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Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life Hardcover – November 3, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (November 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399153241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399153242
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,055,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A charismatic politician with a standout résumé, in 2008 Governor Richardson may become the first Hispanic-American on a presidential ticket—at least if he has anything to say about it. In this campaign pamphlet, er, autobiography, Richardson lays out the highlights of his professional career, documenting how, after gaining a taste for politics in college and finaglinghis way into the international affairs program at the Fletcher School, he worked his way up from Capitol Hill staffer to U.S. congressman, United Nations ambassador, head of the Department of Energy and now governor of New Mexico. Along the way, he developed a knack for negotiating the release of prisoners from some of the world's most notorious dictators, among them Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro, work that led him to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times. Richardson prefaces his account of these triumphs with a short chapter on his life in Mexico City, where he lived with his father, a prominent American businessman, and his mother, a Mexican secretary, until he was 12, but the focus of this book is his life in America. Though the autobiography is clearly designed as part of Richardson's long-term campaign for re-election in New Mexico and for national consideration by the DNC, it manages to provide a sense of his most famous characteristics: his blunt, disarming humor; his glad-handing chumminess; and his dogged ambition. "Some politicians say they feel uncomfortable talking about power, as if it's the nasty relation a family wants to keep hidden from public view," he writes. Richardson isn't one of those politicians, and it's his straight talk about how he got the power he has, and how he likes to flex it, that saves this book from being one long commercial. 16-page b&w photo insert not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Richardson, governor of New Mexico, is widely considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. The son of an American businessman father and a Mexican mother, raised in Mexico City and educated in a New England prep school and an East Coast college, Richardson has the multicultural background--and political savvy--to garner wide appeal. After six years on Capitol Hill, he headed to New Mexico to establish himself in local politics with an eye toward running for national office. Seen as a carpetbagger, Richardson had to prove himself to the local political patrons, and relates the long, arduous, and contentious climb up the ladder to the governorship. Along the way, he parlayed his background, interest in international affairs, and considerable negotiating skills into a variety of positions and assignments, including U.S. Congressman, cabinet member, and UN ambassador. Nominated four times for the Nobel Prize, Richardson has had a hand in dealing with terrorism, energy policy, and foreign relations. Some might view his fast-paced autobiography as the opening round in a political campaign. Given Richardson's star power among the Democrats, readers interested in national politics and the landscape for future presidential prospects will find this book interesting reading. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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If he decides to run, the book will certainly be ready for more chapters.
Salim Walji
Anyone interested in well written memoirs, interaction of two cultures, political insight and experience will like this.
loretta
Richardson also provides us with a glimpse of his time as secretary of Energy in the Clinton administration.
Eric Hobart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rob Wilcox on November 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
It is no secret that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is looking to run for the Democratic Presidential Nomination in 2008. When you read his memoir "Between Worlds: The Making of An American Life," you understand the drive, commitment and experience that makes this public servant a top contender for the nation's top job.

The book traces the journey of the son of an American father and Mexican mother, from his childhood in Mexico to Capitol Hill, the United Nations and the Governor's mansion. There probably hasn't been a more qualified Presidential candidate since George Bush the first.

The book is peppered with "Richardson's Rules" which are helpful points for negotiating. Who better to get advice from than someone who has negotiated with the likes of Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro--and came out on top?

This is a worthy read from a great American. Regardless of your political ideology you'll enjoy it!
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am a Hispanic on my mother's side, completely disdainful of both the Republican and the Democratic parties for having "sold out" to special interests and betrayed the public trust, and actively interested in "alternative candidates" that might make the leap from being a captive of the machine to being a true representative of the people.

Bill Richardson is undeniably attractive to both Hispanics and to Native Americans, and he moves easily and ably in the Anglo world of energy and environmental politics. As a former UN Ambassador and as a former Secretary of Energy I bought this book eagerly anticipating a "roadmap" for what the author calls the "New Progressivism."

This is not such a roadmap. While I respect the author very much, this book reads more like a dictated and then ghost-edited "formula" book. It communicates absolutely no sense of the over-all challenges facing America and the world, not even in the energy arena. "Peak Oil" is not mentioned in this book, and neither are alternative sources of energy. Global poverty and disease and water scarcity are not mentioned in this book.

While the author does discuss predatory lending in his own state, something he commendably seeks to stop, he seems to have no sense of the global impact of immoral predatory capitalism.

While the author is clearly an exceptional negotiator able to charm dictators, and he provides several admirable stories to support this view, he does not seem to grasp that our foreign policy is "gutted" by our continuing support for 44 dictators.

There are some gems in here, for instance when he notes that Madeline Albright slammed the door shut on the Iranians when they were seeking rapprochement with the US through UN channels.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Salim Walji on December 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is an intriguing autobiographical account of a charismatic politician of our times. The title is very cleverly chosen; it could well describe his super role as a negotiator par excellence that has taken him to countries that are worlds apart - Castro's Cuba, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, or Kim Jong II's North Korea, amongst others. It is also an introspective description of being caught between worlds in his own multicultural heritage. Born in Pasadena, California, of an American businessman father and a Mexican mother, he grew up in Mexico City, went to a private high school at Middlesex in Massachusetts followed by college at his father's alma mater: Tufts University, outside Boston.

As a child, he eventually triumphed over the struggle of being a gringo in Mexico City and a pancho in Middlesex with the power of his baseball talent. As an adult, he continues to triumph with the power of his personal charisma and political suaveness. Out of these remarkable experiences come the Richardson's rules of negotiations, and perhaps life, that are peppered in the narrative, and summarized again at the end of the book.

He has served as eight-term congressman for his adopted state of New Mexico, as our ambassador to the United Nations, and in cabinet posts in the Clinton administration (as Energy Secretary). His father was a Republican, a fan and a friend of President Eisenhower, but he himself has evolved to be a star in the Democratic Party. He currently serves as the popular (Democratic) Governor of New Mexico. Mexico has awarded him with the Aztec Eagle Award, the highest award given to a foreigner and he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times. Our global world village is rapidly shrinking but often still sadly warring, only sometimes with nuclear ramifications.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joshua D. Brown on July 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
I had been hearing good things about Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson, so I decided to pick up his autobiography. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of autobiographies or biographies for that matter. Especially, not ones with the sole intent of extolling the author's virtues. So that's why it gets a B-. And I'm just not a huge fan of the writing style that biographies employ. It just gets a little boring and tedious at times. But to be fair, the book gave me a better picture of Bill Richardson than I had before. About half-way through the book, I was seriously thinking about giving him some consideration with my vote. Although I know he'll never get past the big 3 of Edwards, Obama, and Clinton. He grew up in Mexico (born in US) where his mom is Mexican and his father American. He was a senator for the state of New Mexico, the ambassador to the UN that followed Albright, Secretary of Energy for Clinton's second term, and current 2nd term governor for the state of New Mexico. Needless to say, that makes him extremely qualified. And hands down the most qualified of all current presidential candidates. To his credit, he tells it like it is. And for a politician, it doesn't feel like he is full of BS. He has a record for giving his opinion even when it's controversial. And has offended both parties at times, despite being a staunch Democrat. But he's honest. Over and over again he gives examples where he spoke his mind and how it either paid off or got him in trouble. So that I respect. But ultimately, I feel like he's a politician. And a bit of an opportunist. I do believe he has a vision for this country that centers around a better energy policy. Which I totally jive with. Ultimately though, I just feel like he's a politician at heart. And I don't really want a politician in power. I want someone who is not definded as a politician. And I'm well aware of the rarity of that.
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