William Drozdiak’s new book “The Last President of Europe” revisits Emmanuel Macron— France’s youngest leader since Napoleon— as he attempts to reshape his country and define France’s place in Europe and the world. The book is a revelatory examination of the global impact of a BC Macron (before coronavirus) and his tumultuous presidency.
A political novice leading a brand new party, in 2017 Emmanuel Macron swept away traditional political forces and emerged as president of France. Almost immediately he realized his task was not only to modernize his country but to save the EU and a crumbling international order. From the decline of NATO, to Russian interference, to the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) protestors, Macron’s term unfolded against a backdrop of social conflict, clashing ambitions, and resurgent big-power rivalries.
In “The Last President of Europe,” William Drozdiak tells with exclusive inside access the story of Macron’s presidency and the political challenges the French leader continues to face. Macron has ridden a wild rollercoaster of success and failure: he has a unique relationship with Donald Trump, a close-up view of the decline of Angela Merkel, and is both the greatest beneficiary from, and victim of, the chaos of Brexit across the Channel. He is fighting his own populist insurrection in France at the same time as he is trying to defend a system of values that once represented the West but is now under assault from all sides. Together these challenges make Macron the most consequential French leader of modern times, and perhaps the last true champion of the European ideal.
William Drozdiak is the former senior editor and foreign correspondent for the Washington Post.. He is the author of “Fractured Continent: Europe’s Crises and the Fate of the West.”