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Publishers Weekly, 2004-01-05 As one might expect from someone with Albright's resume, the former Secretary of State speaks clearly, makes her points succinctly and doesn't stray into speculation, fancy or whimsy. She begins with her childhood in an intellectual Czechoslovakian family and moves fairly quickly through her education, courtship, marriage and motherhood before arriving at what can be considered the guts of the story-her impressive period of service as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and, eventually, as Secretary of State. Her no-nonsense tone is a perfect match for the material, her voice at once serious and warmly maternal. There are a few times when emotion seeps into her voice: when discussing her heated run-ins with Colin Powell or when relating details of the Kenyan embassy bombings and mass graves in Bosnia. An early passage in which she tells of the poor health of her twin babies and how she didn't want to name them until she knew they would survive is particularly moving. Such moments are necessarily rare in a memoir of this nature, but they help paint a well-rounded picture of this remarkable lady. Simultaneous release with the Miramax hardcover (Forecasts, Sept. 15). (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-09-15 Albright proposes to "combine the personal with policy" in these memoirs, a sensible narrative strategy, considering her emblematic struggles as a working mother breaking through the glass ceiling of the foreign policy establishment to become U.N. ambassador and secretary of state. Albright's recollections of her background as a child refugee from Czechoslovakia and its twin scourges of Nazism and Communism (later, she accounts for the belated discovery of her Jewish heritage) suggest a basis for her belief in "assertive multilateralism." Although she laments coining this derided term, it's an apt name for her doctrine that human rights should be protected by the international community, led by American power. In the Clinton administration, this was the hawkish position, opposed by Colin Powell, William Cohen and others more cautious about military commitments. Albright treats these and other rivalries with restraint, but she is relatively candid about policy and personality conflicts, to an extent unusual in a diplomat and welcome in an autobiographer. Pitched at a popular audience, Albright's anecdotal style is engagingly direct, but it's not suited to mounting a comprehensive defense of humanitarian interventionism in light of failures in Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia. Albright is willing to admit mistakes, though she generally pursues the political memoirist's standard agenda of spinning the historical record. Filled with shrewd character sketches of world leaders, Albright's descriptions of the Balkan conflicts, the Middle East peace process and other critical negotiations are thorough and insightful. This memoir captures the disarmingly blunt purposefulness that made its author an irrepressible force in foreign affairs. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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