sarkosy testifies


It’s truly a French specialty. I do not know a ranking French politician who has not considered at one time or another writing and publishing a book, one with ideological and often even literary ambitions, as an essential rite of passage in his or her career.

Is it the prestige, more acute in France than elsewhere, accompanying the creation of a book, a real book, and not merely a political platform?

Is it the link between the pen and the sword, between politics and literature, which has been particularly close ever since the Encyclopedists and the French Revolution?

Could it be because of writers who, like Chateaubriand, dreamed of being in the cabinet? Or those who, like Malraux, wanted to be renowned for their use of arms as much as for the books they wrote? Or could it be the opposite, Stendhal’s syndrome of lamenting the battle of Waterloo, since because of it he missed by a few days being named prefect of Le Mans?

more from the NYT Book Review here.