Along with Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, and Francois
Mitterand, Jacques Chirac is one of the most iconic statesmen of the twentieth
century. Two-time president of France, mayor of Paris, and international
politician, a recent poll voted him the most admired political figure in
France, with current president Nicolas Sarkozy ranking in 32nd place. This
memoir covers the full scope of Chirac’s political career of more than 50 years
and includes the last century’s most significant events.
A protégé of General de Gaulle, Chirac started political life
after France’s defeat in Algeria in the early 1960s. He then became Prime
Minister George de Pompidou’s “bulldozer” and a personal negotiator with Saddam
Hussein for France’s oil interests in the Persian Gulf. He sold Iraq its first
nuclear reactor and incurred the wrath of the United States and Israel, which he
discusses in striking detail.
As mayor of Paris, Chirac was famed for his success in
beautifying the City of Lights and keeping it whole during the heady days of
the 1968 riots. As president in the 1990s and early 2000s, Chirac took
controversial steps to privatize the economy and plan the European Union.
Chirac seldom pulls punches and in several dramatic chapters describes his
opposition to the US invasion of Iraq in 2002 and his personal meetings with
George W. Bush. These landmark events are brought into sharp focus in this
memoir the popular French magazine Paris Match said “steals the show”
even after its author decamped the presidential palace.
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