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Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box by [Albright, Madeleine]
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Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 172 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Before long, and without intending it, I found that jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal. Former president George H. W. Bush had been known for saying "Read my lips." I began urging colleagues and reporters to "Read my pins."

It would never have happened if not for Saddam Hussein. When U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright criticized the dictator, his poet in residence responded by calling her "an unparalleled serpent." Shortly thereafter, while preparing to meet with Iraqi officials, Albright pondered: What to wear? She decided to make a diplomatic statement by choosing a snake pin. Although her method of communication was new, her message was as old as the American Revolution—Don't Tread on Me.

From that day forward, pins became part of Albright's diplomatic signature. International leaders were pleased to see her with a shimmering sun on her jacket or a cheerful ladybug; less so with a crab or a menacing wasp. Albright used pins to emphasize the importance of a negotiation, signify high hopes, protest the absence of progress, and show pride in representing America, among other purposes.

Part illustrated memoir, part social history, Read My Pins provides an intimate look at Albright's life through the brooches she wore. Her collection is both international and democratic—dime-store pins share pride of place with designer creations and family heirlooms. Included are the antique eagle purchased to celebrate Albright's appointment as secretary of state, the zebra pin she wore when meeting Nelson Mandela, and the Valentine's Day heart forged by Albright's five-year-old daughter. Read My Pins features more than 200 photographs, along with compelling and often humorous stories about jewelry, global politics, and the life of one of America's most accomplished and fascinating diplomats.

About the Author

Madeleine Albright served as U.S. secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 and as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997. She is the author of three New York Times bestselling books: Madam Secretary; The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs; and Memo to the President: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership. She is founder of The Albright Group LLC and Albright Capital Management LLC.


Product Details

  • File Size: 3601 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; 1st edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Publication Date: September 29, 2009
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RUA5EC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,690 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kathryn Y. Smith on October 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a jewelry maven and poltical junkie, I adored this book! The pictures are beautiful and the stories that go with them are fascinating. Madam Secretary Albright's plain-spoken manner and self-deprecating sense of humor shine through, and I enjoyed seeing pictures of her wearing the pins in the company of various world leaders, as well as the close-up stand alone pictures of the pins. A great gift for Christmas for any jewelry-loving lady.
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Format: Hardcover
Madeleine Albright, always savvy with her word, turns out to be equally savvy with her "wear"...in this case her collection of dozens of pins. It never occurred to me while watching her on tv that those pins actually meant something and in "Read My Pins" she tells us why. Whether needing a diplomatic push or simply creating a mood, Albright's pins convey power, warmth and style. She connects certain pins with historical significance and this really enhances the book. What's even more fun is finding one's favorite in her collection. Albright certainly has her own, and it's very personal for her.

The photography by John Bigelow Taylor allows the reader to see each pin up close...something impossible to do even if one were standing near the former Secretary of State. We've been through ping pong diplomacy and shuttle diplomacy but pin diplomacy is certainly the most colorful of all and this enchanting book is not to be missed.
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Format: Hardcover
Having always admired Mme. Albright, I was intrigued and eager to read her latest book. This was not a disappointment - it is loaded with fabulous photos, not just of the pins, but of Madeleine with world leaders, as well as well-told stories from her time served, peppered with snippets on the history of the brooch and other jewelry.

Not a novel, nor a biography, but still a great collectible worthy of anyone's coffee table or library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A beautifully illustrated book, Read My Pins contains Miss Albright's many stories through her years in public service, and the innovative ways she found to use her vast pin collection to set the tone for meetings and events. As a female in often all-male situations, she discovered that her wardrobe of pins enabled her to creatively support and enhance her messages and positions. She often includes the stories of how she came to own specific pins, fascinating stories in themselves. I gave this book as a gift, and could barely part with it!
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Format: Hardcover
This book was of interest to me only to see Ms. Albright's pin collection and nothing more - I'm not interested in politics or reading policial books. Thankfully, politics was on the backburner in this book and the focus really was on her collection of pins. There isn't too much text, and when there is, the text describes where a particular pin came from, why she was wearing the pin in the accompanying photo (usually as a political statement), and how she found the pin. The book has many nice color photos, of the pins and also of Ms. Albright wearing many of them. Most of the pins are non-designer and what most people would consider 'costume' or 'junk' jewelry, but they all make a statement to her and were worn for a reason. The interesting thing here is that Ms. Albright had to be very crafty when wearing the pins, so she wouldn't offend political leaders. So, she might not know a lot about the pins' origins, but she knows a lot about the meaning behind the symbols - and she shares that information with readers. There is nothing special about the collection - not one piece that stands out or is particularly beautiful, but as a whole you can see what she was trying to accomplish. She also talks a lot about shopping and price points and it's really cool that someone in her position and with her funds bought such affordable pieces. It was a nice book and offered a more interesting look at her personality; it'd be interesting to see more books like this from other political people - they probably have great collections of items.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this is a wonderful book.
a mix of history and one woman's passion for unique jewelry.she was gifted most, bought some, but all have a story to them.
in her own words 'A LITTLE BIT OF POLITICS WITH A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR'
bees,butterflys,my favorite a dragon,all unique pieces. most were from heads of state, who learned of her passion for these.it fast became a custom to gift her one, when she went to another country doing her job.
definitely a conversation starter. will look good on your coffee table or anywhere you want to lose yourself in it.
great gift - we got this for a ladies birthday gift and liked it so much we got another for us.
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Format: Hardcover
I received this book for Christmas after reading an article about it. As I work in politics, I assumed I would enjoy the book but had no idea just how much. This is a fabulous book! It's far from just about jewelry - there are plenty of anecdotes about her travels as a diplomat during her time in the UN and her time as Secretary of State. She writes in such a manner that the reader feels as if she has gone to lunch with a friend and is hearing tales from the office. I was thoroughly surprised at the Secretary's wonderful sense of humor!

Even having received lavish gifts such as jewelry from Tiffany and Co. for Christmas, I can honestly say that this has been my most enjoyed gift of the year. I cannot wait to see the exhibit that is to follow.
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