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Madam Secretary: A Memoir Paperback – April 6, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax (April 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401359620
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401359621
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #981,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From The New Yorker

This memoir by America's first female Secretary of State is a deeply conventional book, full of long accounts of negotiations and reflections on the proper uses of American power. Albright is not out to settle scores (her criticisms of colleagues are mild at worst) and seems, on balance, pleased with the foreign-policy record of the Clinton Administration. This might have made a dull book, were it not for Albright's appealing character—personally ingenuous but professionally sophisticated, earnest but hard-nosed. Her eye for details—clothing, food, travel conditions—helps bring the diplomat's world to life, and her portraits of foreign leaders are lively and evocative. The result is a book that creates a sense of policy made by real people, not by world-bestriding titans.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker

More About the Author

Madeleine Albright is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Madam Secretary, The Mighty and the Almighty, Memo to the President, and Read My Pins. She was U.S. Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001. Her distinguished career of public service includes positions in the National Security Council, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and on Capitol Hill.

Customer Reviews

I found the book to be well written, informative and human.
Daniel J. Maloney
The book clearly reflects a woman's point of view, and intertwines Madam Albright's personal and professional journey with historical events.
Rosebud
I find it quite noteworthy that "intelligence" does not appear in the index as a term.
Robert David STEELE Vivas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Madam Secretary" presents the memoirs of Madeleine Albright, the highest ranking woman in the history of U.S. government (despite what conclusions you might have reached about some of the First Ladies, Edith Galt Wilson in particular). During the eight years of the Clinton administration Albright served as U.N. ambassador and then, following the resignation of Warren Christopher, as Secretary of State. Half of "Madam Secretary" is devoted to that period of her life, while the rest tells the story of how a refugee from Czechoslovakia eventually became the first woman Secretary of State in American history and one of the most admired public figures of recent years (she was confirmed 99-0 by the Senate). The result is a book that is both candid and insightful. The memoirs of any Secretary of State are going to be of importance, but "Madam Secretary" is actually a good read.
Madeleine Korbel Albright was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1937. Her father was an official in the Czech government-in-exile who fled to London, where she remembers enduring the blitz. Her father served in several diplomatic posts after World War II and when the Communists took over Czechoslovakia in 1948 he sent his family to the United States, where he ended up running the School of International Studies at the University of Denver (where one of his prize students was Condolezza Rice). On the personal side of the ledger Albright talks about her marriage to "Newsday" scion Joe Albright, which ended in divorce, raising her three daughters, and learning late in her life that her Jewish grandparents had died in Nazi concentration camps.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Shashank Tripathi on September 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
So I find myself a bit disagreeable when it comes to extolling Madeleine Albright. So what. ...
I am still fascinated by the chequered career of "Madam Secretary", who came from a Czech refugee family that first fled Hitler and then the communists. After reaching America, her zigzagging life eventually landed her in the upper echelon of American diplomacy and policy-making. This path alone makes this memoir worth every little centimeter of every frayed penny you spend on it.
This is an outspoken work, and it provides a ringside view of a world in unprecedented turbulence. No, I do not think the authors were fawning a political celeb. It contains a colorful portrait of several other big tykes -- the Clintons, Colin Powell, Jesse Helms, Vaclav Havel, Yasser Arafat, Ariel Sharon, King Hussein, Vladimir Putin, Slobodan Milosevic, and North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Il. All this tirade, whether your polemical filter reconciles with it or not, makes for quite an interesting read.
As regards weaving an intimate and panoramic tapestry of Madeleine's character, well the writing is fluent, tight, and very interesting. I seldom devour politically charged reminiscences with such zeal. It is clearly self-billed as a "memoir, so I did not expect it to be a highly objective analysis of political stances, if there were such a beast to begin with.
In my book, this comes highly recommended. Will definitely not bore you if that is any consolation. Come to think of it, I guess it also makes for a great movie theme.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Madeleine Albright comes across in this book as an enormously genuine, honest and affable person - qualities one does not expect in the upper echelons of government, or in business for that matter. Her advice was always level headed and was delivered with only her nation's and the world's peoples interest at heart.
I had the good fortune to sit next to Ms. Albright on an airplane trip back from Korea and I can tell you from that brief encounter that she is the genuine article. We sadly miss her involvement in government given the state of world affairs today.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on October 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In winding up her far-ranging autobiography, Madeleine Albright tells us with amusement that once, after leaving office as U.S. Secretary of State, she was mistaken in public for Margaret Thatcher.
It's worth a chuckle to the reader --- but there are indeed interesting similarities between the two women, even though their political leanings are light-years apart. They both reached the highest rank ever attained by a woman in their respective democratic governments, were fiercely partisan political figures, and held very strong opinions and were never afraid to battle for them (Albright's favorite expression for this is that she never hesitated to "push back" at those who opposed her).
Albright is best known for serving as U.S. ambassador to the UN in the first Clinton term, and as Secretary of State in the second. Readers of this book will learn in detail about the early years and long political apprenticeship that led up to those two high-profile jobs. They will also learn, in perhaps more detail than they care to absorb, about the many foreign policy crises in which she was a major player under Clinton.
The other thing about Albright that most people will recall is that only after she became Secretary of State did she learn that her family ancestry was Jewish --- that three of her grandparents had died in Nazi concentration camps. This personal revelation is duly covered but not dwelled upon in extraordinary detail.
Her life, though unsettled due to wartime exigencies, was not a rags-to-riches tale. She was born Marie Jana Korbel in Prague into a comfortably situated family. Her father was a respected Czech diplomat and college professor. Fleeing the Nazis, the family spent time in England during World War II.
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