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Angela Merkel: A Chancellorship Forged in Crisis


Angela Merkel was already unique when she became German chancellor: the first female leader of Europe’s biggest economy, the first from former communist East Germany and the first born after World War II. Since 2010, the debt crisis that spread from Greece to the euro region and the world economy has propelled her to center-stage, making Merkel the dominant politician in the struggle to preserve Europe’s economic model and its single currency. Yet the Protestant pastor’s daughter is often viewed as enigmatic and hard-to-predict, a misreading that took hold as she resisted global pressure for grand gestures to counter the crisis. Having turned the fall of the Berlin Wall to her advantage, Merkel is trying to get history on her side again after reaching the fundamental decision to save the euro, the crowning achievement of post-war European unity. Merkel has brought Europe to a crossroads. Germany’s economic might gives her unprecedented power to set the direction for the European Union’s 500 million people. What’s at stake is whether she will persuade them to follow the German lead.

Angela Merkel: A Chancellorship Forged in Crisis is the definitive new biography of the world’s most powerful woman. Delving into Merkel’s past, the authors explain the motives behind her drive to remake Europe for the age of globalization, her economic role models and the experiences under communism that color her decisions. For the first time in English, Merkel is fully placed in her European context. Through exclusive interviews with leading policy makers and Merkel confidants, the book reveals the behind-the-scenes drama of the crisis that came to dominate her chancellorship, her prickly relationship with the U.S. and admiration for Eastern Europe. Written by two long-standing Merkel watchers, the book documents how her decisions and vision - both works in progress - are shaping a pivotal moment in European history.

“This is a most interesting read of how Angela Merkel has dealt with the Euro crisis, reflecting on her own unique upbringing and background, and how it may have influenced her decisions. An important read for anyone trying to understand the German leadership through the crisis.”
--Jim O’Neill, Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management (coined the term BRICs to describe the group of major emerging nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China)

Alan Crawford joined Bloomberg News as German government editor in January 2006, six weeks after Merkel was sworn in, and steered coverage of her first and second terms as her global importance grew. He lived in Warsaw and Prague after the fall of the Berlin Wall and has reported from across Europe. He previously worked on the Scotsman and the Sunday Herald in Glasgow and in Edinburgh as Highland, political and special correspondent.

Tony Czuczka is an American foreign correspondent who joined Bloomberg News in 2009 as the political correspondent covering Chancellor Merkel, her re-election and the eruption of the European debt crisis. For the past four years, he has had access to Merkel granted to only a handful of foreign reporters, from invitation-only gatherings where she displays rare flashes of humor to major global conferences that expose the strains of leadership. He previously worked for The Associated Press in Europe and the U.S.

Acknowledgements vii

Chapter 1 Exodus (Merkel’s Journey) 1

Chapter 2 Revelation (Five Minutes to Midnight) 7

Chapter 3 Genesis (Eastern Roots) 23

Chapter 4 Numbers (Germany’s Subprime Scandal) 41

Chapter 5 Job (Greece as Euro’s Nemesis) 59

Chapter 6 Lamentations (Safe European Home?) 75

Chapter 7 Joshua (Merkel and the U.S.) 95

Chapter 8 Judges (German Model) 113

Chapter 9 Kings (Merkel’s Contemporaries) 131

Chapter 10 Apostles (How She Works) 147

Chapter 11 Proverbs (Where To?) 163

Chapter 12 Chronicles 181

Appendix - Photo credits 193

Bibliography 195

Index 199