Obama fascinates France


It’s always interesting to see which books written by politicians are the quickest to be translated into other languages. Excerpts of Barack Obama’s memoir “Dreams of My Father” were printed in the daily newspaper Le Figaro this week, and according to Katrin Bennhold’s IHT story “Obama grabs spotlight in Europe, too” (March 21 ’08) the French publishing house Presses de la Cite has just released Obama’s memoir in French.

Last summer, I read and reviewed Nicolas Sarkozy’s memoir, Testimony, in English. (A friend lent the book to me during our visit in Saipan). I am always interested to see how a politician expresses his or her thoughts in written form. Nowadays, just as in speech writing, we never know how much ‘coaching’ is involved in the writing process, but the act of putting one’s name on the book is already a statement in itself.

I agree with IHT’s Benhold that if you were in France just a year ago, Hillary Clinton was the first name to come up in conversation. This year, things are different. Obama’s name comes up first, Hillary Clinton second – and McCain’s name has been mentioned, although not to the same degree.

Do the same qualities that make a politician’s memoir marketable also make him or her the best choice for the presidency?
And what are the criteria to decide if a memoir has universal appeal?

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When one decides to vote for the leader of one’s country, should one concern be how that leader is viewed not only within the country but by the entire world?

These are questions – for your consideration.

Translated into French:
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Could not find translated in French:
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