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Hillary Clinton’s debut thriller, or Why Ex-Politicians Write Novels | Culture and lifestyle in Germany and Europe DW

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Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state and US presidential candidate in the 2016 election, presented her debut novel in mid-October, the political thriller State of Terror, which can be translated as “State of Terror” or “State of Terror.” The book was co-written with Canadian writer Louise Penny, the author of popular detective stories in the United States.

The main character of the novel is called Ellen Adams: in the past she was the head of a major media corporation, and now – Secretary of State in the office of the new US President Douglas Williams. With the help of a Lebanese Foreign Ministry staffer and a US-Pakistani journalist, she is to uncover a global terrorist plot involving Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

On the eve of the book’s release, Hillary Clinton wrote on her Twitter page: “This is my first rehearsal of a fiction pen. I wholeheartedly wanted to write this book with my friend and beloved writer Louise Penny, and I can’t wait to see you finally , read “.

Although State of Terror was the first art book written by Hillary Clinton, she is not a newcomer to the writing field: she is the author of several books in the non-fiction genre. The latest was her memoir, What Happened, published in 2017, in which she analyzed the reasons for her defeat in the presidential election, which ended with the victory of Republican Donald Trump. The former US Secretary of State is no exception: many former politicians, after resigning, decide to try themselves in the role of writers. What motivates them to do this?

The desire to leave something to posterity

Jacob Appel, a writer, literary critic and psychiatrist who has studied the mental and physical health of US presidents, notes that political leaders, like other writers, write books because they want to leave something for posterity.

American writer and critic Jacob Appel

“Political fame and fortune are often fleeting, so I can only imagine how attractive the idea is to create a work that will survive the presidential administration or the cabinet,” Appel said. In addition, he adds, politicians are often more concerned with their public heritage than other people, so “writing largely meets their psychological needs.”

The tradition of politicians writing novels dates back to Ignatius Donelli, literary critic Colin Dickey writes in Politico. Donnelly was a congressman from Minnesota in the 1880s and in 1890 wrote the best-selling anti-utopian novel The Caesar’s Column.

Former politicians gravitate to memoirs

The first former US president to write a novel was Jimmy Carter, who in 2003 published the family saga Hornet’s Nest. His example was followed by former US President Bill Clinton: in 2018 the thriller “The President is Missing” was released in the US bestseller list, and this summer another thriller “Daughter of the President” was published. author of detective novels.

A book of memoirs by Mikhail Gorbachev

Memoirs of Mikhail Gorbachev – one of the most famous books written by Russian ex-politicians

Russian ex-politicians also write books, but they mostly prefer the memoir genre. Among the most famous are “Memories” by Nikita Khrushchev and the book “Alone with You” by Mikhail Gorbachev.

Politicians in Germany also gravitate to memoirs. The most successful were the memoirs of former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. They ranked first, third and fourth in the German list of the highest-grossing memoirs of politicians of the first decade of the 21st century. There are almost no authors of fiction novels among German politicians, with the exception of the current co-chair of the Soyuz-90 / Greens, Robert Habeck, who co-published two novels with his wife, Andrea Paluch, in 2001 and 2006. .

Strong politicians, weak novels

However, novels written by politicians do not often become bestsellers: most fail to arouse much interest among readers. “Unfortunately, politicians often believe that their rhetorical talent and ability to lead the country will help them tell an exciting story,” said Jacob Appel.

Some believe that the desire of politicians to write a novel is due to the fact that in the fictional world they have more opportunities to control events than in the real world. Appel disagrees with this hypothesis, but says that thanks to the literary text you can learn a lot about the psychological state of its author.

Literary critic Colin Dickey shares this view. “The way the author builds his fictional universe says a lot about his own worldview,” he says. However, the idea of ​​most novels written by politicians can be reduced to one simple formula: the struggle of good against evil.

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