MixedThe London Review of BooksAs Sophie Pedder, the Paris bureau chief of the Economist, writes in her panegyric on Macron’s rise to power, no poll even bothered to test his presidential chances a year before the election: ‘his hopes of building a political movement capable of taking on the existing party machines...looked like a far-fetched fantasy\' ... In a chapter devoted to ‘his guiding ideology,\' Pedder finds ‘a narrative built upon solidarity as well as opportunity,’ an effort to strike ‘a new balance between liberty and protection, in which an enabling state becomes a tool for individual advancement.’ This view privileges Macron’s words over his deeds. When one turns from the professed philosophy to the policies, what is left of Macron’s self-proclaimed ‘progressivism’? ... Macron’s ‘idea of Europe,’ which Pedder praises as ‘grandiose, historically sweeping, overly intellectual, stylistically extravagant, baffling, but also admirable,’ seems at odds with his actions. Not only has he failed to relieve the pressure on southern European countries...but he seems to be facilitating the rise of an axis of hardliners, which now includes the interior ministries of Italy, Austria and Germany.