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In a rambling but informative memoir, the former chancellor of West Germany and ex-mayor of Berlin details his substantial role in the politics of postwar Europe. With its original German edition published in 1989, just prior to reunification, Brandt's account--though more comprehensive than his People and Politics (1978)--loses force given the subsequent transformation of his homeland, even though a preface and postscript have been added to acknowledge the changes. After working tirelessly for the Social Democrats as an observer and journalist while exiled in Scandinavia during the Nazi period, Brandt returned to West Berlin in 1948, rising steadily through the political ranks to become mayor in 1957, foreign minister in 1966, and, ultimately, West Germany's chancellor in 1969. Brandt also remained chairman of the Social Democrats until 1987--despite being forced to resign as head of state in a 1974 spy scandal. That scandal and other historical highlights, such as the building of the Berlin Wall, are discussed at length here, with special attention paid to Brandt's extensive dealings with world leaders, and to his development of a pragmatic politics that enabled his country to find its own voice in East-West affairs and to normalize relations with Soviet-controlled East Germany. Covering a broad spectrum of political events in the postwar period, Brandt's perspective as conveyed through anecdotes and analyses is that of a quintessential insider, but it's also that of a man keenly interested in the future of both his divided nation and the whole of Europe. An ambitious, sometimes lively appraisal of foreign policy and postwar politics.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
Page count: 528pp
Publisher: Viking