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Madam Secretary: A Memoir

Madam Secretary: A Memoir

4.6 13
by Madeleine Albright

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A national bestseller on its original publication in 2003, Madam Secretary is a riveting account of the life of America's first woman Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. For eight years, during Bill Clinton's two presidential terms, Albright was a high-level participant in some of the most dramatic events of our time—from the pursuit of


A national bestseller on its original publication in 2003, Madam Secretary is a riveting account of the life of America's first woman Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. For eight years, during Bill Clinton's two presidential terms, Albright was a high-level participant in some of the most dramatic events of our time—from the pursuit of peace in the Middle East to NATO's intervention in the Balkans to America's troubled relations with Iran and Iraq. In this thoughtful memoir, one of the most admired women in U.S. history reflects on her remarkable personal story, including her upbringing in war-torn Europe and the balancing of career and family responsibilities, and on America's leading role in a changing world.

With a new epilogue by the author, Madam Secretary offers an inimitable blend of Albright's warm humor, probing insights, and distinctive ideas.

Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
“One of the most diverting political bios in recent memory.”
The New Yorker
“Her portraits of foreign leaders are lively and evocative. . . . The result is a book that creates a sense of policy made by real people.”
USA Today
“Madeleine Albright has written a different kind of memoir. . . . It’s Albright unplugged.”
The New York Times
“Albright is frank, assertive. . . . straight-shooting.”
The Dallas Morning News
“The fascinating story of a remarkable person who has served her country well.”
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. Simultaneous release with the Miramax hardcover (Forecasts, Sept. 15). (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Albright, as Secretary of State the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States, recounts her life as a refugee fleeing the Nazis and then the Communists; as a new immigrant to the United States at age 11; her marriage into the prominent Guggenheim family and her painful divorce; and the life-altering discovery of her Jewish heritage. She also illuminates her remarkable public persona and her friendships and battles with world leaders such as Vaclav Havel, Vladimir Putin, Slobodan Milosevic, Hillary Clinton, and Kim Jong-il. Albright narrates her book in a strong, clear, and convincing voice. Recommended for public and academic libraries and for patrons with a strong interest in politics and world affairs.-Ilka Gordon, Marcell Community Lib., Cleveland Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Madeleine Albright served as America's sixty-fourth Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001. Her distinguished career also includes positions on Capitol Hill, the National Security Council, and as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She is a resident of Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

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Madam Secretary 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I must say that I was quite excited to read Albright's book...however, I was bored. She goes into excruciating detail about policy and it reads like a textbook, not a memoir. I was looking for personal insight on her experience, yet she wrote of her own experience like it didn't happen to her, like she was writing about someone else. It's a shame since she was the highest ranking woman in US government in history, and she didn't have much of interest to say.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Terribly dissappointed. I figured she was writing about her experiences. I felt like she was writing about someone elses life. She could address some issues very well, but seemed she was trying to entertain the reader more than anything. That distanced her
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must for anyone interested in American foreign affairs. This book will hold your attention. It is an inspiration for women with high aspirations.
LACHINA1 More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be very inspirational. Learning about the experiences of the first female Secretary of State was motivational particularly in regards to her experiences relating to obstacles she encountered on a professional and personal level. I have a greater respect for the position of Secretary of State. I now understand the multi-dimensional responsibilities required for any person occupying this position, and feel pride that a woman was able to successfully manage such a highly stressful occupation while also filling equally important roles as mother and wife. After reading this book, I am a major supporter of Madeleine Albright and wish her the very best in her present and future endeviours. BEST OF LUCK MADELEINE!
AmandaZann More than 1 year ago
Madeleine Albright provides a wonderful memoir of her life thus far. As the first female United States Secretary of State, her story is inspirational, heartbreaking and revealing. She offers a refreshing look into her life beyond politics. We learn about her family, her early life in Europe, her marriage, divorce and the hardships she faced as a working mother. She speaks candidly about her role in the Clinton administration. She admits to her greatest mistake as Secretary of State. Any political junkie, mother, father, daughter, Czechoslovakian or student out there can gain a lot by reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Madeline Albright, as revealed in the excellent memoir, is truly an incredible woman and leader. She reveals the many facets of serving as the Secretary of State and we learn that it is no easy task. There is so much going on in world policy that most people aren't aware of, and this book opened a window into that world and how one woman worked to change the world in a positive way. She is right up there with Eleanor Roosevelt in my opinion. This book is a great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I think Madame Secretary and Clinton's A Living History were two of the best memoirs I've read. I thought they both did a terrific job of presenting an interesting mix of their personal lives and their government roles and with HUMOR. I thought their descriptions of how the washington bureacracy and international rules of diplomacy work was fascinating and educating. I read the two books back-to-back so it was also fun to see some of the overlap. For those of you that think Madame Secretary read like a textbook, read Thurgood Marshall's autobiography, that was like reading a history book for a class. I didn't know much about Albright before I read her book but I have a tremendous amount of respect for her now. I enjoyed Katharine Graham's autobiography but thought Albright's and Clinton's were better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was captivated by this WONDERFUL book. Sec. Albright is one of my biggest role models, she shows that anyone no matter where they come from can rise to be one who influences world affairs. This book depicts that message PERFECTLY!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent insight on her foreign policy relations. She deserves high respect. The book is delightful reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Look at the subject then read on. Most of the reviews on Madeleine were negative, but personally think the book is really good. Madeleine's memior is was much more candid then Margaret's memiors which more textbook. Both had twins, Madeleine had 2 girls that look the same, Margaret had boy and girl. Madeleine had a divorce and Margaret didn't. I could go on forever, but I stop here. I hope Madeleine comes to my town's book store to sign her book for the customers. Thank you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I laughed and I cried. Ms. Albright did a tremendous job with bringing the last 20 years of International Relations to life. Her accounts of the turmoil that was occurring, both here and abroad, were both personal and professional. I would recommend this book to anyone who desires a more thorough understanding of U.S. diplomatic relations without being bored to tears with mere facts. Her personal accounts are both entertaining and insightful. This is a lady to admire for her strengths and commitments to the human race.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! When I bought it and sat down to start reading it I thought it would be fairly boring, but I could not believe how interesting it was and how funny she is. Mrs, Albright is indeed a very good writer as well as a remarkable woman. A great insight to American foriegn policy and what a great secretary of state we had in Mrs. Albright. I highly recommend this book!!