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The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton to the New Frontiers of American Power

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,045 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
The first inside account to be published about Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state, anchored by Ghattas's own perspective and her quest to understand America's place in the world

In November 2008, Hillary Clinton agreed to work for her former rival. As President Barack Obama's secretary of state, she set out to repair America's image around the world—and her own. F
ebook, 368 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Times Books (first published March 1st 2013)
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Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are at least two aspects of this book by BBC correspondent Kim Ghattas that make it particularly interesting. It’s almost as if two books coexist between its covers, one written by an insider and the other by an outsider. Ghattas, born in Lebanon, covered the US State Department while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, so The Secretary has a well-informed insider view of Clinton and the way she works. Ghattas spent a lot of time traveling around the world with Clinton and her staff, a ...more
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway-reads
I received Kim Ghattas’ “The Secretary” through a Goodreads Advanced Readers contest … here is my take. Depending on ones’ political affiliation Hillary Rodham Clinton can be an easy person to dislike. She is pushy, political, polarizing, and any number of other P words. She has been a Washington fixture for 20 years, ever since Bill Clinton was elected president in 1993. As such, while she might have been new to the State Department in 2008, she was hardly a neophyte in Washington affairs. So i ...more
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kurt by: Amazon Vine
Ghattas writes this book to reflect upon the years she spent as part of the press corp following Secretary Hillary Clinton around the globe. The strengths of the book, then, come from the heart and mind that Ghattas herself brings to the work. She describes complicated diplomatic situations, like the Arab Spring and China's increasing regional influence, in ways that I can understand. She gets to the value of slow, low-profile coalition-building, which may not seem impressive but has a lot of po ...more
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, I would like to thank Kim Ghattas for giving us this straight-forward look at being a member of the press corp covering one of the most important members of a Presidential cabinet. Second I'd like to state Ghattas inarguably became laudatory of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the course of four years. However, even if you are no Hillary fan, there is much to learn from this book.

What is most fascinating is Ms. Ghattas' background as a survivor of the Syrian invasion of Lebanon in
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THE SECRETARY, A JOURNEY WITH HILLARY CLINTON FROM BEIRUT TO THE HEART OF AMERICAN POWER by Kim Ghattas was a difficult book to review. My first draft ran almost four pages. There was so much interesting material and so much that I wanted to say about it. But that review would have discouraged readers, so this is my abbreviated final draft.
Ghattas does an excellent job not only explaining the situations Hillary encountered but also how the US is viewed by many other countries, how our image an
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I found this audiobook fascinating: It reinforced for me that not only are politics local, they're personal as well. It's not possible to successfully negotiate with another party (whether it be an individual or a country's ambassador) without truly listening to the other party and sincerely responding to their concerns... Kim Ghattas's book indicates Hillary Clinton understood this need as Secretary of State.

Ghattas provides a unique insider / outsider perspective as a BBC correspondent who gr
(Note:Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program)
Only a month after she vacated her office at Foggy Bottom, it is already hard not to think about Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State without nostalgia. Ms. Ghattas' book on her time as a State Department reporter for the BBC following Mrs. Clinton makes a strong case for considering Mrs. Clinton as one of the greatest Secretaries of State to have ever come along. Ms. Ghattas has a unique view on the topic as she is both an outsider a
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Not a book about Hillary as much as a fresh perspective on US foreign relations through the eyes of a lebanese BBC journalist. Her candid insights about her own journey are an insightful and interesting way to learn about how american foreign policy actually works and why it doesn't always seem to work. If you have ever been confused about peace in the Middle East, how billions in foreign aid works, why countries can one day be enemies and another day allies, the war on terror versus war on huma ...more
Vikas Datta
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding account of Mrs Clinton, who proved herself to be a consumate and seasoned diplomat, and American power in action. Also provides an incisive view into the global perceptions of it as well as what it cannot accomplish. Though there are gaps - into relations with Russia and India chiefly as well as the Afghan quagmire - but the glimpses of US responses during the Wikileaks issue and the Arab Spring are most valuable. Additionally, the efforts of Ms Ghattas - whom I wish should consider ...more
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Kim Ghattas is a Beruit born journalist who flew 300,000 miles with Hillary Clinton during her time as Secretary of State. Ghattas mingles her life as a child in a war-torn country, dependent upon the governments of several countries, the U.S. in particular, for her safety and the future of her country. With this background, she reports, explains, and relates to the impact of Hillary Clinton during her diplomatic efforts in the mid and far-east. The result is a clear and interesting report of fo
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I wanted to know if this book was going to be pro- or anti- Hillary Clinton; the best parts are the Conclusion and the Acknowledgments, but that is just because I can't make much sense of politics and foreign affairs.
In the end, I'm pleased and will keep the book in my library. Thank you Goodreads. I hope Kim writes another book.
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A readable snapshot of some foreign policy issues that took place during Hillary Clinton’s time in the State Department, which is useful in case you were preoccupied by other things at the time (like the recession, for example). Ghattas’s personal history is interwoven with her observations of Clinton, the public and semi-private figure. Ghattas grew up in Beirut during Lebanon’s civil war and felt a deep sense of betrayal at what many believed was the United States’ green-lighting the 1990 Syri ...more
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is - trying to find the right word here.... astonishing (a bit too strong), interesting (a bit too weak), insightful (too bland), excellent (too general), amazing (too flamboyant), awesome (too overused). It is insightful, well written, and masterful. Kim Ghattas, the author, is a Lebanese reporter for the BBC who grew up in Lebanon during its civil war and its subjection as a vassal state of Syria. As such she has a personal knowledge of an oppressed people waiting for America to do s ...more
Jul 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me FOREVER to finish this book and it has nothing to do with the subject matter or author. I am not very educated on world events. I don't know what I thought I'd be reading about when the book is titled "The Secretary" of State and its author a member of her press corps. I guess I just thought it'd be this great inside look into the day in the life of a powerful woman. Well it is that...actually, it covers her 4 year term in the Cabinet and the 1,000,000 miles she traveled as the face a ...more
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5/5 stars

The author's personal story and perspective are interesting, but a large part of the book is an overview-level summary of what it's like to be in the State Department press pool and how it was on the trips Hillary took. During most of the book this doesn't feel narratively strong enough to really be that compelling. I don't think you get *that* strong of a sense of Hillary as a person for a book that is ostensibly about her, nor of those immediately around her.

I also agree with some r
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Finished Memoir "The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clintom Beirut to the Heart of American Power" by Kim Ghattas about her travels with Hillary Clinton. Knowledge - think of the knowledge from being Secretary of State for four years, plus Senator and First Lady. Hillary must have met everyone in power! From Amazon "Kim Ghattas has written a terrific book--not just our first intimate portrait of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, but also a riveting personal story about what it's like to
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction


The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the heart of American Power by Kim Ghattas is a book I long awaited, having a political science background, I have being reading about the Secretaries of State for quite some time now and this book did not disappoint me. Ghattas has a rather unique perspective as she is a BBC reporter, in the new corps traveling with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, but she was raised in war torn Lebanon, which enables Ghattas to offer the reade
This a wonderfully written book by a BBC journalist who traveled with Hillary Clinton for 4 years as she became Secretary of State. The author provides us with her background and the background of Clinton's term from the beginning to the end. I can see how much depth of knowledge she had going into the job and how her knowledge of other cultures helped immensely. Clinton was very good at making small talk and expressing concerns for family and friends of world leaders. She knew to take tea and s ...more
Florence Millo
This book probably deserves 4 stars instead of 3 but it irritated me with the constant expectation that the U.S. can solve all the world's problems. I think Hillary Clinton did a terrific job as Secretary of State and probably no one could have done a better job of it. However many miles S travels though, the people of the world are going to have to solve their own problems. The U.S. can and should help or at least not cause them.
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I learned a little more than I had about world affairs from the nightly news. Sometimes I found it hard to believe that the author was able to get into Hillary's head, and so I found myself wondering how accurate her take on Hillary's thoughts was and how much was just her interpretation.

What I did learn was just how intense the job was-both in terms of hours/commitment and how complicated it was to work with all these different leaders. New appreciation for how tough a position it is.
One reporter's account of her observations covering Hillary Clinton's term as Secretary of State. Likely because of when it was written and published, it gives short shrift to the two most interesting events of that time: the assassination of Osama bin Laden and the Benghazi attack. I recommend reading Clinton's "Hard Choices" more than this book.
Sharon Snider
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First insight into foreign relations I have had.

I was not a Hillary supporter before this book but I am now much closer. Interesting read on how our country operates in foreign policy. The author shows a human side of Hillary I did not know existed and helped me realize she is a great woman whether she becomes president or not.
Susan Grigsby
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hillary Clnton made an immediate impact on the federal workers toiling away at what is known as the Building. From the moment she stepped into the lobby of the State Department and was greeted as a rock star, she quickly sought to utilize the strengths of all its occupants. And it wasn't only lip service that she offered. Her first trip was to be to Asia. Unlike the past two Secretaries of State, she reached out to the men and women in Room 6205:
The Asia experts, the bureau deputies, the desk di
May 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Badly written, a detailed day to day diary - the weather at an airport, the meal that an aide ate, the kitten heels (?) Hillary wore - combined with superficial policy analysis. Many repetitions of obvious facts - Hillary had a mixed relationship with the press, Hillary was like a rockstar. Read like a compilation of BBC website articles.
Now, I actually generally like Kim Ghattas and her reporting (really! I do!), and I have a lot of time for her as she does at least have the background and experience of having grown up in the Middle East to lend her more credibility - but this book left me quite disappointed. I was really sad!

I think this book just irritated me because it seemed almost sycophantic (ok maybe that's a bit harsh but it sure felt like it on occasion). Sure Clinton may well have taken an entirely different approach
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton From Beirut to the Heart of American Power is a fascinating and deeply personal book that could only have been written by someone with the life experiences of author Kim Ghattas. Part biography, part memoir, and part history lesson, it's the story of both a former First Lady turned Secretary of State and a foreign journalist trying to reconcile her past experiences with what she's learning about the "large sticky web of diplomacy."

Growing up in Beir
Is the author trying to join the Clinton campaign? I had high hopes for the book after spotting it as one of those books that get promoted in the news and so forth. It's supposedly about Hillary Clinton's time as Secretary of State, but it's more of a generalized view of Clinton as SOS, the US foreign policy during her tenure and the ramifications of particular events.
The book is decidedly mixed. review mentions that the book is more about the author's POV on US foreign policy, and I
Aug 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as an attempt to learn more about Clinton than what the mainstream media shares with us. I've never read political nonfiction before (at least, not for my own enjoyment). However, the book wasn't quite what I thought it was going to be. I thought we were going to learn more about Hillary and what she's like in person - both personally and professionally. But the book only gave tiny snippets of her personality and was more of a history of major issues facing US foreign policy, as well ...more
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kim Ghattas is a young reporter from Lebanon whose upbringing in a war torn country has greatly influenced her perspective. She tells the reader that those around her always believed that the United States was pulling strings to cause the strife in her country and if they so chose they could easily end the fighting. As she moved up the career ladder to get a position with the BBC at the US State Department following Hillary Clinton around the globe in the bubble of the Special Air Mission or SAM ...more
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Thanks to Gret for suggesting this read! Amazing perspective from the author, Kim, who traveled with Hillary around the world for four years as a reporter in Hillary's traveling press corp. Kim writes for the BBC. She was born in Beirut and offers a unique perspective.

I purposely do not keep up with world news and politics. You never get the whole story and I refuse to form opinions based on half truths and incomplete information. I learned a lot about what has happened in the world between
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Kim Ghattas covers international affairs for the BBC as well as Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. She was the BBC's State Department correspondent from 2008 to 2013 and traveled regularly with the secretary of state. She was previously a Middle East correspondent for the BBC and the Financial Times, based in Beirut. Ghattas was part of an Emmy Award-winning BBC team covering the Lebanon-Isr ...more
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