Magazine February 7, 2011, Issue

Roots of Success

Condoleezza Rice in January 2002 (Larry Downing/Reuters)
Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, by Condoleezza Rice (Crown Archetype, 352 pp., $27)

If you are looking for a comprehensive autobiography of former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, or even a comprehensive autobiography of her younger years, this is not the book for you. True to its subtitle, it is a memoir of family, specifically a memoir about her parents, Angelena and John Wesley Rice Jr., who died in 1985 and 2000 respectively. The book ends on Christmas Eve in 2000, with the passing, after long-term heart disease, of Rice’s father, exactly one week after the newly elected President Bush asked Rice to serve as his national security adviser.

Of the “juicy stuff” regarding

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