Angela Merkel has transformed German and European politics. Her achievements at home and abroad have seen her top Forbes' most powerful women list ten times and she is still going strong after over ten years in office- yet she may also be the least understood ruler in the world. Her government's hard approach to the crisis in Greece has seen her receive mass criticism worldwide and could well determine the future of the European Union.
Based on more than ten years' of study and original archival research (including from the Stasi-archives in Berlin), Matthew Qvortrup gives an account of the cultural, historical and political influences that shaped the life of this incredible woman, combining the narrative of Merkel's life with a lively account of the history of Germany from 1945 to the present day. How did she - a trained scientist with absolutely no political experience - succeed in becoming the first female leader of a German political party, unseating her patron Helmut Kohl?
How do she and her staff of mostly female advisors repeatedly outsmart the old boys network of conservative male politicians in Germany?
As one of the architects of the harsh gospel of austerity-politics, as the guarantor of stability in the Euro-zone, and latterly chief negotiator over the future of Eastern Ukraine, understanding Merkel is essential for anyone interested in current affairs. With a UK referendum on the way and her stance on debt relief and Greece, could she end up destroying the European Union?
'Qvortrup's useful biography reads sometimes like an Icelandic saga' Times 'This eye-opening biography, drawing from rich behind-the-scenes knowledge, is necessary reading' Kirkus Starred Review 'Sympathetic, engaging, and informative... Qvortrup's highly readable prose leads one on a dramatic, whirlwind tour of a history that is still unfolding before us' Aviel Roshwald, Professor of History, Georgetown University
Matthew Qvortrup is Professor of Political Science at Coventry University. Described by the BBC as 'the world's leading authority on referendums', Qvortrup has published extensively on European politics and history. He has appeared as an expert for BBC, and worked as a consultant for the US State Department. He lives in London.