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Madam Secretary: A Memoir

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,013 Ratings  ·  275 Reviews
In this outspoken and much-praised memoir, the highest-ranking woman in American history shares her remarkable story and provides an insider's view of world affairs during a period of unprecedented turbulence. A national bestseller on its first publication in 2003, Madam Secretary combines warm humor with profound insights and personal testament with fascinating additions ...more
Paperback, 736 pages
Published April 6th 2005 by Miramax Books (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

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Cristina Darabut
Oct 15, 2014 Cristina Darabut rated it really liked it
Long book. :) Still I appreciated 3 things:
- 1st is personal: never stop learning. No matter how tired, how busy or how bored you might be, train your mind.
- 2nd is related to the way she wrote the book. The first 300 pages are quite easy to read because she outlines her personal life from the moment she was born until her divorce. From there on she concentrates on explaining the international context and the way she handled the different situations as a State Secretary.
- 3rd comes from the 2nd
Hannah Notess
Mar 17, 2014 Hannah Notess rated it really liked it
Now after reading this I know things about Mogadishu! And Kosovo! Did you know we fought a war there, you guys?

Seriously I learned a lot, and while I'm not necessarily on board with how the U.S. throws its weight around in the world, I feel like I have a much better understanding of why and how that happens after reading this book.

And there are some funny jokes; I like her sense of humor.
Sep 08, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Albright's autobiography, "Prague Winter," so much, I decided to read this earlier biography which focuses almost entirely on her years as Ambassador to the UN and then Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. The book spends a few short chapters on her life before she assumed these two positions - fleeing Czechoslovakia for England with her parents just ahead of the Nazis in 1937, returning to Czechoslovakia after the war only to flee from the Russians to the US with her famil ...more
Dec 08, 2014 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I found Albright's memoir an extremely well written and informative book about her time as US Ambassador to the UN and Secretary of State in the 1990's. The memoir also touches on her personal life and addresses some of the challenges of being the only woman (or one of the very few) in the highest levels of government. The first half of the book sheds light on her personal life and her slow rise to prominence. She states that her rise to become the first female Secretary of State is an unlikely ...more
Jul 01, 2011 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting autobiography of the first woman Secretary of State. Madeleine Albright was born in Czechoslovakia. During World War II her family fled to London. Then when communism took over their country, her family came to the United States. It really shouldn't have been a surprise that Albright got involved with foreign policy since her father was an ambassador before the war.

Albright did a lot as Secretary of State. She had to deal with Israel and the PLO, North Korea, Saddam H
Jan 26, 2008 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: political science dorks
She's a bright woman, but a little single-minded in her relentless support of american style democracy as a one-size-fits-all solution. While conspicuously self deprecating at times, her pride overwhelms any and all second guessing. She was right, everybody else was wrong.
The North Korea chapter was a treat. The Israel-Palestine negotiations section maddening.
Lisa Koch
Aug 01, 2015 Lisa Koch rated it it was amazing
Behind my grandparents, my #1 hero in the world. This book is so good. If she had been born in the US, I would give up everything to help her be the president. But part of what makes her so amazing is her Eastern European lineage, her family's escape, her passion for that part of the world (and the work she did in that area on behalf of the UN and the State Dept - some of which is detailed in this book). Her work in Africa was amazing. I cried as I read her accounts of the genocide in the Balkan ...more
A highly interesting and candid memoir from a woman who made her way from the destruction of post-Second World War Europe to one of the highest governmental positions in the United States. Albright recounts her achievements and involvements in an engaging, forceful, and funny manner; while I don't agree with all her political stances or methods (she's perhaps a little one-size-fits-all in her advocacy of American-style democracy throughout the globe), I love that what she wants to be remembered ...more
Winter Sophia Rose
Jun 03, 2015 Winter Sophia Rose rated it it was amazing
Detailed, Informative, Fascinating & Inspiring!!! I Enjoyed It!!!
Teele Murphy
Feb 24, 2015 Teele Murphy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, memoir
Albright's memoirs are poignant, funny, reflective, irreverent, and above all, enlightening. She said in the beginning that she didn't want to just describe events and her role in them, but to really engage with everything that happened, and she succeeded immensely. Sprinkled with wit and humor, Albright takes us through her time before serving President Clinton and then her role as UN Ambassador and Secretary of State. Though very much written in 2003, she weighs the good and the bad of her tim ...more
Mar 06, 2009 Ma'lena rated it really liked it
Madeleine Albright is a helluva woman. She has such an inherent sense of groundedness. It helps, too, that she is smarter than almost everyone else. In this memoir, Albreight manages to capture her voice and transmit her warmth, humor and sense of political fairness. She admits when she resorts to dirty tricks! This is a fascinating read just to learn about her life--an extraordinary journey in itself, but taken within the historical context of her ascension into politics, it is compelling. She ...more
Aug 05, 2015 Vendula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amazing
Man! You have no idea how much I enjoyed this book. Really very well written and interesting ever for those who are not interested in politics. I know a lot of people hate Madeleine Albright but I am proud she pochází z Czech Republic. Nobody ever made it as far as she.
Ryan Moore
Apr 01, 2014 Ryan Moore rated it it was amazing
I've always admired Secretary Albright especially for her work in the Balkans. I remember watching her give a speech to the Serbian people in Serbo-Croatian. I meant a lot to me then and now that she was able to give the speech in their language. Even as a foreign policy wonk she holds a special place for me because she's the first Sec of State that I remember. She digs into wonderfully delicious details not only of her life but of the foreign policy of her time. She reminds us not to let anyone ...more
Gloria Piper
Aug 29, 2015 Gloria Piper rated it really liked it

Madeleine Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and came to the US at age 11 when Hitler's forces invaded. Through her father's political influence as a university professor and author, as well as her marriage to a news journalist, Albright had a leg up on meeting the rich and powerful. Always a workhorse, she gradually advanced on the political scene through volunteer work and became a force for good when she was appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She continued to win widespread res
Jamie Shew
Aug 05, 2013 Jamie Shew rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I enjoyed the first part of this book but bogged down into the second half. Her writing changes between the two parts of the book. In the first half, she is engaged in telling a remarkable story of her childhood and how she fought her way for respect as an adult. The second half, while interesting, becomes very detailed and loses its way as she discusses her time as Secretary of State. I find Madeleine Albright a fascinating person and encourage everyone to try this book.
Sep 07, 2009 Hrpattlsp rated it really liked it
Madeleine Albright jumped to the top of my Most Admired Women list after I got into this fascinating story of her personal and political lives. She is brilliant, industrious and resilient- and weathered passages that would have brought many people down for good. She is a huge contributor to international diplomacy and a worthy feminine model, and this volume does a good job of describing why.
May 09, 2014 Janet rated it really liked it
Madeline Albright read this herself. It was kind of like having a little visit with her everyday as I got in the car and drove from here to there. When she was named as the first woman Secretary of State, I wondered about what her credentials were. Well, this book establishes her abilities, her brilliance, and as with the Clinton autobiography, how hard it is to be a public figure, how hard the work is, and how unaware we are of the personal sacrifices public officials make. Ms. Albright's inter ...more
Dec 07, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: History buffs
Recommended to Chris by: Discovery Channel - HR
I know... I can't believe this is on my list of "read books" either... long story.

Book was really good though, never even knew what Madeleine Albright's significance was. Very interesting lady... went through alot to make it where she is today.
Sep 02, 2007 Josh rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone with nothing better to do
though there's some nice behind the scenes history, and she's a formidable character...i'm not sure that i'm going to ever finish this book. life's too short. this book is too long.
Rita K
Feb 19, 2014 Rita K rated it liked it
My spouse and I listened to this as we headed south. We thoroughly enjoyed it. We learned more about the life of the first female Secretary of State than we thought we would. Her explanations of the diplomatic process made us realize how little we knew of the difficulties faced to accomplish even the smallest compromise. I always thought she was probably a pretty resolute and feisty person, but I did not know her thoughts on the use of force. We usually think of females as soft on war. She is de ...more
Aug 09, 2007 Kira rated it really liked it
Brilliant insight into the life and work of United States' first female Secretary of State.
Ann Aldrich
Mar 23, 2015 Ann Aldrich rated it really liked it
The complexity of four years as Secretary of State is told with with consistent humility. Albright takes ownership of mistakes and shortcomings as well as pride in her accomplishments. I wish there had been maps included, since my geography base is quite weak. The book gave me a much better understanding of the history of the Middle East conflicts, the early causes of fanaticism and terrorism, and the personalities of some who are still on the scene today. It is heartening to think that some con ...more
This book is an epic. There are many interesting aspects of Albright's life, that although often tedious, give insight to past decisions and also to the inner workings of the govenment. This memoir covers Madam Secretary's early life with her birth and early childhood in Eastern Europe and much of the activity and background of her family. It reveals her early educational experience and success and the nature of her divorce and moves on to her career and ultimately becoming Ambassador to the Uni ...more
Jan 21, 2014 Quanti rated it really liked it
Tahle kniha měla jen dvě volby - čtyři hvězdičky nebo nedočíst, takový je to fascikl (přestože v mém případě ebooku jen pomyslný). Naštěstí pro mě šlo o ten první případ. Madeleine je zatím nejlepší z knih, které jsem dostala zdarma k nákupu od, a přestože jsem si od ní původně moc neslibovala, uchvátila mě. Zřejmě je to z velké části dané českým původem ministryně, který dodává dílu pro českého čtenáře celou další rovinu, ale obrovskou zásluhu má především její přístup a styl vyprávění. ...more
Oct 01, 2013 Marie rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I always enjoy reading biographies of women of influence. Especially of the older generations where successful women were more rare. They needed a special kind of strength and intelligence and luck and often a strong family behind them, but not always.

Albright is still politician enough to not to spill loads of beans or what she really thinks about some of the people she has worked with. On the whole she has a good word for everyone she talks about in her book, even her opponents although her ir
Mar 01, 2016 Sophia rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved reading the Fmr. Secretary of State's memoir. I had to skip some chapters in the Clinton years because there was just SO MUCH DETAIL, and frankly, I'm not all that interested in the intricacies of foreign policy. That said, the first half of the book was incredibly personal and Mrs. Albright's lovely personality shone through the print. She is such an amazing role model who has lived through and experienced first-hand so many important moments in history, not to mention the fa ...more
Aug 16, 2013 Arlene rated it liked it
Madeleine Albright has had a very interesting life, personal and public. She devoted the first half of this book to telling her unique story, often using humor to lighten the load of the heavy effect of WWII on her family. The second half of this book, however, gets bogged down with global history from her time as ambassador to the UN and as Secretary of State. The behind-the-scenes stories about her encounters with various world leaders of the era were ultimately interesting and entertaining, a ...more
Sep 02, 2013 Marty rated it really liked it
An honestly told life story, very enjoyable when she is talking about her personal life and thoughts. It gets bogged down when she tries to explain what she did during the Middle East negotiations or the Iranian situation. I read the enjoyable first part of the book, skimmed the middle section (Middle East negotiations) and read the last part. The first third is definitely the best part of the book. She writes of her family and growing up as a Czechoslovakian diplomat’s daughter. She was born in ...more
Oct 01, 2012 Kristen rated it liked it

I finished it! This is an interesting book, worth reading, but can definitely be a slog at times. I really liked her comments in the epilogue. On meeting many people and traveling while talking about her book, she says,

" has redoubled my sense that whole groups of people--domestically and internationally--have stopped communicating with each other.

"Ironically, the information revolution has not helped. We have much more access to information, but we also have much more choice about what i
I LOVED this book! Perhaps, I'm a little biased because I love Madeleine Albright and more than lean left politically, but this book is really well written.

Obviously, this book is rather dense. She covers not only her story, but more than half a century of global history as well. Obviously, it's a lot to follow, but Madeleine Albright presents this history through her own personal experiences with anecdotes and a very direct style of writing. It's a surprisingly easy read given the tough subjec
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Madeleine Korbel Albright (born Marie Jana Korbelová) was the first woman to become United States Secretary of State. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996 and was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate 99-0. She was sworn in on January 23, 1997.
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“I was taught to strive not because there were any guarantees of success but because the act of striving is in itself the only way to keep faith with life.” 100 likes
“Historie se žije dopředu, ale píše dozadu.” 0 likes
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