A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me
by Condoleezza Rice
(Click for Amazon book review)
BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
This book is Condi Rice's autobiography up until the point where she joined the George W. Bush administration. She stops the book there because her other book, No Higher Honor, a Memoir of My Years in Washington, starts at that point. This book was written in 2012, and the Washington book was written in 2011. In other words, they're a pair; this book might be called "Volume 1: The Early Years" while No Higher Honor could be called "Volume 2: The White House Years".
Actually, Condi served in the George H. W. Bush administration also, and details it in this book. She also details her time at Stanford University, as professor and then as provost, And of course she details her childhood in "Bombingham" (segregated Birmingham Alabama in the 1960s) and in Denver after that: her time in both regions focused on piano (she trained as a classical pianist); ice skating (she trained as a figure skater); and how she came to study Russia.
Speculation about Condi on the Internet is rife with conspiracy theories that she is lesbian. Those theories focus primarily on the fact that she never married and never had children: in other words, any career-focused woman is subject to the same speculation. Condi unambiguously denies all such speculation, in that uniquely-Condi manner: by never saying a word about the speculation, but simply demonstrating its falsity. She dated the captain of her college hockey team (p. 168); two different college football players (p. 174; Condi is a lifelong football fan); she hoped to marry another football player later (p. 178); but just never got around to getting married.
This book satisfies everything that every reader wants to know about Condi. Not heavy on policy stances, but heavy on formative experiences and personal anecdotes. There are no hints here that Condi has a hidden burning desire to run for office, which she has confirmed whenever asked; if Condi has a political future, it will be as an appointee, not as an elected official.
-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, May 2013
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Charles Rangel: Spoke at Condi Rice's southern church in 1960s.
Condoleezza Rice: I would rather be ignored than patronized.
Condoleezza Rice: Scars of slavery include black preoccupation with skin color.
Condoleezza Rice: Participated in 1962 Alabama anti-segregation boycott.
Condoleezza Rice: First black in Birmingham-Southern conservatory of music.
Condoleezza Rice: On racist IQ theory: "I'm better in white culture than you".
Condoleezza Rice: Fierce defender of affirmative action.
Condoleezza Rice: 1985: First woman on grounds of Japan's military academy.
Condoleezza Rice: Supporter of affirmative action, if done in the right way.
Condoleezza Rice: Affirmative action: look for prospects in minority places.
Donald Rumsfeld: In 1960s Congress, supported LBJ in ending segregation.
John F. Kennedy: Promised to end segregation; LBJ fulfilled promise.
Lyndon Johnson: Southern blacks reacted with fear when LBJ became president.
Condoleezza Rice: Grandfather funded Rice Schools from rich white community.
Condoleezza Rice: Ad hoc participant in homeschooling in 1960s.
Condoleezza Rice: Suspicious of the predictive power of standardized tests.
Condoleezza Rice: Center for a New Generation: reduce poverty in E. Palo Alto.
Condoleezza Rice: Castro should pay for '62 Cuban Missile Crisis until he dies.
Condoleezza Rice: Joined Republican Party when Carter boycotted 1980 Olympics.
Condoleezza Rice: Berlin Wall fell thanks to bureaucratic screw-up.
George Bush Sr.: Measured response to Berlin Wall to avoid alarming Soviets.
George Bush Sr.: 1991: Met with Yeltsin but avoided embarrassing Gorbachev.
Jimmy Carter: Boycotted 1980 Olympics in response to USSR Afghan invasion.
Ronald Reagan: Came to office determined to challenge Soviet power.
Condoleezza Rice: Right to bear arms comes from fear of the government.
Condoleezza Rice: Mother's 1970 cancer became a constant unwelcome presence.
Condoleezza Rice: 1989: NSC disastrously over-involved with Iran-Contra affair.
Principles & Values|
Condoleezza Rice: Named after musical term "con dolcezza" or "with sweetness".
Condoleezza Rice: Two white great-grandfathers, one on each side of family.
Condoleezza Rice: Grandmother gave Condi piano lessons starting at age 3.
Condoleezza Rice: Father brought 1960s black radicals to dinner table.
Condoleezza Rice: 1986: Suffered myomectomy surgery for uterine fibroids.
George Bush Sr.: Sent notes to foreign leaders to build relationships.
Ronald Reagan: Stanford University rejected Reagan presidential library.
Condoleezza Rice: Few blacks on TV until 1962.
War & Peace|
George Bush Sr.: 1989: Visit Eastern Europe to signal US support.
The above quotations are from A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me
by Condoleezza Rice.
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