Angela Merkel: A Chancellorship Forged in Crisis. By Alan Crawford and Tony Czuczka. Wiley/Bloomberg. 240 pages. $19.
Margaret Thatcher From Grantham to the Falklands. By Charles Moore. Alfred Knopf. 859 pages. $35.
In the procession of mostly colorless men who have crossed the European political stage since the demise of Charles de Gaulle and the last of the World War II giants 44 years ago, two women have come to overshadow them all. The first was Margaret Thatcher, easily the most consequential British leader of the last half of the 20th century. And now, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose thumbs up or down to any European fiscal, monetary or banking project is the 21st century equivalent to Nero's hand signals to whet or sate the appetite of lions in the Coliseum.