Testimony: The English Version of the Bestselling Temoignage Hardcover – 19 Jan 2007
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Nicolas Sarkozy is France's Minister of the Interior and the head of the French conservative party. He is one of the leading candidates for the 2007 French presidential elections.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Sarkozy's opponent, Segolene Royale, should have won the French Presidential election and become the first woman President of France. After all, the center-right had held the French Presidency for 12 years. The incumbent President was tired and unpopular. In a normal year the outcome would have been obvious. The opposition left should have won.
Two things stopped the left: an idea and a man.
The man: Nicolas Sarkozy. The idea: France needed profound fundamental change and the left was the party of reactionary defense of a failing old order.
The scale of the French challenge is stated bluntly by the then candidate and now President of France: "I am convinced that the French now want their leaders quickly to undertake reforms that will make it possible to encourage work, improve education, make government more effective, better integrate minorities and restore France's full global role."
Using a web-based campaign to avoid the filter of the French media, Sarkozy hammered away for three years on the need for change. He distinguished himself from President Chirac and in the end it was Sarkozy who stood for a new future while the socialist Royale was defending the reactionary past.
Ironically, Sarkozy has more faith in American reform and renewal than do American politicians and commentators. He asserts: "Beyond all these characteristics of American society, what I admire most is its capacity to recognize its own weakness and to start correcting them right away. America's strength is that it was able, in each case, to identify its own weaknesses, and decide together as a society to remedy them, and then to take action without useless nostalgia about the past."
Every Presidential candidate should read Testimony to have a better understanding of the scale of leadership that is possible.
And every American citizen should read Testimony to have an understanding of what they should demand from the candidates in 2008 and expect from them in 2009.
Nicolas Sarkozy is a unique French politician as he is the first pro-American one ever. Also, he is most critical of France on most counts. And, he views himself as a positive agent of change that will change France's course. This renders this book unique in the history of French politics. Such an unabashed pro-American tack has never been undertaken by any other French politician.
In foreign policy, he observes that France main identity is one of anti-Americanism at every turn to present a counter force to American hegemony. He does not see this position as serving France's own interest over the long term. This antagonism for one thing has rendered the UN Security Council completely dysfunctional. It has also impaired many other supranational institutions such as NATO. Thus, his book is part of his political effort to reduce the political distance between the two countries. If the future French President can be pro-American at a time when our current administration is most unpopular both domestically and overseas since Nixon's, it bodes extremely well for the prospect of Franco-American relations.
Culturally, he feels France has been too obsessed about protecting its own language. Instead, he feels it is critical for the French to all become more fluent in English so as to more readily adopt technologies associated with this language. He recognizes that English (and not French) has become the de facto Esperanto of commerce, technology, and science. And, he feels French citizen should take this opportunity to participate in all the mentioned domains more actively by accepting this fact instead of becoming more isolated from the rest of the World.
Sarkozy considers France to be in a fiscal mess. France flavor of socialism (very high tax rates, even higher social entitlements and government expenditures resulting in large chronic deficits) is not sustainable. Mixed with a rapidly aging society, France has a fiscal social entitlement problem that makes the U.S. counterparts (Social Security, Medicare) look like a fiscal walk on the beach. Indeed, social entitlements grab a significantly larger portion of tax revenues and GDP in France than they do in the U.S. As a result, Sarkozy feels that France economic climate has really hurt business, and more specifically job creation. He has a point. Job creation has been very weak for decades. Similarly, the unemployment rate has remained stuck between 8.5% and 12% for decades. In France, you have more economic incentives (overly generous unemployment compensation) to remain unemployed vs working. Businesses have very strong incentives not to hire people (nearly impossible to let go of employees). Sarkozy wants to change all that by reducing tax rates, reducing unemployment benefits, and reducing labor law restrictions such as the 35 hour work week limit (the lowest on the planet).
Sarkozy's ambition and political vision remind one of Margaret Thatcher in the eighties. Will he be as successful as she was? Can the French truly be steered in a pro-American, pro-business, anti-socialist fashion? Sarkozy's political challenges are immense because the French are so much more entrenched in their views than the Brits were at the time. Although Thatcher's political steering was remarkable it was not impossible.
Is Sarkozy setting himself up for an impossible mission guaranteeing his failure? There is a good possibility of that. But, there is no question that he really gets what the 21st century challenges are. He is ready to tackle those head on. Whether the French are ready remains to be seen.
He has written a unique, courageous, and iconoclastic book. He now has his manifesto in hand. His implementation will tell whether history remembers him as France's turning point or forgets him as just another failed French politician.
- The State can't do for you what you're not willing to do for yourself. Pg. 136
- France must again become the homeland for work, merit, responsibility, and fraternity. It must be the country where social advancement is possible, encouraged and desired by all. Page 74
Sarkozy's willingness to admit to certain problems in France and then suggest practical fixes is refreshing. While not at the level of detail as Newt Gingrich's book "Winning the Future" it is similar in that it highlights problems and presents solutions regarding his particular country's state. While some of his solutions don't have a lot of concrete substance around them, I don't necessarily think that was the point of this particular book.
I encountered many issues that parallel our issues in the U.S., such as education, a cradle to grave benefit society and health care to name a few. I find it fascinating that the U.S. is running towards enacting many of the social dependency programs that France and the rest of Europe are starting to run away from because of the inability to afford them and the inferior programs that governments minister.
I think "Testimony" is a worthy book to read to get a glimpse of what the leader of an important European country is thinking. It will be interesting to watch how his administration progresses.
However, bearing this in mind and with access to Google nearby, one can get over this minor inconvenience.
`Testimony' is an extremely rich insight into M Sarkozy's mind and he shows a devotion to, and tenacity for, change that France desperately needs. I was in France at the time of his election to President and collected a copy of his manifesto - it is essentially a précis of the book. If he can enact even a small percentage of what he hopes to do, France will become a major player again on the world scene.
He rightly trashes the Socialist Party's nitwit ideas on the 35 hour week, sky-high minimum wages and the like - those that made the rest of the world laugh but at the same time he advocates an inclusive society where all members of parliament, whatever their political colour, are brought into the decision making process.
Almost everything in the world of politics is discussed in his book together with his ideas on their reform - internal affairs, foreign affairs, social security, pensions, tax, state employees, justice - the list is exhaustive. He touches on his private life, his religious views, immigration (he's the son of a Hungarian immigrant) and emigration of the young to the UK. London, he informs us, is the seventh biggest French city.
It is difficult for a Frenchman to argue for his language. He has a go, but not very conclusively. But he does have the good grace to admit that English has become the de facto world language and that rather than taking umbrage at this, one might as well accept it and get on with life.
All this sounds like a man with a great future. It is difficult to read this exciting book and not end up agreeing with everything he says. If he does what he says he wants to do in the book, the future looks bleak for the French Socialist Party and even more so for the Trotsky and other irrelevancies of the left.
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Biography > Historical > 1901 Onwards
- Books > Biography > Historical > Countries & Regions > Europe
- Books > Biography > Historical > Countries & Regions > France
- Books > Biography > Political > Countries & Regions
- Books > Biography > Political > Political Leaders & Leadership
- Books > History > Britain & Ireland > Edwardian and Early 20th Century 1901-1913
- Books > History > Britain & Ireland > Inter-war Period 1919-1938
- Books > History > Essays, Journals, Letters & True Accounts > 20th Century
- Books > History > Europe > Early 20th Century 1901-1913
- Books > History > Europe > France
- Books > History > Europe > Inter-war Period 1919-1938
- Books > History > North America > Early 20th Century 1901-1913
- Books > History > North America > Inter-war Period 1919-1938
- Books > History > Political History > Politicians
- Books > History > World History > 1901-1913
- Books > History > World History > Inter-war Period 1919-1938
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Government & Politics > Political Science & Ideology > Political Science