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Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  650 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
In this captivating memoir for young people, looking back with candor and affection, Condoleezza Rice evokes in rich detail her remarkable childhood.
Her life began in the comparatively placid 1950s in Birmingham, Alabama, where black people lived in a segregated parallel universe to their white neighbors. She grew up during the violent and shocking 1960s, when bloodshed be
ebook, 336 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2010)
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Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir. It was very interesting to read about Condi's childhood in Birmingham during the civil rights unrest of the 1960s and very interesting to consider how being a witness to all that made her more determined than ever to get her education and pursue her dreams. Her parents were very focused on providing a top-notch education for her, and they sacrificed a lot financially for her. My favorite quote of the book: " parents did have me convinced that even if I cou ...more
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite whatever political views you may hold, this is an extraordinary memoir about the challenges Condoleezza faced as both an African-American in childhood and a woman in adulthood in pursuit of a career, how she questioned what direction her life was directing her at times, but always met each challenge with determination. She also meets some very interesting people along the way. You will also see where her determination comes from when you read how her dad accomplished many firsts for blac ...more
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always been curious about Dr. Rice. So when I came across her book I purposed in my mind to read it. As I read I learned about Dr. Rice the woman. She was clearly proud of her up bringing and took a lot of time to write about it. As she wrote about the many things she had achieved in life I was proud of her and inspired by her story.
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing read! I could not put it down.
If you thought you knew Condoleezza Rice, you have no idea! A truly ground-breaking woman with a brilliant story and experience of Birmingham, Alabama during its darkest history. A true testament to the strength and ambition instilled in her and honored throughout her life.
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, ordinary family and Me is beautiful and charming book for the youth. The story is a reflection of Rice's childhood. As an African American living in the south she was always surrounded by pain and inequality. It was a place where black people lived in a parallel universe to their white neighbors. From the youth perspective, I never experienced such pain, racism, neglect and anything else that comes with living in Birmingham, Alabama in the early 1 ...more
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It flowed very well and could be considered a quick read, even though I didn't do it that way. I was initially interested in ready this autobiography when it came into our home last Christmas because I was curious. Secondary to her involvement in politics and her prodigious background, Condoleeza Rice is a black woman of influence. I figured it wouldn't hurt to know more about her so if one day Callie asked about influential black women or men, I'd know at least a few ...more
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit, memoir
I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir. It was well-written, touching at times, and well-paced. Ms. Rice and I were born in the same year, and as I was reading this, I thought about how much she accomplished in her life, the people she worked with, and her place in history. I am amazed at her tenacity, ambition, and her intellect. I want every one of my students to read how this woman, who grew up in Jim Crow Birmingham, accomplished so much with her life. Nothing and no one held her back. Ms. Rice em ...more
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It was a page turner. I didn't know much of anything about the famous author and I wasn't interested in her either, but someone gave me the book. It is about a girl who grew up in the heart of the civil rights movement as a black girl in the center of US history. She was an only child of parents devoted to her intellectual growth and future success. It is a story of a tight-knit group of 3 that can only exist to this level when there is only one child in the family. S ...more
Annabelle Dorion
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read my first autobiography (at least that I can remember). Condoleeza Rice spoke at my high school graduation, and back then she was President Bush's National Security Advisor. I didn't know much about her then, and I wish I did. Having read her autobiography, Rice's life was truly interesting to me, from her childhood in Birmingham, Alabama during the 1960s all the way to her PhD graduation and the connections she made throughout her life that lead her to some of the highest positions one ho ...more
I really enjoyed Condoleezza's memoir and would have given 5 stars but she failed to write about her appointment as U.S. Secretary of State. The book was written well after she served in office so I'm unsure why only a mention appeared. Other than that I found her story fascinating. She gives credit to her upbringing and the effort her parents provided to ensure she was given the best education possible. She was raised during a time when all odds were stacked against her, and racism and segregat ...more
This is the young reader's version of Condi's memoir. I found her life story very compelling and finally understand how this intelligent black woman from segregated Birmingham, AL became a republican. The one thing that bothered me was how "dumbed down" it was, using very simple sentence structures and chapters that were less than 10 pages. Teens can certainly be challenged much more. Since this was modified for middle and high school readers, I imagine more complex explanations are given in the ...more
Aug 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the record, this book is actually called: A Memoir of Family Extraordinary, Ordinary People. But since that wasn't in Goodreads, I'm guessing this is the right one and they got the title wrong! Anyway, I LOVE Condoleeza Rice. She's brilliant, hard-working, prayerful and just an all around impressive person. I saw her speak earlier this year at an event and I was blown away. So, I enjoyed reading about her life from her perspective. But, it's not necessarily a "page-turner" and if you don't s ...more
Pam Davidson
It is an amazing story about an amazing woman. This is really a how-to book for people to see the sacrifices her parents made to insure that she had a good education and good experiences in music, athletics etc. It is quite a story. For a black girl growing up under segration in Birmingham, AL her parents and teachers always stressed that for her to get ahead in a white world, she had to be twice as good as a white person. And, she was/is!
Dec 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A love story between two parents and their only child. Tracing her life from a very segregated Birmingham, Alabama in the mid-fifties to the eve of George W. Bush's presidency in 2000, this is a story of magnificent accomplishments and a few heartbreaks. While written for a younger audience, I enjoyed and was touched by the book.

(Note to daughter: the book is on your bed at home for your reading.)
Rob Di
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent insight in to the formative years of Condoleezza Rice. The memoir is a quick and easy read about a fascinating person. Whether you agree with her politics and her decisions as National Security Advisor / Secretary of State, you will gain a ton of insight in to what made her in to the woman she became and gain respect for her accomplishments.
Nov 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting shift from my usual reads. Condoleezza Rice grew up in Birmingham, so I was interested in that aspect. She worked hard to become a very accomplished woman. As an only child, she was totally spoiled. Her parents gave her everything to help her be successful. It doesn't always work that way.
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely remarkable book by an amazing and well-acomplised woman. While she is highly regarded in the political world, she tells a down-to-earth story about everything from her childhood to being the first black woman National Security Directory and then Secretary of State. Well worth the read.
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised with how readable and likable Ms. Rice is thru this work. I feel as though I understand her mindset and stance just a bit more. Written for YA's, this is certainly a worthwhile read for all history buffs. She provides an interesting and rather different perspective of living and growing up in Alabama in the 1950's and 60's. One which needs to be heard.
Jan 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this autobiography. Condi Rice is an extraordinary woman, bright and motivated and capable. Her story of success, after growing up in still-segregated Birmingham, is impressive and enlightening. This book was more about her background than the "No Higher Honor", and, as such, an easier read. I still hope that she runs for President!
Dayna Downing
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is written for a younger audience, but I still enjoyed it, particularly her relationship with her family. It gave a reader like me, who wondered how she could grow up
in the segregated South and identify with Republican politics, an understanding of how she chose her political ideology. She is a brilliant woman for whom I have a great deal of respect, after reading this book.
Paul Miller
Interesting biography - eye opener was about the role (lack thereof) of middle class blacks in the Civil Rights period. Unfortunately, the writing is just not very compelling. At least we know she did a lot of it herself :--)
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love biographies and memoirs and this was no exception. So inspirational to see how she overcame so many minority battles. What an example her parents were in their sacrifice, love, and support of all her ambitions.
Julia Gray
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a terrible reviewer because, usually, if I take the time to read the book I love the book so I'm way to generous with stars. I also love Condolezza Rice. This is an easy, conversational read and I was soon also turned into a huge fan of her parents, esp. Her father John Rice.
Jayne Ferrer
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating look at Birmingham's educated black populace in the 50s and 60s, a group with which most of us were unfamiliar. I enjoyed learning how far back some of Ms. Rice's relationships go and especially enjoyed the story of her achievements. I'm still hoping she'll run for president!
Peggymsu Valentine Colombo
Condi lost a little steam toward the end. The book ends as she begins her tenure as Secretary of State for GW Bush. I enjoyed the parts about her family and Stanford the most, although my self-esteem took some shots reading about everything she has done with her life. One busy lady!
George Williams
Her recollection of the Civil Rights Movement, and her families involvement reads like revisionist history. As a witnes, of that period, there were participants or collaborators. No Black family were on the sidelines.
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written, enjoyable read. Combines a personal life rich with family and faith, and American historical events from a personal perspective. Condolezza Rice is an admirable women, regardless of political views.
Amanda Wagman
3.5 stars. I enjoyed this audiobook (read by the author to my surprise!) and learning about Condi. She is a very interesting and well rounded lady. I was disappointed that the story stops just before she goes to Washington and will have to try to find her memoir covering that time period.
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best autobiographies I've read. She does a good job not dwelling on anything negative about the heroes in the story without making them too unreal. This could be a good study in writing a life history in a positive light.
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this memoir. I already had great respect for this woman, but learning more about her upbringing and her life made me admire her more. Even if I don't agree with her politically, I think she's a smart woman who stands as a great role model for women—and men—everywhere.
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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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