View Full Version : An 'Extraordinary' memoir: Becoming Condoleezza Rice

10-12-2010, 10:02 PM
By Marco R. della Cava, USA TODAY
PALO ALTO, Calif. — This can't be the right place.

You would expect the home of Condoleezza Rice— the most successful African-American woman in the history of the executive branch — to be festooned with mementos from her tenure under two Bush presidencies, which culminated in her role as secretary of State.

Perhaps some photos with world leaders. Ornate gifts from political counterparts. Lavish furnishings.

Nope. Instead, the decidedly generic condo reserved for Stanford University faculty is filled with antiques that belonged to Rice's parents, sports memorabilia and a prominent photograph of her with ... cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The only sign of George W. Bush is found on a hockey-puck-size Lucite disc, which is inscribed with a 9/11-era quote from the 43rd president.

But make no mistake: There is no distancing going on. Rice is as proud of her record as ever.

"I look back on those eight years fondly," she says, dressed in black, sitting in a small den decorated with NFL helmets and framed shots of her with golfers Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson.

"I'm glad I got to serve in a time of tremendous consequence," says Rice, 55. "We did some things well. Some things not so well. But I'm a big believer that history has a long arc. We'll have final determination on things we did long after I'm gone. And that's fine."

A change in direction

Rice set out to dissect her political life in a book, but that was put on hold when she opted to first pay tribute to the people who truly shaped her, Birmingham, Ala., educators John and Angelena Rice. The result is Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (Crown, $27), on sale Tuesday.

"People often ask me, 'How did you get to be who you are?' And I always say, 'You had to know my parents,' " she says.

What is made especially clear by this parental tribute — simultaneously released as a young-adult book — is that Rice was fiercely doted on, the only child of middle-class teachers who insisted she simply had to be "twice as good" as her peers.

10-13-2010, 09:39 AM
I might read that, I like Condi. If the GOP ran her for president, I'd vote for her. She's smart, but not conservative enough probably to get the nomination. I like her for that reason, though.

I would much rather see her as the example of a republican woman than Sarah Palin.

10-13-2010, 11:15 AM
"But I'm a big believer that history has a long arc. We'll have final determination on things we did long after I'm gone. And that's fine."

Good one.

I am not a fan of biography, especially of the recent historical figure, but I might read this one.