An authoritative analysis of power and politics in contemporary France.

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REVOLUTION FRANÇAISE

EMMANUEL MACRON AND THE QUEST TO REINVENT A NATION

An optimistic view of France’s future under Emmanuel Macron.

Journalist Pedder, the Paris bureau chief of the Economist and commentator on French politics for CNN and the BBC, makes her literary debut with an insightful examination of the rise, vision, and potential impact of France’s youngest president. Based on interviews with Macron, his staff, scores of politicians (including Macron’s combative right-wing opponent, Marine Le Pen), as well as ordinary French citizens, the author offers an adroit, revealing overview of contemporary France and its dynamic leader. Macron, as Pedder portrays him, is nothing less than extraordinary, with “an ability to think ahead and see the big picture; a capacity to create and exploit opportunities, and take risks; and a determination, bordering on ruthlessness.” Calm, focused, and hardworking, he “knows what he wants, and what he needs to do to get it.” Early in his career, he had his eye on the presidency: He spent two years as adviser to François Hollande and then served another two years as his economy minister. Although positioned “at the heart of the French establishment,” when he mounted his own campaign, he ran as an outsider, a disrupter, whose new party attracted the liberal center. Pedder ascribes his success to his “transgressive personality, an insolent ambition, a calculating visionary mind—and a big splash of luck.” Scandals enveloping some opponents, as well as Le Pen’s disastrous performance in a TV debate, helped to bolster Macron’s image. The author underscores the difference between Macron and his predecessors, Jacques Chirac (“a professional schemer, old-school charmer and political chameleon”), flamboyant Nicolas Sarkozy, and tepid Hollande. She also offers a cleareyed view of Macron’s many challenges, notably the “fracture running through the country, between prosperous and confident metropolitan centres and the drive-past second-tier towns and deserted rural areas.” With only one year’s administration to examine, the author draws on Macron’s campaign promises to delineate his ambitions for addressing problems in education, unemployment, immigration, globalization, and relationships with the rest of Europe and America.

An authoritative analysis of power and politics in contemporary France.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4729-4860-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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