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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

Critic Reviews

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

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  • Steve
  • Bethel, OH, United States
  • 03-03-11

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

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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

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

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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

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  • Bill
  • New Lenox, IL, United States
  • 12-06-10

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

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  • Sallie
  • Sutherland, VA, United States
  • 11-22-10

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

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  • Robert
  • SPRINGDALE, ARKANSAS, United States
  • 05-08-17

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

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A beautifully written testament of an American Family

What a wonderful read! You can hear the honesty, sincerity and unquestionable integrity of this remarkable woman. I aspire to be a parent like hers were. Highly recommend! Condi for President 2020!

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interesting world

a great look into an unfamiliar world to me. I loved the depth of her insights and her courage to stand up to criticism and be a voice for what she saw as right. a great honor to her parents and a wonderful legacy.

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Exceptional

I was a liberal democrat when Condoleezza Rice came onto the political scene. I was quite prejudice of her. Now I am a conservative. I have an appreciation for Condoleezza, I never had before. I wish hadn't been so narrow minded. Her parents were miracle workers. She is blessed to have had them.

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