Inside the Mind of Marine Le Pen

February 2018 9781849049344 232pp


What drives Marine Le Pen and France’s Front National? Has her party really changed its ways, or is she merely rebranding its old ideas and policies for a new era?

In the age of Brexit and Trump, France too has seen a growing audience for identity-based politics. Under ‘Marine’, the FN is enjoying unprecedented success. But what’s her secret?

This is a probing investigation into the philosophy of Marine Le Pen’s FN. It seeks answers in her speeches, in the history of French nationalism and in revealing interviews with those on the far right–including Jean-Marie Le Pen himself.

Michel Eltchaninoff exposes a vision of France tyrannised by liberalism and seduced by the offer of an uncompromising alternative: a Republic ‘beyond Left and Right’, defined by its enemies and aligned with Putin’s Russia. Whatever Marine Le Pen is thinking, she has not forgotten the FN’s roots. The French far right is now stronger than ever.



‘Michel Eltchaninoff’s task is . . . an important and urgent one: to subject Le Pen’s words to rigorous analysis, exposing their true meaning. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that the leopard has not changed its spots.’  The Guardian

‘Drawing on interviews with many of the politicians and thinkers . . . close to . . . Le Pen [Eltchaninoff] . . . . persuasively show[s] how ideas that have shaped the culture [of Le Pen] have in turn shaped [her].’ — The Financial Times

‘As President Macron tries to save the Eurozone and stabilise the continent, he faces no greater challenge than Marine Le Pen’s Front National. This brilliant and carefully argued book shows how despite her efforts to project a more “acceptable” face the party remains the bastion of an anti-globalist, anti-capitalist, xenophobic, anti-European right which continues to borrow from classic anti-semitic tropes.’ — Brendan Simms, Professor of the History of International Relations, University of Cambridge, and author of Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy, 1453 to the Present

‘This book will be of great interest to English readers. It says much about an important, and oddly neglected, political figure but Eltchaninoff also ranges more widely — introducing a range of figures who are influential in the Front National and the intellectual traditions to which they refer.’ — Richard Vinen, Professor of History, King’s College London, and author of The Unfree French: Life Under Occupation

‘In painting a vivid portrayal of the ideas that have shaped Marine Le Pen, Michel Eltchaninoff makes a big contribution to one of the most urgent undertakings of this political moment: to understand the authoritarian populists who are gaining more and more power across North America and Western Europe. An important book that is as engrossing as it is erudite.’ — Yascha Mounk, author of The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It

‘There is no point in demonising Marine Le Pen. Instead we must understand the path she has beaten between the liberal right, which has abandoned traditional Gaullism, and the left, which has forgotten about those left behind. Eltchaninoff picks apart her writings, interviews and TV appearances to do just that.’ — Liberation

‘Marine Le Pen has changed the face of the FN. But Michel Eltchaninoff demonstrates with a sharp pen and a clear-eyed gaze that she hasn’t broken with any of the four pillars of the far right: the land, the people, life and myth. She has dusted them off.’ — Marianne


Michel Eltchaninoff is Editor-in-Chief of Philosophie magazine and a former lecturer in philosophy at the University of Burgundy and Pantheon-Sorbonne University. His Inside the Mind of Vladimir Putin won the Prix de La Revue des Deux Mondes in its original French edition.

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