Condoleezza Rice, one of most powerful and controversial women in the world, has until now remained a mystery behind an elegant, cool veneer. In this stunning new biography, New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller peels back the layers and presents a revelatory portrait of the first black female secretary of state and President George W. Bush’s national security adviser on September 11, 2001. The book relates in more intimate detail than ever before the personal voyage of a young black woman out of the segregated American South and also tells the sweeping story of a tumultuous half-century in the nation’s history.
In Condoleezza Rice: An American Life , we see Rice’s Alabama childhood under Bull Connor’s reign of terror in “Bombingham,’’ the name given to Birmingham when it was the central battleground of the civil rights movement; her education in foreign policy under Josef Korbel, a charismatic Czech intellectual who also happened to be the father of Madeleine Albright, the only other female secretary of state in U.S. history; and Rice’s confrontations with minorities and women while she was provost at Stanford University in the 1990s.
Examining the current administration, Bumiller explores in depth Rice’s extraordinarily close relationship with George W. Bush, her battles with Vice President Dick Cheney, and her indirect but crucial role in the ousting of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Bumiller shows us Rice missing clues to the September 11 attacks, waging war against Saddam Hussein, and counting election returns with Karl Rove in 2004. In addition, we watch Rice’s recent attempts to salvage the ruins of the Iraq policy she helped create and to avoid war with Iran.
Drawing on extensive interviews with Rice and more than 150 others, including colleagues, family members, government officials, and critics, this book offers dramatic new information about the events and personalities of the Bush administration. With great insight, Bumiller explores Rice’s effectiveness as national security adviser and secretary of state, her attempts to revive classic American diplomacy, her longtime political ambitions, and her future on the world stage.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Condoleezza Rice: An American Life|
|Release Date: 12-11-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Condoleezza Rice: An American Life
Excerpt from Chapter 1
Twice as Good
The story of Condoleezza Rice begins at the close of the nineteenth century on a cotton plantation in southeastern Alabama, near the flourishing little town of Union Springs. The area was on the edge of Alabama's Black Belt, named for the rich soil and slave labor essential for cotton, the state's number one cash crop. By the early 1890s the slaves had been free for more than a generation, but so many remained as sharecroppers on the masters' plantations that planters still controlled the lifeblood of the land. New railroads that intersected in Union Springs had only made the planters richer, as their grand Victorian and Greek Revival homes attested. Now they could send their cotton to the markets in Montgomery in hours instead of the days it had taken by mule.
In 1892, according to the census records of the surrounding Bullock County, Condoleezza Rice's grandfather, Albert Robinson Ray III, was born. His father was a plantation field hand. But Albert's grandfather, at least according to Rice family lore, was the white owner of the plantation, and his mother was a favored black servant in the plantation household. The family has no written record of Alto, and there are no clues in the 1890 or 1900 Bullock County census records. Rice knows little about Alto-her great-great grandfather-or the nature of his relationship to her great-great-grandmother beyond the apparent one of sexual exploitation of servant by master common to this place and time. "I know that Alto, who was white, was either Italian-born in Italy and made it here somehow, or his parents made it here som