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Extraordinary, Ordinary People Audiobook

Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family

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Publisher's Summary

Condoleezza Rice has excelled as a diplomat, political scientist, and concert pianist. Her achievements run the gamut from helping to oversee the collapse of communism in Europe and the decline of the Soviet Union, to working to protect the country in the aftermath of 9-11, to becoming only the second woman - and the first black woman ever -- to serve as Secretary of State.

But until she was 25, she never learned to swim - not because she wouldn't have loved to, but because when she was a little girl in Birmingham, Alabama, Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor decided he'd rather shut down the city's pools than give black citizens access.

Throughout the 1950's, Birmingham's black middle class largely succeeded in insulating their children from the most corrosive effects of racism, providing multiple support systems to ensure the next generation would live better than the last. Condoleezza's father, John, a minister and educator, instilled in her a love of sports and politics. Her mother, a teacher, developed Condoleezza’s passion for piano and exposed her to the fine arts. From both, Rice learned the value of faith in the face of hardship and the importance of giving back to the community.

As comfortable describing lighthearted family moments as she is recalling the poignancy of her mother’s cancer battle and the heady challenge of going toe-to-toe with Soviet leaders, Rice holds nothing back in this remarkably candid telling. This is the story of Condoleezza Rice that has never been told, not that of an ultra-accomplished world leader, but of a little girl - and a young woman - trying to find her place in a sometimes hostile world, and of two exceptional parents, and an extended family and community, that made all the difference.

©2010 Condoleezza Rice (P)2010 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"[R]ecords a thrilling, inspiring life of achievement."(Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (270 )
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  •  
    Steve Bethel, OH, United States 03-03-11
    Steve Bethel, OH, United States 03-03-11 Member Since 2005
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    "Fabulous!"

    From Michelle Carver - I rarely write reviews but I simply had to with this book. This book is not a political book about her term under President Bush. And you don't need to agree with her politically to find yourself absolutely enthralled by this book. As the title suggests, this is a memoir of her family history, how she was raised, the choices her amazing parents made to help her become who she is today. Besides being a very engaging writer, I thoroughly enjoyed her narration as well. I found myself completely sucked into the book unable to turn it off even late into the night, like a good fiction novel might capture me. She was raised in Birmingham, Alabama during the civil rights movement and her completely thorough description of everyday life as a black family carving out a piece of happiness through those tumultuous times was simply astounding. The details she recalls paint a completely clear picture, I could see what she was describing and it was terrific, every stage of her life fascinating. She's completely amazing and I hope she writes more, I'll definitely read it. Two thumbs up!!!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Balakrishna Kennesaw, GA, United States 10-29-10
    Balakrishna Kennesaw, GA, United States 10-29-10 Member Since 2013
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    "March without a march"

    A wonderful story of march of 3 people marching to end segregation without marching in public. An inspiring story about human struggle, focus and determination. Must listen.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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    Roger arcadia, CA, United States 10-17-10
    Roger arcadia, CA, United States 10-17-10 Member Since 2002
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    "A truly amazing family."

    A truly amazing parents. Very interesting to hear of her experiences growing up as a young black girl in the south.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Moore Bay Area, CA USA 04-19-12
    Michael Moore Bay Area, CA USA 04-19-12 Member Since 2005

    mcubed33

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    "A loving tribute to a loving family"

    This is a very personal and illuminating account of Condoleeza Rice???s childhood in Birmingham, Alabama through her early years as a professor and as Provost at Stanford University. Very well written and memorable stories, particularly from her Birmingham days. Her descriptions of family and church activities reminded me very much of my own upbringing in southern California. In my case there was, however, the very great difference that I was not barred from most of the restaurants in town, nor relegated to back entrances to doctors??? offices, and never threatened by armed bands who were apparently being encouraged by the infamous ???Bull??? Connor and the local police.

    A very worthwhile read for anyone with an interest in Condoleeza Rice or in gaining a better understanding of racial segregation as it existed in the South before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill New Lenox, IL, United States 12-06-10
    Bill New Lenox, IL, United States 12-06-10
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    "Extraordinary"

    Because Ms. Rice is extraordinary, the story of her parents and family is extraordinary. It gave me great pleasure to see how the sacrifice and foundational love of her family made Condoleezza Rice a reality in this world.

    Although we are quite different our families were very much the same. Many of her stories caused me to reflect on my parents (now deceased) and helped me to recognize how extraordinary the ordinary people in my own life have been.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sallie Sutherland, VA, United States 11-22-10
    Sallie Sutherland, VA, United States 11-22-10
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    "Thoroughly Enjoyed It!"

    Toward the end, I hesitated beginning a chapter as I thought it would be the final chapter. I was relieved each time when a new chapter began. Unfortunately, there IS a final chapter. I loved listening to Condoleezza talk about Condoleezza! I didn't want my listening experience to end. She is definitely extraordinary, herself.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert SPRINGDALE, ARKANSAS, United States 05-08-17
    Robert SPRINGDALE, ARKANSAS, United States 05-08-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Loved this book!"

    This is an excellent book that details the early life and inspiration to the later successes of Condoleezza Rice. Her parents are immortalized in it's pages. One can see the love, commitment and passion that they had for their daughter. A beautiful book that speaks to the soul of every child fortunate enough to have parents that loved them beyond measure.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shoshana McKinney 06-23-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Deep Respect for Her Now"
    If you could sum up Extraordinary, Ordinary People in three words, what would they be?

    How two determined parents molded an amazing woman!


    What did you like best about this story?

    How they overcame segregation and prejudice. How they held together during the mother's illness.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Acting lessons!!!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, but I def wanted to finish.


    Any additional comments?

    It's inspiring to see

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RevInTampa Tampa, FL 06-14-17
    RevInTampa Tampa, FL 06-14-17 Member Since 2010

    Pastor Darryl

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    "Powerful Story of a Great American"

    I had started to read this book and was enjoying the text a few years ago but when the audio version came out read no less than by the author, my heart ♥ was overjoyed.
    The book was appropriately named and what a great story of how Condi Rice's parents nurtured and supported their daughter to the point that she achieved great success despite the huddles and obstacles.
    Condi takes us on a grand tour of not only her life but through history. She is a role model to all young people but especially children of color that faith plus hard work will take you a long way.
    By the end of the book the was something special hearing the former secretary of the US call her father, "daddy". I while heartily recommend this book to all as it is a story of some great Americans without being preachy or political.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    MDMBA 09-19-16
    MDMBA 09-19-16
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    "A true hero"
    What did you love best about Extraordinary, Ordinary People?

    She is incredibly gifted, very insightful, I enjoyed her deliberate attitude about making decisions and a fair balanced assessment of the world.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Extraordinary, Ordinary People?

    I wept when she recounted the death of her mother and then father.


    Which character – as performed by Condoleezza Rice – was your favorite?

    Herself


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Must read/listen book. Life changing. I love her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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