No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington
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No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  1,204 ratings  ·  167 reviews
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. In her position as America’s chief diplomat, Rice traveled almost continuously around the globe, seeking common ground among sometimes bitter enemies, forging agreement on...more
Hardcover, 784 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Crown (first published January 1st 2011)
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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-eseential 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 an...more
Dec 05, 2011 Kendra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historians, friends, family, students, anti-Bush activists
Shelves: nonfiction
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) deci...more
Virginia Albanese
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 certain...more
I left my Political Science PhD program on 9/12/2001. I’ll always be able to remember the day for an obvious reason, and for a host of reasons I was ready to start on a new path in life. I have to admit after so many years of living and breathing political science I was ready to bury my head in the sand for a bit (well, relatively speaking). So, Rice’s book is about the first truly political book I’ve read in a long while. She covers her beginnings in the administration as the National Security...more
Kathleen Hagen
No Higher Honor: a Memoir of my Years in Washington, by Condoleezza Rice, read by the author, Produced by Random House Audio, downloaded from

This book is one to be reread in a few months, maybe more 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...more
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.
This is the second book by Rice I've read. While her first book, Extraordinary Ordinary People, is more 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 pa...more
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 clas...more
Brandon Halvorsen
Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God." (Matt. 5:9) 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 today.

Hearing the details of her...more
I really enjoyed reading this book. I bought the Kindle edition and sadly failed to look at how long the book is (750ish pages). I like politics, but not that much.

My favorite part of the book was the epilogue, which was a delightful pep-talk about Democracy and the Arab Spring. I don't tend to agree with the GOP, but that didn't stop me from enjoying this book. This book helped me realize that I'm more of an independent than I ever gave myself credit for (I agree with GOP more than I thought)....more
No Higher Honor supports author, Joel Mowbrey's book: 'Dangerous Diplomacy'. No Higher Honor besides giving behind the scenes stories & descriptions, which are very interesting, makes two strong points in my opinion that supports 'Dangerous Diplomacy': 1) the U.S. State Department's culture is to 'make a deal'. Any deal, just so there's a deal completed; regardless whether its in the U.S. best interest or NOT, just get a deal done, and 2)Almost every meeting, issue, event and situation that...more
Toby Harnden
No Higher Honour: a Memoir of My Years in Washington by Condoleezza Rice; Condoleezza Rice’s memoir of life at the centre of George Bush’s White House, No Higher Honour, is a classic piece of score-settling with her rivals, says Toby Harnden.
By Toby Harnden
1009 words
15 November 2011
© 2011 Telegraph Group Limited, London

There’s a saying in Washington that every political memoir can be boiled down to six words: “If Only They’d Listened to Me." If that’s true then...more
Timothy Browning
I think I've probably had the most respect for Ms. Rice out of any of the members of this administration. She always seemed serious and focused on getting the job done rather than pushing some personal or political agenda. I disagree with some of her politics and even more with some of the policies that she had to enforce, but I believe that her motives are good. She paints a pretty clear picture where most of the Bush presidency was a war with her and Colin Powell on one side and Rumsfeld and C...more
Wow, this book manages to make major domestic and international controversies seem boring and impersonal. Reads like a history text or a witness deposition.
A Standford graduate fluent in Russian and a trained concert pianist, Dr. Rice offers an insightful and vivid account of her eight years of service; entrenched in details of her punishing schedule as National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State.

A highly candid and detailed memoir of one of the highest ranking African-American women in the Bush administration. As observed from the halls of the White House, Dr. Rice shares her tension with some high ranking officials in Congress and vario...more
I read this when I was 17.This was a REALLY good book on the tenure of Condoleezza Rice and her time at State and NSC. Lots of interesting details on the inner workings of these institutions. One role that the national security advisor usually finds himself/herself in is having to manage the relationship between the Secretaries of State and Defense, particularly challenging for Rice because Rumsfeld and Powell rarely got along. Interesting accounts of her management of Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia...more
Too long, even for a Condi lover like myself. Every time I read a political memoir, I wish American politicians - or maybe this should be a universal rule - would be required to get an MFA in nonfiction first. I think that would be a good prerequisite before entering public service.

But this book does shine light on the Bush Administration. You thought they were disorganized. That maybe they didn't think everything through. You have no idea. She reveals some of what we already know: Donny Rumsfe...more
I am almost done with this long long book, and I'm afraid I remember very little of it. The impressions are still there - Rice is an academic writer, her prose is decent but lacks any emotion that I relate to. The memoir reads like a defense of reasons to stay with the Bush administration, and at times, she even feels compelled to defend Bush, writing more than once that he is wiser than he appears to the public. Rice comes off as a very good person, led by monotheistic beliefs and standards, wi...more
This political memoir doesn't come across like some others I've read. Instead of a "see how smart I am" focus, this one seems focused on "see how a normal person reacts to these world events". Rice appears less a leader than an observer and occasionally an expert. Bush appears in this book to be the wise man in the corner who gets the last word. Rice repeatedly calls the Oval Office "the Oval", which sounds like something on a gameshow or in professional wrestling. She doesn't call Bush "pres",...more
I have always admired Condoleeza Rice ever since she became a prominent figure in the George W. Bush Administration. Her Memoir of her time in Washington cemented my high opinion of her as a talented diplomat, an intellectual powerhouse, and a genuinely good person. The book itself is heavy in details as it covers relationships with many foreign leaders, the thought-process behind decisions and the difficulties of negotiating with such varied personalities and distinct cultural bias.

This book k...more
Rice recounts her Washington days with an honesty sure to upset other members of the Bush administration. Offering personal accounts, as well as historical context, this is the best memoir to come from Bush-era staffers. As bad as the Bush years were to some, withour Rice's voice of reason, they no doubt would have been much worse. I left this book with a tremendous amount of respect for Rice and the challenges she faced in the White House.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this memoir. My expectations were low because of the cast of characters. However, like any well told story, Condoleezza does an excellent job at helping see the characters from a different vantage point. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand what leadership looks like without position authority.
Although this book was excellent and incredibly detail oriented, it was almost too wordy and descriptive. Because there was so much information, I needed to read the book very slowly as to not have my head explode. Another reviewer called this book dense. That to me is an understatement. Like all Condi books, though, it is was well written and engrossing!
I think I gave it high marks for the work she accomplished. She is clearly a professor as she explains everything every time. She also places EVERYTHING in context. I learned much from this book, but she does go on. She is certainly free about giving other people credit and accepting blame for things even if they weren't her fault. Classy lady.
She always intrigued me. SO I picked up this book, but I enjoyed only a little of it. Her super-detailed accounts of every single meeting she ever had with a foreign politician was too much for me.
You may not like her politics, but she is a strong woman and a role model because of this. Its a bit of a slog to work through the book but I am pleased I did
Aug 17, 2012 Kevin marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I just bought this book and have started reading it. I believe I will take notes as it's rather dense. I'll keep you posted.
Rod Rice
Ms. Rice's intellect and deep desire to serve her country came through quite clearly in this interesting insight into the politics of the 21st Century. It is both a memoir and a history. I know that this book has been an inspiration to many who came from similar backgrounds as Ms. Rice.

Her perspective on the post 9/11 domestic and foreign policies sheds a clear light on the challenges facing the Bush administration during one of the more trying times of American political and military history....more
Сургуулийн амралтаар амрангаа хоёр сайхан ном уншиж дуусгасны нэг нь Condoleezza Rice хэмээх Америкийн Төрийн Нарийн Бичгийн Дарга болоод Аюулгүй байдал хариуцсан Ерөнхийлөгчийн Зөвлөх байсан мундаг эмэгтэйн бичсэн "Илүү дээд нэр төр үгүй" хэмээх Вашингтонд байсан он жилүүдийнх нь дурсамжыг уншив. Америкийн Баптист чуулганы пасторын охин байсан энэ хар арьст ухаалаг хатагтайн ном уншсан зорилго маань охиныхоо карьерийг багаас нь эхлэх гэсэн далд хүсэлтэй минь шууд холбоотой хэрэг. 765 хуудас бүх...more
Wow, great book! I was always a fan of Condoleezza Rice and saw her as one of the few bright spots in that administration. This book seemed fairly honest in its detailed portrayal of events. She admits to many mistakes and to many decision from the administration that were made out of fear following the events of 9/11. Also, it’s clear she liked the President very much, but did not always trust his judgment. I would argue that most of the foreign policy success during this administration came as...more
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Condoleezza Rice is the 66th United States Secretary of State, and the second in the administration of President George W. Bush to hold the office. Rice is the first black woman, second African American (after her predecessor Colin Powell, who served from 2001 to 2005), and the second woman (after Madeleine Albright, who served from 1997 to 2001 in the Clinton Administration) to serve as Secretary...more
More about Condoleezza Rice...
Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me A Safer and Better World Iraq in U. S. Foreign Policy: Testimony before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U. S. Senate, by the Honorable Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State The Soviet Union And The Czechoslovak Army, 1948 1983: Uncertain Allegiance

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