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Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me Hardcover – October 12, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-The former Secretary of State recounts her life, beginning with her family history and childhood in Birmingham, AL, during the 1950s and '60s. From extremely supportive parents she learned that she could become anything she put her mind to, despite the rampant racism that existed in the South. A 16-page insert of black-and-white and color photos adds detail, and the glossary has more information on the many political leaders whom Rice refers to in the book. This valuable memoir about breaking glass ceilings may inspire readers to test their own potential.-Stephanie Malosh, Donoghue Elementary School, Chicago, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

This slightly distilled version of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s concurrently published autobiography, Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, hits all the high points of Rice’s life. Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Rice was the daughter of parents who convinced her that, as she puts it, “even if she couldn’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, she could be president of the United States.” Filled with fascinating photos, this will not only introduce young people to a groundbreaking woman but will also give them a real sense of what life was like growing up in the segregated south in the 1950s and 1960s. High-school libraries might want the adult version of the book, but this one costs 10 dollars less. Grades 7-9. --Ilene Cooper

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038573879X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385738798
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #661,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Dr. David Frisbie on October 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
How do you raise someone to not only succeed against daunting odds, but to do so with grace and poise? How do you raise a person of character, someone who combines authority and confidence with a winsome personal humility?

Condoleezza Rice has penned a candid, revealing look at the origins of her personal journey. Here is a woman of great accomplishment who is also relaxed and open about her frailties, her struggles and her doubts. The story itself is remarkable, yet what shines in these pages is the author's ease and capacity in telling it. This is a well-crafted work, written by someone who clearly loves to read.

One need not be Republican, or female, or a Stanford alum in order to value this impressive new book. One need only be a citizen of the world in this 21st century --- a world illuminated by policies and strategies shaped in part by this remarkable Secretary of State (among her other high-ranking offices).

An inspiring story, beautifully told!

Dr. David Frisbie
The Center for Marriage & Family Studies
Del Mar, California
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. Mariba on October 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a children's version of Condoleeza Rice's memoir & is titled, "A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family And Me". It's a rather candid, well written and inspirational memoir on the life & difficulties of growing up black in a highly racially charged America's Deep South in the 50s & 60s. She was the only child to her parents (mother who was a teacher & father, a minister & later college administrator). Her parents were highly dedicated & knew/emphasized the importance of education in uplifting Condoleeza Rice in achieving greats in her life despite the odds. She was a child piano prodigy, excelled academically in school, even skipping grades. She is the first black female US Secretary of State (Colin Powell being the first black male US Secretary of State). She wad appointed National Security Advisor 8 months before 9/11. Despite her glowing achievements, she did struggle with procrastination & in figure skating.

This memoir is the first of two volumes, describing her personal life journey & the second will describe her political life. A highly personal, inspirational book on how a dedicated family would manage to rise up despite challenges they faced & emphasizes the importance of good quality education in society. A highly recommended reading!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By tropicallad on November 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Condoleezza Rice portrays in this wonderful and well written book the lives of her parents,Rev.John and Angelena Rice.It is quiet evident that they were the wind beneath her wing as she soared to the glorious heights of earthly power.The book begins with her birth Nov.14,1954 in Alabama and proceeds towards a life of identifying,cultivating and enjoying the finer things in life.The values of a good education,committed life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the talent of mastering piano at a very young age,were instilled in her by her parents who were dedicated to raising a good and upstanding young lady.These were done against the gigantic challenges of race relation namely;segregation in the south.Ms.Rice's accomplishment despite these challenges is a testament to the character and wisdom of John and Angelena Rice.Racism is a human deformity that will continue to stalk us in our earthly existence.The way to navigate through these rough waters is succintly delineated in a powerful line in the book;sometimes we cannot control the circumstances that come our way but we sure can control our responses to them.Condoleezza's achievements at this stage in her life is quiet remarkable considering her relatively young age.One marvels given what she had to overcome;the segregation of her upbringing,a black person and a woman in a stratified society.A wonderful read,highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By spookytooth on November 20, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I have never taken the time to write a review before, so take it that I am inspired to do so by reading this book by an amazing women who has now become one of my idols. And idols I have very few in this day and age. But back to the book... It is a clearly written biography about a person raised and enveloped by loving, caring and obviously intelligent parents, family, and friends. Color and gender play part in the struggle that makes the outcome even more amazing because obstacles only added more tenacity. I didn't intend to love this book, and in fact read it, not only because I was always a bit fascinated by Condoleezza Rice, but by the good reviews that it received. So here is another one that I hope presses some people into gaining a better understanding of how great people become who they are. Truly great people work at it and struggle with it. It is about real people ( I include John Rice here as well) and their commitment to lead a life filled with love, learning and giving back - to the MAX! I hope more people will read this book and recommended it to friends and family. It is an easy and enjoyable read that makes you look forward to the next chapter. What ever side of the political fence you side THIS IS ONE GREAT HUMAN BEING.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Leila on April 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was so moved and inspired by Condoleezza Rice's biography. I had no idea what to expect when I got the book. I knew that Condoleezza Rice was from the Alabama, was a Provost at Stanford, knew Russian, and her political successes. Outside of that, I knew very little about her. I'm not a Republican and quite often disagreed with her political stances, but I approached the book with an open-mind as I love to read biographies and learn more about people & their journeys.

I started reading the book and was immediately struck by the love her parents had for her and vice-versa and how down-to earth and warm her writing was. I literally couldn't put the book down. I was captured by her upbringing in Alabama during and post segregation, the optimism her parents had for her life, the role her middle class African-American neighbors played (pushing their children to succeed despite segregation, setting a high bar, protecting them from harsh realities of life). Her parents invested a lot in her and supported her from providing piano and ice-skating lessons to her education. She succeeded in going to college (2 yrs younger than her classmates), receiving her masters at Notre Dame, PhD at the University of Denver, and fellowship at Stanford. She was a Provost at Stanford at age 38. She achieved a lot, yet seems very humble and also kept a tight-knit connection with her parents. The love between them was undeniable.

The book was an excellent read and I highly recommend it. It covers more about her youth and young adulthood than the more current times. The stories were wonderful even though it took place during a tough time, you feel so optimistic about life and that anything is possible.
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