Revolution Française: Emmanuel Macron and the Quest to Reinvent a Nation

Sophie Pedder. Bloomsbury Continuum, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4729-4860-1
Journalist Pedder, a longtime observer of French politics, argues in this excellent political biography that quiet revolutions—such as Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche political movement, which propelled him to the presidency of France in 2017—are no less ambitious than those driven by bomb-throwers and rioters in the street. After a beginning reminiscent of the dense and wordy essays of French political commentators, the author lays out the appealing contradictions of the man and his movement, which achieved what amounted to a “wholesale political clearout” of France’s sclerotic and dysfunctional parties and governing personages. Pedder is especially adept at outlining the foibles, arrogance, and self-serving dynamics of the preceding 20 years of French political history, often with a light, witty touch. Macron’s nonpartisan rise to power is, she says, effectively “detonating the two-party system” in Paris and throughout the rest of the country, where his aims of more flexible working rules would, he hopes, provide a much-needed jolt to the economy. The biographical sketch of Macron, slightly repetitive at times, portrays the young technocrat as an intriguing mix of formidable intellect, clear-eyed political calculation, and flashes of hubris. Wit, insight, and lots of time with the principal subject make this a terrific, beyond-the-basics introduction to present-day France for those who follow modern politics. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/09/2018
Release date: 08/14/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-4729-6630-8
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