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From one of the world's most admired women this is former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's compelling story of eight years serving at the highest levels of government A native of Birmingham Alabama who overcame the racism of the Civil Rights era to become a brilliant academic and expert on foreign affairs Rice distinguished herself as an advisor to George W Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign Once Bush was elected she served as his chief adviser on national security issues a job whose duties included harmonizing the relationship between the Secretaries of State and Defence It was a role that deepened her bond with the President and ultimately made her one of his closest confidantes With the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks Rice found herself at the centre of the Administration's intense efforts to keep America safe Here Rice describes the events of that harrowing day and the tumultuous days after No day was ever the same Surprisingly candid in her appraisals of various Administration colleagues and the hundreds of foreign leaders with whom she dealt Rice also offers her keen insight into how history actually proceeds In No Higher Honour she delivers a master class in statecraft but always in a way that reveals her essential warmth and humility and her deep reverence for the ideals on which America was founded


10 thoughts on “No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington

  1. says:

    Disclosure I am a third generation Stanford grad and admit to an innate non partisan sympathy toward fellow graduates as diverse as Condi Rice and Chelsea Clinton As political memoirs go this bulky autobiography merits a careful deliberate reading It runs a bit long flushing out an abundance of non essential details and catchy anecdotes There are plenty of recollections and profiles of world leaders In foreign affairs perception is everything Words are carefully crafted to eliminate any ambiguity and misinterpretation Slips inferences nuances body language these can all trigger unitended reactions Behind every diplomatic pronouncement there are plenty of back room shouting turf battles arm twisting policy debate ego eruptions profanity and muscle flexing That's what makes books like this so engaging Condi tosses off plenty of juicy tidbits adafi is completely nuts Omar Bashir from Sudan is a well dressed hoodlum whose thugs rough up her security detail Putin is a devious cunning gamesman hiding behind a veneer of pseudo respectability Surprisingly the book is pretty balanced in its broadsides against the Democrats Bilary emerges largely unscathed Condi does not criticize her successor as Secretary John Kerry and Harry Reid are taken to task Adding to her credibility Condi also levels her periscope at fellow Republicans There are engaging accounts of the internal struggles in the Bush White House her run ins with Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and some noteworthy critiues of John Bolton and Paul WolfowitzCondi acuits herself well in her autobiography The most disturbing features of retrospectives like this are self serving spin and revisionism that retroactively whitewash and justify past decisions and actions The George Tenet autobiography and his convenient amnesia over uestionable lapses and breakdowns in the CIA is a flagrant example Condi admits some of her mistakes but also chronicles episodes where she offered her resignation to President Bush when he uestioned her convictions Anyone who has observed Condi's Congressional testimony before the 911 Commission and the investigation into the search for weapons of mass destruction knows she is a diplomat does her homework Even when she was dealt a poor hand and ordered to take one for the team she Lay’s out strong arguments in the glare of the cameras She does not dwell too much on her childhood growing up aa an Afro American in Birmingham Alabama She comes across as very charming and talented a classically educated concert pianist but somewhat elusive She is attractive and engaging and has a great job How come there is no significant other her life after 58 years? This is a great opportunity for a trailing spouse The autobiography steers clear of this subject and it's really none of our business still Very likely it is due to her drive ambition and work ethicAfter the 2012 elections as battle weary Republicans sift through their decimated fragmented ranks navigating between the feuding Tea Partiers and Religious Rightists Condoleeza Rice looms as one of the brighter GOP stars in an otherwise dismal universe


  2. says:

    For a reader who's not really into heavy politics I found Condoleezza Rice's memoirs of George W Bush's eight years in office to be a riveting read Rice is an honest and forthright narrator open about her beliefs and her biases and unafraid to claim her faith I respect that I also respect her choice to steer clear of the dirt slinging so common in political memoirs she gives fair treatment to both sides of every situation and shows the logic behind every controversial and mundane decision she made while National Security Advisor and later Secretary of StateOver the course of No Higher Honor I grew to respect Rice as not just a politician but as a person a powerful voice for the Republican Party for women for African Americans and for the oppressed minorities all over the world Please do not make the mistake of thinking this is Bush's story This is Condoleezza's story wherein Bush happens to be an important character and the vast majority of its pages are dedicated to her travels abroad and America's foreign policy in an age of instability and terrorism It's fascinating


  3. says:

    I am plowing through this very detailed book I am an older woman and not sure I have enough lifetime to spend reading it but shall keep at it After several weeks I returned to this book and found it still detailed but fascinating in relation to the constant travel negoiations in trying to reach agreements with various countries and people representing them Kind of like an alcoholic who falls off the wagon gets back on falls etc It is a very long process reaching consensus There certainly seemed to me little if any time off or fun in her life during these eight years I have no idea how a body can adjust to all that travel and time change even if you are on a nice government airplane Going to have to read Madeline Albright's book and wait for Hillary's Remember reading of the John Adams lives as diplomats and the ease of travel has certainly changed but not the give and take


  4. says:

    After listening to the audio book by Hillary Clinton on her experience as Secretary of State I decided to follow it with No Higher Honor by Condoleezza Rice her predecessor The books are in many ways very similar both in the telling and in the stories being told Like I was not a Clinton fan prior to reading her book Hard Choices I am not a George Bush fan either In fact I have very negative views of his conduct of the wars during his administration but I feel it is very important to keep an open mind and to listen to what they have to say One does not have to agree with someone to appreciate what he has to sayRice tells a very powerful story about her 8 years of experience in the Bush Administration as the National Security Advisor and the Secretary of State She was introduced to George W by his father whom she had served under during his administration Rice consistently defends the George W and his decisions His administration was deeply influenced by the 911 attacks on New York and Washington DC She discusses the fear that permeated the administration in the months and years that followed the attacks The way the Administration saw the world was colored by that fear While Rice admits making mistakes in her positions she does not voice any negative feelings toward George W She is less positive about Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld with whom she experienced major disagreements although one has to read between the lines to gain a sense of the conflictRice grew up in the segregated Birmingham Alabama She tells the story of how one of her kindergarten friends was killed during the 1963 church bombing in BirminghamOne of my favorite anecdotes was during a trip to Rome for the funeral of the pope She was sitting between George W and Bill Clinton She said Bill talked all the time and George did not talk The story I believe is very telling about the differences between the two menRice did her own recording of the book so one hears the story in her voice I would highly recommend the book to anyone interested in politics history and the international world The book offers of the story than one finds in the newspapers and on television And I would also recommend that one reads it in conjunction with Hillary Clinton's book on her experiences Hillary opens her book with the letter she received from Condoleezza A part of me wishes that Rice had chosen to run for President and that she and Hillary would have had an opportunity to campaign against each other


  5. says:

    No Higher Honor a Memoir of my Years in Washington by Condoleezza Rice read by the author Produced by Random House Audio downloaded from audiblecomThis book is one to be reread in a few months maybe than once It’s a remarkable history of the eight years of the Bush presidency Whatever one thinks of the policies she espoused on behalf of the president Condoleezza Rice had dignity poise thought on her feet and spent an incredible amount of time smoothing the feathers of various prime ministers She did not spend any time bad mouthing anyone else republican or democrat She is a woman I admire greatly even when I disagree with her Having her narrate the book herself was an added benefit You could hear as she relived some of those harrowing moments how hard they were on her What made her stand out and what made her well liked by many people from both parties was her willingness to repeat some of her own history to never forget from where she came She told about not being able to drink at certain drinking fountains and about not going to school with any white kids until she was 12 years old and they moved from Birmingham Alabama to Denver She knew one of the three little girls killed in 1963 in the Birmingham church She was tough and often cool and analytical but she understood what and what her role was as a diplomat


  6. says:

    I have read several biographies about Condoleezza Rice now I shall obtain the information from her via this memoir Rice always appears gracious well poised intelligent and well dressed The other books I read provided a good deal of information about her childhood and education I am most interested in learning about her time as national security advisor and Secretary of State The book is long at 750 pages I read these types of books to obtain knowledge therefore I keep an open mind while readingThe book appears to be a comprehensive look at the foreign policy strategy of the Bush administration Rice defends many key decisions; she also acknowledges the mistakes and missteps made along the way Rice admits that the administration mishandled concerns about the Kyoto climate change treaty and failed to respond positively after the September 11 attacks to NATO’s invocation of the “article five” that it was considered an attack on all NATO states Rice reveals that the well publicized dispute with Cheney and Rumsfeld were not personal but simply business policy differences Cheney and Rumsfeld lambasted Rice in their books She is polite than they were insisting the difference were about policy not personality As secretary of State she points out the nuclear pact with India and the disarming of addafi to the passionate commitment to Africa programs to fight AIDS development of grants and pressure to reduce killings in Darfur Rice did not reveal much about her personal life but I did notice two things that were important to her prayer and exerciseThe book is written in a matter of fact style of the Academic which of course she is as her professorship at Sanford University indicates She writes as if she is an ordinary person talking to you over tea She writes with clarity One thing I learned from the book is what the National Security Advisor does I compliment her on the following that she respected other person opinions and she gave credit to her deputies and assistants which is rare to see in memoirs these days I read this as an audio book downloaded from Audible Rice narrated the book I can recommend this book to anyone interested in history or political science


  7. says:

    This is a great book that caused me to re evaluate my thoughts about the Bush administration While I was somewhat daunted by the 734 pages I learned a TON about other parts of the world so am glad I read it I would definitely recommend it


  8. says:

    Condoleezza Rice may very well be the most intelligent woman in the world and this nearly 800 page memoir is a worthy reflection of just such an accolade This book is true to its title is far from an autobiography in almost every way Dr Rice reveals sparse details about her personal life except when relevant aside from relating tales of her humble beginnings her parents upbringing in Alabama when a friend of hers was killed by the Ku Klux Klan; or of her love of playing classical piano NFL football and discovering golf As a memoir of her years as the National Security Advisor and Secretary of State within the Bush 43 Administration this book is about as rich plentiful as one could hope in all of its precise fascinating detailsDr Rice's memoir is essentially a chronological history of all events she was involved in from the election of President George W Bush to the response to the 911 terrorist attacks to peace brokering between India and Pakistan and Israel and Palestine and even South Korea and North Korea Condi as her friend President Bush almost always refers to her causing her to wonder if using her nickname in official settings undermined her abilities at all or was simply mildly embarrassing is very even keel in her diplomacy and she rarely if ever loses her cool It's exactly this trait that makes her such a favourite among so many of the world's leaders as was the case with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to this dayI must admit to finding the lengthy coverage in this book of the events that lead to the 2003 Ira War to be particularly captivating Obviously there have been many accusations that the premise by which war was mobilized on Ira were lies concocted by President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney Usually such claims are made without merit and this book verifies that incontrovertibly While intelligence and data may not have been current or even accurate at times the concept was simple can a risk be taken that Ira does not have weapons of mass destruction? Certainly not and to the point where Ms Rice is even offended by the suggestion that deception was involved in order to fight a war against Saddam Hussein further underscores the preposterous nature of the accusations Going even a step further under President Obama and a time when several arguably dangerous countries build weapons of mass destruction unchecked by the United States the decision to topple Hussein as one of the world's worst dictators in history seems that justified to say nothing of the fact that it was never a unilateral decision made by just President Bush or just his staff or even just the United StatesCondoleezza Rice is not without her detractors but she does not use this book as a means to attack them to any salacious extent Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and even VP Cheney to an extent did not always co exist well with her and while uncomfortable it does seem to liken to disputes anyone may have with a co worker for example but obviously in careers with much higher stakes There are references to some less than cooperative moments with the former Secretary of State Colin Powell but Dr Rice dismisses those as anything substantial uite readily If there are moments of acrimony in this book it is about the well documented reviled attack by Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer on Secretary Rice's personal life As one would expect Ms Rice handles the entire event with dignity and classThis book is a veritable tome of political knowledge is only as partisan by the Presidential administration that surrounds it It is truly a revelation to get insights into that administration and also as to the inner workings of the offices of Secretary of State and to a lesser extent due to privacy and appropriately national security the office of the National Security Advisor Dr Rice is admirable inspirational in her career but than that she is an absolutely remarkable brilliant woman the likes of which makes her a rarity but also a fantasic role model An amazing book about an amazing woman's journey through the Washington political rat race


  9. says:

    Jesus said Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God Matt 59 Whenever I read or think of that verse I will think of Condoleeza Rice Her service to our country in Washington and especially as Secretary of State helped keep our nation safe and saved countless lives when nations in the middle east and the far east were on the brink of war Without her efforts millions would probably have died and the world would be a much worse place todayHearing the details of her job was enlightning as well as hearing how she negociated and worked with other government officials prime ministers and presidents was inspiring She is a very intelligent woman of great character who lives in reality but reaches out for the best results possible We need people like her in government and in the public eye She is someone our children and especially our daughters would do well to study and emulate In an age when many of our celebrites who have character of ill repute and a history of engaging in juvenile shenanigans are foolishly exalted as role models Condoleezza Rice is someone who stands out as a wise and honorable woman worthy of such a role And once again like so many other biographies and books I've read I was reminded that how the press portrays people and events is terribly different from how they really are


  10. says:

    This is the second book by Rice I've read While her first book Extraordinary Ordinary People is about her family and herself this latter book is pretty much a history of her work since she became national security advisor in 2001 until she retires from government service in 2008 This book gives you incredible insights behind some of the major events in the international politics that was unfolded in the news media It kinda connects the dots between what you see on TV or read in the paper and how policies that led to those events ate made You also learned about relations between Rice and some of the senior staff in the Bush administration For instance I didn't know that Don Rumsfeld didn't uite get along well with Condoleezza Rice before reading this book The book is rather long at 734 pages and the fact that what is written in this book is pretty much her recollection of major events that happened during her 8 years in the government makes the book rather boring to read sometimes I could see her attempts to insert personal opinions into how she perceived those events but the book still lacks a bit of feelings and emotions one would expect in a memoir Despite these drawbacks I still think this is a great book to read I would definitely recommend this book to students of Int'l Relations int'l politics and foreign service people