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Paving The Way to Power - A Female's Journey
on September 19, 2006
If you, like me, are curious about America's foreign policy, you will find this 512 page autobiography of the first female secretary of state, good insightful reading. It is written in an easy to read manner, very detailed and inforative, and you will wonder, as I did, how this woman managed to work so many long hours for the White House, flew all over the world to meet and eat with other diplomats, and still maintain her composure. What exactly motivated her? She clearly did have the background for this job, dearly loved the power and prestige, and like her or not, you will enjoy her memoirs. Yes you will!
Strangely, after completing this long memoir which could have been considerably shortened, I discovered her ideas of freedom and democracy are actually not unlike those of Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, her successors in the Bush administration. So I wonder why then, does she sound so partisan and take little digs at them on television interviews?
Madeleine Korbel was born in 1937 in Prague. She lived in England, went to school in Switzerland for a time, and arrived with her family in America in 1948. In 1949 the Korbel family moved to Colorado. While attending Wellesley College, she became an American citizen in 1957. In 1959, after graduating, she married Joseph Albright. They had three daughter, including identical twins. She suffered a very painful divorce from Joseph Albright in 1983.
During the marriage she earned a Ph.D from Columbia University. She worked for Senator Edmund Muskie, worked on the staff of the National Security Council among other things, and somehow managed to be wife, mother, hostess, and hone her diplomatic skills while working long hours.
From 1982-1992 Madeleine served on the faculty at Georgetown University School of Foreign Serive. She served as foreign policy advisor to democrats Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis. President Clinton designated her as representative to the UN. In 1996, he appointed Ambassador Albright to serve as secretary of state during his second term.
The second part of the book details those four years from her perspective. Madam Secretary had excellent people skills, had studied various cultures thoroughly, speaks several languages, had good work habits and loved discussing world affairs with her male counterparts and of course, her place in the Clinton cabinet.
As a woman, an independent voter, a reader of American history and politics, and one who enjoys learning about the "White House" from various viewpoints over time, I recommend this memoir because it is unique. Written by a woman who experienced many ups and downs but worked her way thru them and continues to express her viewpoints on foreign policy, offers insights concerning other countries and cultures, describes just what her job entailed - well, you can make your own judgements of her, but please read this book first of all! It's a very good read.