Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me

Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me

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by Condoleezza Rice
     
 

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In this captivating memoir for young people, looking back with candor and affection, Condoleezza Rice evokes in rich detail her remarkable childhood.
Her life began in the comparatively placid 1950s in Birmingham, Alabama, where black people lived in a segregated parallel universe to their white neighbors. She grew up during the violent and shocking 1960s

Overview

In this captivating memoir for young people, looking back with candor and affection, Condoleezza Rice evokes in rich detail her remarkable childhood.
Her life began in the comparatively placid 1950s in Birmingham, Alabama, where black people lived in a segregated parallel universe to their white neighbors. She grew up during the violent and shocking 1960s, when bloodshed became a part of daily life in the South. Rice’s portrait of her parents, John and Angelena, highlights their ambitions and frustrations and shows how much they sacrificed to give their beloved only child the best chance for success. Rice also discusses the challenges of being a precocious child who was passionate about music, ice skating, history, and current affairs. Her memoir reveals with vivid clarity how her early experiences sowed the seeds of her political beliefs and helped her become a vibrant, successful woman.
Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Parents and Me is a fascinating and inspirational story for young people. Includes a 16-page photo insert.

Editorial Reviews

Sixty-five U.S. Secretaries of State preceded Condoleezza Rice, but only one of them was a woman and only one of them was black. Rice went into record books as the first black woman to be hold that post, but she made history in even more significant ways. As the trusted advisor of two American presidents, she participated decisions at the highest levels, making her rise from her middle-class childhood in segregation-ridden Birmingham, Alabama even more dramatic. This young adult version of her family memoir possesses a relevance that cuts across party lines.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385738798
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
10/12/2010
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
8.82(w) x 11.62(h) x 1.19(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

By all accounts, my parents approached the time of my birth with great anticipation. My father was certain that I'd be a boy and had worked out a deal with my mother: if the baby was a girl, she would name her, but a boy would be named John.

Mother started thinking about names for her daughter. She wanted a name that would be unique and musical. Looking to Italian musical terms for inspiration, she at first settled on Andantino. But realizing that it translated as "moving slowly," she decided that she didn't like the implications of that name. Allegro was worse because it translated as "fast," and no mother in 1954 wanted her daughter to be thought of as "fast." Finally she found the musical terms con dolce and con dolcezza, meaning "with sweetness." Deciding that an English speaker would never recognize the hard c, saying "dolci" instead of "dolche," my mother doctored the term. She settled on Condoleezza.

Meanwhile, my father prepared for John's birth. He bought a football and several other pieces of sports equipment. John was going to be an all-American running back or perhaps a linebacker.

My mother thought she felt labor pains on Friday night, November 12, and was rushed to the doctor. Dr. Plump, the black pediatrician who delivered most of the black babies in town, explained that it was probably just anxiety. He decided nonetheless to put Mother in the hospital, where she could rest comfortably.

The public hospitals were completely segregated in Birmingham, with the Negro wards—no private rooms were available—in the basement. There wasn't much effort to separate maternity cases from patients with any other kind of illness, and by all accounts the accommodations were pretty grim. As a result, mothers who could get in preferred to birth their babies at Holy Family, the Catholic hospital that segregated white and Negro patients but at least had something of a maternity floor and private rooms. Mother checked into Holy Family that night.

Nothing happened on Saturday or early Sunday morning. Dr. Plump told my father to go ahead and deliver his sermon at the eleven o'clock church service. "This baby isn't going to be born for quite a while," he said.

He was wrong. When my father came out of the pulpit at noon on November 14, his mother was waiting for him in the church office.

"Johnny, it's a girl!"

Daddy was floored. "A girl?" he asked. "How could it be a girl?"

He rushed to the hospital to see the new baby. Daddy told me that the first time he saw me in the nursery, the other babies were just lying still, but I was trying to raise myself up. Now, I think it's doubtful that an hours-old baby was strong enough to do this. But my father insisted this story was true. In any case, he said that his heart melted at the sight of his baby girl. From that day on he was a "feminist"—there was nothing that his little girl couldn't do, including learning to love football.

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Meet the Author

Condoleezza Rice was the sixty-sixth U.S. secretary of state and the first black woman to hold that office. She was also the first woman to serve as national security advisor. She has served as provost of Stanford University and was the Soviet and East European Affairs advisor to the president of the United States during the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

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Condoleezza Rice 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Purplepickels More than 1 year ago
Was never a big fan of Condoleezza Rice before this book. Still not a big fan but I now Respect who she is and were she came from. I learned that she became who she was from hard work and determination not because of the color of her skin but because of good parents who had a strong belief in who and were there daughter was going. Highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time putting his book down! Very well written memoir!
RevTinaScott121 More than 1 year ago
I decided to purchase this book because I really knew nothing about this black woman with the exception that she worked for a president of a party that I was not apart and she appeared to be extremely bright. I was wrong, Condaleeza is brilliant, intriguing and I am so happy I was able to eread this book. Ms. Rice is a great writer! I felt as if I was a friend that she was talking to about her experience. Things I thought I knew I didn't and things I didn't know I can say I now do. So much to say, I want more from Ms. Rice and wish that I had been more opened earlier. This book was delightful, poignant, direct, and extremely insightful. I am glad it was more than what I had anticipated.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a nice book
Ckr123 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I got to hear Condoleeza Rice speak for Global Samaritan. She was great and I was glad I ordered her book ahead of time. She made many references to her book. What a wonderful day I had, her book and got to see her personally in my home town! It is great to be an American and she will tell you just that! Do read her book it will be worth your time. A fan of online books and of Condoleeza Rice, Ckr123
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