Madam Secretary: A Memoir
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Madam Secretary: A Memoir

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  3,409 ratings  ·  224 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 October 6th 2001)
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Cristina Darabut
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 their 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...more
Hannah Notess
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.
Mary
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
Brian
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...more
Tom
Jan 26, 2008 Tom rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Siria
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
Ma'lena
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
Jamie Shew
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.
Hrpattlsp
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.
Janet
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
Chris
Dec 07, 2008 Chris rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
Josh
Sep 02, 2007 Josh rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
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
Kira
Brilliant insight into the life and work of United States' first female Secretary of State.
Quanti
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 Alza.cz, 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
Marie
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...more
Sophia
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
Arlene
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
Marty
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
Kristen


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,

"...it 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...more
Sarah
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...more
Ryan Moore
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
Jennie Leigh
I really enjoyed this. It took me many, many weeks to finish (and I'm usually a pretty fast reader) both because it was very long and because the 2nd half is incredibly dense.

Many of the reviews here and on amazon talk of the first half (which is primarily a personal story of growing up) as being great, but the second half (focused on policy decisions in her time as ambassador and secretary of state) as being too long, boring, heavy handed, etc. So I really wasn't expecting much. I was expectin...more
Jerry Landry
I am always sad when I get to the end of good books, and I felt a huge feeling of sadness when I reached the last page of Madeleine Albright's memoir. In the course of a few hundred pages, I had gotten to the point where I felt of "Maddy" as a friend. Not only does she provide excellent insight into foreign policy and the state of the world during her time in office, her personal story of becoming an American citizen, building a life with a husband and children that then ended in divorce, and pi...more
Jessica
Overall I thought it was a great. The first half of the book or so chronicles Madeleine Albright's life before working in government. This was my favorite aspect of the book. I love learning people's stories. It also inspired me to be more assertive, particularly at work.

The second half focused on events and policies during her tenure as UN ambassador and Secretary of State. It was interesting to learn about many events that I was aware of, but didn't really know what they were about given that...more
Mandi
Funnier than I expected and very personal in the first part when she talks about growing up until the time of her divorce.

However, this is ultimately a book I never finished for the simple reason that it is such a thick book I couldn't carry it around with me. So I could only read it when I sat down in my room to read. I found it interesting, I enjoyed it, but more manageable paperbacks seemed to take over. Now that I have a kindle things could be different, but I bought this book when it first...more
Amy Weiner
This was really two books, one before Madeleine Albright became Secretary of State, the other starts once she takes on that role. I liked both.

I found the first (the personal history part) quite readable and entertaining. But the second part (also easy to read) was a real "wow" for me. I am not a political junkie by any means, and I have some gaps in details of world history. The way this book was written included just enough description of the history of the areas of conflict, and the interact...more
Sherri
Autobiographies and biographies are generally not high on my list of favorites, but I have found several about political women to be fascinating. This is one of my favorite books as Madeleine Albright is an incredible person. She is tough, brilliant, funny, successful, and quite a role model. I highly recommend her story as it is truly inspirational.
Beverly
This biography reveals the story of the first woman U.S. Secretary of State. This book focuses on the defining moments in Madeleine Albright's life, identifying the periods that define her uncanny ability to triumph over adversity, her success in politics and her rise to dominance in the world of foreign policy. A fascinating lady!
Peter
It took a while but I finally finished all 650+ pages.
Madeleine Albright is and admirable person with a very interesting personal and professional story to tell. Clearly written from her own perspective and focusing on her personal role, we get a rare insight into the daily interpersonal contacts that make up "diplomacy" and can play a major role in steering the country's policies, actions and history. What looks like a machine from the outside is just individual people dealing with each other o...more
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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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