Madam Secretary

A Memoir
Narrated by: Madeleine Albright
Length: 24 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (269 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In cart

Publisher's Summary

A national best seller on its original publication in 2003, Madam Secretary is a riveting account of the life of America's first woman Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. For eight years, during Bill Clinton's two presidential terms, Albright was a high-level participant in some of the most dramatic events of our time - from the pursuit of peace in the Middle East to NATO's intervention in the Balkans to America's troubled relations with Iran and Iraq. In this thoughtful memoir, one of the most admired women in U.S. history reflects on her remarkable personal story, including her upbringing in war-torn Europe and the balancing of career and family responsibilities, and on America's leading role in a changing world.

With a new epilogue by the author, Madam Secretary offers an inimitable blend of Albright's warm humor, probing insights, and distinctive ideas.

©2013 Madeleine Albright (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
What members say
Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    201
  • 4 Stars
    48
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    178
  • 4 Stars
    48
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    190
  • 4 Stars
    37
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

SUCH an Interesting Life

Secretary Albright writes long books, but then, she's had such an interesting life and has a lot to share. Which she does -- her young life, her juggling of life as a working mother, her progression through several government positions, particularly as a woman in the later half of the 20th century, her experiences with so many in our government and leaders around the world, her observations, involvement, and thoughts on many world events.

Love the audio option because of her narration. She's just great in telling her story with humor and in a straightforward style. Having heard her speak at the Madeleine Albright Institute at Wellesley College, I highly recommend attending her talks, whenever possible.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

well performed and amazingly detailed

So I really enjoyed this book, I thought Albright did a fantastic job narrating her own book. it did feel a little dry at times but I think that's understandable considering she is a politician talking about some really in-depth details about history. but those details are very well laid out. I do think that she does assume a bit too much about the readership. that is that we know a lot or at least some basic knowledge about history, and, as a millennial, I did not or do not know much about history before Clinton at least in that period of my early life and leading up to it.

For that period it was a little difficult for me to keep up, but once we get past that and into the complex with Israel and with Afghanistan it became very engaging read. I'm intrigued to read more by her despite the fact that I may get a little lost at times. However, she clearly knows what she's talking about. she doesn't hesitate to admit when she was wrong, but she stands by her decisions, despite conflict at times, when she trusts her gut. I admire her for this. I think it is fantastic that she stands what she believes in. I love that she talks about how the one take away she really wants us to get is that she did her best. And I think that's true for most politicians.

I liked the bit where she explored her early life I thought it was interesting and full of details. I'm interested in reading other memoirs by her where she explores her early life in more detail. still one thing that really stood out for me in her early life leading up to her adulthood was her desire to learn and improve herself. To me that is one of the most admirable qualities a person can have. And it is one of the many reasons that I can't help but admire her as politician, as a woman, and just is a person in general.

Now one more problem I had with the book was that when it came to people disagreeing with her she did not go very deep into the opposing side of the argument. she would introduce it but she would refute it with her own logic and without really exploring the other side in depth. I'm curious to hear a less biased point of view. Perhaps there are details she's leaving out; I doubt she would do so intentionally. I get the impression she is trying to be honest and up front, but given it is her perspective it's going to be inherently biased. Nevertheless, it is still amazingly detailed. it's well done, and I am interested in reading more books by her simply because I think she knows what the hell she's talking about.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A very impressive lady

I met Madeline Albright and gave a picture with her. Given how strong, determined, and forceful she sounds, I was surprised at how small she is. She has a lot of strength crammed into a small package. She is a very impressive woman. The book is full of interesting stories and I learned a lot about foreign affairs. But it's a bit long, especially the parts about Kosovo and the Israeli Palestinian Peace talks.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great account of her view of events

Being aware of the events that she was actively part of, made me realize how much more is involved behind every decision that is made by government. I found her interpretation very accurate and interesting to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Long, wandering, narration very flat, needs more detail

I purchased this audiobook having heard good things via some sources about the author and wanted to learn more about her. In this partial autobiography she relays a wide variety of information about herself, her upbringing and career path, ultimately and surprisingly into the White House. The problem I had was it is a very long book and her narration is very flat and difficult to listen to for a long time. In fact I had to take a break from the book for a bit to get through it. Also the material tends to wander for lack of a better term. I thought her relation of some of her visits on foreign soil interesting but lacking sufficient detail. There is of course as with any autobiography a tendency to highlight items aligned with one’s views, and to that extent there is a definite bias towards one side of the political equation. If you look past that there are some interesting nuggets, in how she was treated etc. I had the impression going into this book she was much more self-assured when in fact she relates she was not. One part that really bugs me though is that I know from trusted sources she was aware of her Jewish heritage in college or before, yet she claims she did not have knowledge, which then makes me question the veracity of her presentation. I do not see this book to be worth the large face value price tag, but was willing to accept it at a discount as an audiobook. I do appreciate her service and her struggles as a woman in unfriendly places at home and abroad.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • J.
  • 11-13-18

Difficult to listen to due to monotone delivery

I was really interested in learning about Ms. Allbright's childhood and subsequent life however I gave up listening, at least so far. It has been too difficult to listen to her gravelly voice with monotone delivery. I listened to another of her books, Fascism, and did not have this problem.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing, Beautiful

What an incredible read! Madeline Albright inspires us all as a woman who did not begin her political career until she was in her 30s with two small children. She was also the first female Secretary of State and came from an immigrant family. I learned a lot from Madeline and feel so inspired for learning more about her journey.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly engaging

No one else could narrate this book (not to mention pronounce all those Eastern European names)! Nigh on perfection. Thank you very much, Madam Secretary.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful

Thoroughly good insight into Madeline Albright's tenure as Secretary of State. As a young woman interested in foreign policy, this was great look at both her personal story and her professional career.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Impressive

In 2012 I read Albright’s “Prague Winter” (my favorite one so far). Then in 2018 I read her book on “Fascism A Warning”. In April 2020 I read her most recent memoir entitled “Hell and Other Destructions” which covers the period after being Secretary of State to the current time. I had been examining the books she had written and realized I had not read her most important memoir of her time a Secretary of State. I have now corrected that over-site by reading “Madam Secretary: A memoir” published in 2003.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. What I like about reading a memoir is learning about an event from their viewpoint. In fact, I enjoy reading about an event from various people’s viewpoints, which means I read a lot of memoirs. Albright is tougher on herself than on other people. She admits her mistakes and states what she should have done or said with no excuses. Some people admit to no mistakes so this is refreshing. The book covers her early life to her divorce then her life working for the government. Most of the personal information is at the beginning of the book: her diplomacy role and policy viewpoints are in the later part of the book. She covers in-depth her period as Ambassador to the United Nations and as Secretary of State. I noted how helpful it was to her to have been at the United Nations before becoming Secretary of State. I highly recommend this book.

The book is twenty-four hours and twenty-three minutes. Albright does a good job narrating her own book. It is great to hear it straight from the author.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MagikPen
  • MagikPen
  • 07-17-15

My first biography- not disappointed

I loved the book.
Initially I was worried that the book will be long and boring, but the opposite was the true.
Madeline Albright is a clear communicator, her story flows beautifully.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John McCluskey
  • John McCluskey
  • 06-07-16

Czech Mate

Would you try another book written by Madeleine Albright or narrated by Madeleine Albright?

Probably not, I found it a little patronising and the accent a bit irritating.

What three words best describe Madeleine Albright’s voice?

Nasal, screechy, irritating. Sorry Madeleine.

Could you see Madam Secretary being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

I already watch the TV Show of the same name and that does a great job. Not so sure this could be adapted to make it appealing.

Any additional comments?

Before reading (listening) to the book I had a pre conception that Madeleine Albright would have been more of a trailblazer. I can see she did a lot of good but I didn't think as much of her after the book as I did before which I guess wasn't the point in the book. I liked the Czech back story at the beginning but she just felt like a career political worker rather than the innovator I thought she was. Perhaps she could just have read the foreword and left the book narration to someone with a less grating voice in my opinion. Not as good as Hard Choices even although the raw material has more depth.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Christine lee
  • Christine lee
  • 01-18-19

A life well lived

A way to deepen your knowledge of the world and how it works. An
important book as the writer educates and entertains as she remembers.
Makes me proud to be an American and a woman !

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Richard
  • Richard
  • 05-13-18

A bit of a struggle

This is a very challenging audiobook to review.
The author is a fascinating individual and writes with great detail about her life and the events she was involved in.

However the real issue with this audiobook is that the author is the last person who should be reading the story. She is not good enough and 24 hours of her voice is a real challenge.

Be careful it is hard to concentrate on and at times soporific.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for NickNoodles
  • NickNoodles
  • 10-01-15

Amazing woman

I was reluctant to get this but as I was using a credit and it is so long I thought it would be good value for money!

Turns out Madam Secretary is an amazingly inspirational story full of fascinating background to an incredible career - I strongly recommend this book!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gøril
  • Gøril
  • 04-27-15

A personal first-hand account of world events

I enjoyed the combination of the deeply personal and the thorough analysis of the political dilemmas and decisions of the 1990s especially. It gave me the feeling of having been in the room.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chantal
  • Chantal
  • 04-14-13

Good listen

I had previously seen Madeline Albright speak in person and had found her to be a very engaging public speaker. Given her very interesting personal story and the many paths she's taken, I was very interested to read her memoir. Not having the time though to sit down to give it a proper read, the audiobook has been a good compromise. I don't find her reading to be as engaging as an unscripted public event, but it's decent and still good.