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 that the popular French magazine Paris Match said "steals the show" even after its author decamped the presidential palace.
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