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

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  2,099 Ratings  ·  225 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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Dec 03, 2012 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 05, 2011 Kendra rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jun 09, 2012 Virginia Albanese rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jean Poulos
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 ...more
Jan 15, 2012 Lynda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2012, cbr4
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
Nov 04, 2012 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
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 kee ...more
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
May 20, 2013 Ru rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 H.
Aug 30, 2014 Brandon H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies, politics
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
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
Jan 07, 2012 Marissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this book manages to make major domestic and international controversies seem boring and impersonal. Reads like a history text or a witness deposition.
Asmaa Elwany
بداية صورة الغلاف اثارت اعجابى الشديد نظرت اليها كثيرا كى ارى تلك المراة التى كانت لفترة من الزمن مراة حديدية تستحق اعجاب كاريها قبل محبيها
كتاب غنى جدا بالمعلومات :
اولا:احداث الحادى عشر من سبتمبر لفت نظرى اعراب السيدة رايس عن اسفها واعتذارها لاكثر من موضع فى الكتاب(وليس غريب فهى تنتمى لدولة تقدر امن وحياة المواطن) ، المرة الاولى التى تذهب فيها الحرب الى امريكا ،ذاك الحدث الذى لعب دورا كبيرا فى تغيير اجندة بوش الابن ونظرة امريكا للعالم
ثانيا:حرب افغانستان الحرب التى خاضتها ادارة بوش ردا على تنظ
Dec 18, 2014 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great memoir! As far as political memoirs go, I have only read a few. However, I think Condi's memoir is so refreshingly different than the others I have read. She writes a heavy intellectual and chronological account of her days as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under George W. Bush. She gave some great political, personal, and historical perspective to each issue she discusses. I felt she was candid with her feelings about certain policies and certain people which is always r ...more
Aug 15, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 14, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 21, 2013 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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).
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 C
T.Kay Browning
Apr 13, 2013 T.Kay Browning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
David Huff
Aug 06, 2015 David Huff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
A very detailed (sometimes excruciatingly so) account of Condi's term as NSA and then Secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration. Her account is comprehensive and fascinating, and she is fair and professional toward all -- even those with whom she disagrees. The personal anecdotes sprinkled through this heavy volume were especially interesting. A gracious, classy lady who could be tough when needed, and one whom I greatly respect.
Jody Phillips
Sep 17, 2016 Jody Phillips rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not really into politics, yet I found Condoleezza Rice's honest and forthright memoir of her experience during George W. Bush's years in office a thought provoking read.

While Bush is a lead character, the majority of narration is dedicated to her point of view. It focuses on her travels abroad and America's foreign policy. Rice is gifted narrator, open about her faith and her beliefs. (I loved that she narrated the audio book.) She steers clear of the dirt-slinging so common in political me
Vikas Datta
Oct 03, 2015 Vikas Datta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite interesting actually... you may well differ from several of Dr Rice's beliefs and conclusions but there is no doubt that she does present convincing arguments and possesses courage of convictions... a fair detailed guide to American diplomacy in the turbulent first decade of the 21st century...
Jul 24, 2016 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a worthwhile read for people interested in government service or the Bush Administration. It's also incredibly long and feels less like a personal autobiography than a history. A few thoughts:

First, I definitely recommend listening to this book in audio format. Condi herself does the narration, and hearing her voice gives you a sense of her poise and competence.

Second, don't expect this book to feel like a true autobiography/memoir. Although it is Condi's story in that it follows e
I liked to Condoleezza Rice before I read this book but it made me appreciate her even more. It was very interesting to hear about her time as National Security Advisor to the President and her time as Secretary of State, the first black woman Secretary of State. She went into great detail about September 11th, dealings with Russia, the Iraq war and other things that happened during the Bush administration. She gave insight on many different international leaders as well as US leaders. It was re ...more
Feb 13, 2012 Jerome rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Aug 16, 2012 Pj rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 03, 2012 Jay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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
This book took me a long time to read. It's very detailed, and sometimes a little slow, but really interesting as a whole. I don't think I really had an understanding of the job of Secretary of State until reading this memoir. I have a lot more respect now for the people who have held that position. It sounds grueling and extremely challenging. Rice gives an inside look into the Bush administration and all the decisions that were made, most of which have been highly criticized. At times, it felt ...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
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