages for what became the European Union. Here he discusses his relationship with Saddam Hussein and other Arab leaders and takes us through the toughest challenge that he faced as president - standing up to George W. Bush in the run-up to the Iraq War and then deciding to keep France’s army out of the military conflict.
As much a tour of the historic events that defined the twentieth century as an intelligent and philosophical meditation on the nature and purpose of power, My Life in Politics shows us global politics from an original viewpoint, forcing us to reconsider our own perspective. With his singular brio, surprising candor, and lively wit, Jacques Chirac gives us a revealing look at the political forces that shaped the world we live in today - as well as an inside look at a perennially fascinating country.
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Jacques Chirac is a lifelong French politician and one of the most charismatic figures of twentieth century politics. He was president of France from 1995 to 2007. He also served as Prime Minister of France twice in the 1970s and 1980s, and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995. He is best known for being one of the most prominent international opponents of the Bush administration's intention to go to war in Iraq. He also worked to abate nuclear armament, banning the further continuation of nuclear tests in France.From Booklist:
One of France’s most admired politicians, Chirac was twice elected president and served on a political spectrum from the local (as mayor of Paris) to the international (as prime minister). In this engaging autobiography, Chirac details a life not predestined for politics, for he dreamed of a career in military aeronautics. In 1967, at 35, he entered politics as part of the cabinet of Georges Pompidou. He reflects on 40 years of public life, from support for the development of the Concorde to the social malaise of the 1960s, from selling Iraq its first nuclear reactor to opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, to concerns about European fiscal policies. For Chirac, politics has not been a question of ideology but of people, personalities and sensitivities. Accordingly, he details relationships with major international figures, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, François Mitterand, Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat. His chapter on the Iraq War will be particularly compelling reading for Americans. This fascinating autobiography includes photographs chronicling Chirac’s long and admired career. --Vanessa Bush
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