The idea for this book was hatched during a European Union summit in Brussels, but it was in a bar adjacent to the former U.S. Embassy building in Berlin that the opportunity to write it first became reality. After nearly three years of turmoil, the story of Angela Merkel and Europe’s debt crisis had reached critical mass. As our colleague John Fraher, one of Bloomberg’s managing editors, put it: The planets had aligned and now was the time to grasp our chance. Within two days we were at our writing desks, suddenly realizing the magnitude of the project.

We set about it armed with our own reporting from across Europe before and during the crisis; we re-examined speeches, trawled through public comments, mined archives and interviewed ...

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