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Madam Secretary: A Memoir


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Madeleine Albright, born in Prague, was confirmed as the 64th secretary of state in 1997. Her distinguished career in government includes positions in the National Security Council, as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and on Capitol Hill. She lives in Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Bill Woodward is a foreign policy specialist who has written for John Kerry and Michael Dukakis. He lives on Capitol Hill.


Albright, as Secretary of State the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States, recounts her life as a refugee fleeing the Nazis and then the Communists; as a new immigrant to the United States at age 11; her marriage into the prominent Guggenheim family and her painful divorce; and the life-altering discovery of her Jewish heritage. She also illuminates her remarkable public persona and her friendships and battles with world leaders such as Vaclav Havel, Vladimir Putin, Slobodan Milosevic, Hillary Clinton, and Kim Jong-il. Albright narrates her book in a strong, clear, and convincing voice. Recommended for public and academic libraries and for patrons with a strong interest in politics and world affairs.-Ilka Gordon, Marcell Community Lib., Cleveland Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

As one might expect from someone with Albright's resume, the former Secretary of State speaks clearly, makes her points succinctly and doesn't stray into speculation, fancy or whimsy. She begins with her childhood in an intellectual Czechoslovakian family and moves fairly quickly through her education, courtship, marriage and motherhood before arriving at what can be considered the guts of the story-her impressive period of service as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and, eventually, as Secretary of State. Her no-nonsense tone is a perfect match for the material, her voice at once serious and warmly maternal. There are a few times when emotion seeps into her voice: when discussing her heated run-ins with Colin Powell or when relating details of the Kenyan embassy bombings and mass graves in Bosnia. An early passage in which she tells of the poor health of her twin babies and how she didn't want to name them until she knew they would survive is particularly moving. Such moments are necessarily rare in a memoir of this nature, but they help paint a well-rounded picture of this remarkable lady. Simultaneous release with the Miramax hardcover (Forecasts, Sept. 15). (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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