Becoming Madam Chancellor. Joyce Marie Mushaben

3 stars for Becoming Madam Chancellor: Angela Merkel and the Berlin Republic.

Reading this biography taught me a lot and I found it an interesting if slow read but in all honesty I think its target audience is people who start off with a lot more knowledge of German politics than I possess. I found this book to be as much about Germany as about Angela Merkel. Yes, I see *now* that the clue is in the title which focuses on Angela Merkel’s job title as Madam Chancellor. I picked up this book in hopes of finding out a bit more about Merkel, and I have. What I didn’t bargain for was reading so much about Germany’s relationship with Israel, Russia, the EU, NATO etc and that much analysis would go back to before Merkel was born (in 1954, as I now know). There is a lot of emphasis on German re-unification after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and on the fact that Merkel was brought up in communist East Germany, daughter of a Lutheran pastor. I’d guess that ‘pastor’s daughter’ might be one of the most repeated phrases in the book.

I enjoyed reading about Merkel’s professional relationships with other world leaders such as Putin. I feel increased admiration for Germany’s chancellor and I now know a few more facts about her: for example, she has no children, she is afraid of dogs having been ‘seriously bitten twice’, and we are told her favourite colour is green and she likes Russian literature. But I don’t feel that I have learned nearly as much about her as I would have liked, and that I have read more about German politics than I have understood! This is not the author’s fault, the fault lies with me for not picking a lighter biography. Perhaps the three star rating reflects as much on me as on this book.

I received this ebook free from NetGalley, which gives a publication date of 10 August 2017.



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