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A Life
Simone Veil, the former French politician who became first President of the European Union, was born Simone Jacob in 1927. In A Life she describes in vivid detail a childhood of happiness and innocence spent in Nice that came to an abrupt end in 1944 when, at the age of 17, she was deported with her family to concentration camps. Her mother, father and brother all died in captivity. On her return to France Veil studied law and political science, later becoming Minister for Health (1974- 1979) in the government of Jacques Chirac. It was there that she fought to introduce the law legalizing abortion. She was elected the first female President of the European Parliament (1979-1985) and returned to French government as Minister for Social Affairs (1993-1995). Simone Veil was of France’s most beloved public figures and was admired for her personal and political courage. This memoir is a sincere and candid account of an extraordinary life and career, reflecting both Simone Veil’s humanity and her determination to improve social standards at home and maintain economic and political stability in Europe.
 

 

Simone Veil, a former French politician, was born Simone Jacob in 1927. She was deported with her family to the concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen, her mother, father and brother all dying in captivity. After the war she studied law and political science and became Minister for Health (1974–1979) in the government of Jacques Chirac, where she fought to legalise abortion. She was elected the first President of the European Parliament (1979 –1985) and later returned to domestic government as Minister for Social Affairs, a position she held until 1995. She was elected to the French Academy in November 2008 and died in June 2017.

 
 

Reviews and Endorsements:

 

‘[Simone Veil is] the best of what France can achieve.’ — Emmanuel Macron

 

'Simone Veil went through history and made history. Having known hell, she was committed to advancing the law and building Europe.’ —Francois Hollande

 

'Her own rise from a former deportee to the head of the European Parliament was a potent symbol of sought-after peace.’ —New York Times (online)

 
 

‘This is a riveting memoir by an extraordinary woman. With exemplary forthrightness, Simone Veil charts her trajectory from her pre-war childhood in a secular Jewish family in Nice, through the misery of her year in Auschwitz and into the cut and thrust of French and European politics… This document of a life is also a compact history of post-war France.’ - Lisa Appignanesi

 

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