George Packer (Togo 1982-83) and The Quiet German

The current issue of The New Yorker (December1, 2014) carries a long, long piece by George Packer (Togo 1982-83) entitled “The Quiet German” that focuses on Angela Merkel, who Packer calls, “the most powerful woman in the world.” Packer, who has been a staff writer for magazine since 2003, last spring was an Axel Springer Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. Merkel, who George writes, gives few interviews and almost always to German publications, and all anodyne, declined to speak to him. That said, this is a fascinating account of Merkel, and comes with a page of ‘head shots’ of the woman done by Herlinde Koelbl who has been photographing Merkel since 1991. Koelbl was one of many people that Packer interviewed for this article. Merkel might not have much to say, but she does, it seems, like to have her photo taken, though Packer reports Koelbl said, “Merkel has always been a ‘bit awkward,’ but you could feel her strength at the beginning.”

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