He emerged from nowhere to seize the presidency, defeat populism and upend French party politics. Who is Emmanuel Macron? How far can he really change France?
In Revolution Francaise, Sophie Pedder examines the first year in office of France's youngest and most exciting president in modern times, with unique perspective from her time as head of The Economist's Paris bureau. President Emmanuel Macron's vision for France is far more radical than many realise. His remarkable ascent from obscurity to the presidency is both a dramatic story of personal ambition and the tale of a wounded once-proud country in deep need of renewal. What shaped this enigmatic character, the precociously bright student and talented networker from northern France; the philosophy graduate and Rothschild banker who married his school drama teacher? How did a political outsider manage to defy the unwritten rules of the Fifth Republic and secure the presidency at his first attempt? And what are the underlying ideas behind his vision?
This book chronicles Macron's remarkable rise from independent outsider to the Elysee Palace, situating the achievement in a broader context: France's slide into self-doubt, political gridlock and a seeming reluctance to embrace change; the roots of populism and discontent; the fractures caused by globalisation and the Le Pen factor. Looking back on the young president's dramatic first year in power, with analysis of his key reforms and lofty ambitions, it asks how far it is possible for Macron to reinvent a conservative nation uneasy about embracing the future. Can the man nicknamed `Jupiter' really return France to its former greatness, or will he, by the time his mandate expires, end up as just another side note in political history? Punctuated with first-hand conversations and reporting, this book takes on all of these questions, concluding with a fascinating and exclusive interview with Macron recorded in early 2018. Pedder's riveting, and essential, book will be one of the most captivating political books of this year.
Sophie Pedder has been Paris Bureau Chief of The Economist since 2003. She has interviewed Emmanuel Macron on numerous occasions since 2012, and followed him closely during the 2017 election campaign, securing notebooks of first-hand material on which this book is based. An award-winning journalist, she appears regularly to comment on French politics on CNN, the BBC and other media.