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Sarkozy book

Sarkozy’s lockdown book 'for the French' tells it his way

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
3 min

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy used his time in lockdown to reflect on the eventful early years of his presidency. His new book "Le temps des tempêtes" hits the bookstands today.


The former president wrote "Le temps des tempêtes" (Stormy times) in Cap Nègre on the Côte d’Azur where he and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy spent the lockdown period.

His last book “Passions” was a huge success in bookstores, selling out within weeks of its publication last June.

This new 500-page work is highly personal. “I did not write this for historians but for people”, he told the Figaro newspaper, explaining that he tried to keep the reader interested throughout, as with his favourite TV series.

It includes sometimes unfavourable descriptions of numerous French political personalities as well as praise for others. International figures feature too, such as Angela Merkel and Prince Charles.

Sarkozy says he tried to give an account of moments and events through what he felt, and the details which had stayed in his mind. “For me, these are not sterile memories, not analyses … it is much more my personal take on events”.

“I didn’t have a plan”, he told the newspaper, “what I remember, I think, is also what other people have remembered.”  

'What I did and who I am'

Among the things people have remembered are some outbursts of emotion and overly familiar language.

When a man refused to shake his hand at the Paris agricultural fair in February 2008 he lashed out with a fiery "Casse-toi, pauvre con" (Sod off, you prat). The video went viral. 

“It’s important to look back on events which were controversial, like Le Guilvinec”, he says, referring to an incident when he was insulted from a balcony and booed on a visit to a Breton fishing town in 2007. Using the familiar "tu" form, he shouted up at the man on the balcony to come down and say it to his face.

Looking back, Sarkozy doesn’t claim to have reacted well but says his response was “real”.

I want people to understand what I did and who I am, Sarkozy tells the newspaper.

“Everyone around me feared that I would not behave in a presidential way but my fear was that I would become less human, that I would become the sort of person who no longer expresses themselves or feels anything.”

Sarkozy says the book is in no way part of a political comeback, and says he really doesn’t miss campaigning. “No one believes me”, he adds, “but it’s the truth.”



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