No Higher Honor by Condoleezza Rice
A Memoir of My Years in Washington

57%

13 Critic Reviews

...although Ms. Rice’s prose is clear, precise and without wasted words, it can be a slog as we follow her on endless treks through some of the least desirable regions of the world, meeting some of their least desirable leaders.
-Washington Times

Synopsis

From one of the world’s most admired women, this is former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s compelling story of eight years serving at the highest levels of government.  In her position as America’s chief diplomat, Rice traveled almost continuously around the globe, seeking common ground among sometimes bitter enemies, forging agreement on divisive issues, and compiling a remarkable record of achievement.
 
A native of Birmingham, Alabama who overcame the racism of the Civil Rights era to become a brilliant academic and expert on foreign affairs, Rice distinguished herself as an advisor to George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign.  Once Bush was elected, she served as his chief adviser on national-security issues – a job whose duties included harmonizing the relationship between the Secretaries of State and Defense.  It was a role that deepened her bond with the President and ultimately made her one of his closest confidantes.
 
With the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Rice found herself at the center of the Administration’s intense efforts to keep America safe.  Here, Rice describes the events of that harrowing day – and the tumultuous days after.  No day was ever the same.  Additionally, Rice also reveals new details of the debates that led to the war in Afghanistan and then Iraq.
 
The eyes of the nation were once again focused on Rice in 2004 when she appeared before the 9-11 Commission to answer tough questions regarding the country’s preparedness for – and immediate response to – the 9-11 attacks.  Her responses, it was generally conceded, would shape the nation’s perception of the Administration’s competence during the crisis.  Rice conveys just how pressure-filled that appearance was and her surprised gratitude when, in succeeding days, she was broadly saluted for her grace and forthrightness.

From that point forward, Rice was aggressively sought after by the media and regarded by some as the Administration’s most effective champion.
 
In 2005 Rice was entrusted with even more responsibility when she was charged with helping to shape and carry forward the President’s foreign policy as Secretary of State.  As such, she proved herself a deft crafter of tactics and negotiation aimed to contain or reduce the threat posed by America’s enemies.  Here, she reveals the behind-the-scenes maneuvers that kept the world’s relationships with Iran, North Korea and Libya from collapsing into chaos.  She also talks about her role as a crisis manager, showing that at any hour -- and at a moment’s notice -- she was willing to bring all parties to the bargaining table anywhere in the world.
 
No Higher Honor takes the reader into secret negotiating rooms where the fates of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Lebanon often hung in the balance, and it draws back the curtain on how frighteningly close all-out war loomed in clashes involving Pakistan-India and Russia-Georgia, and in East Africa. 
 
Surprisingly candid in her appraisals of various Administration colleagues and the hundreds of foreign leaders with whom she dealt, Rice also offers here keen insight into how history actually proceeds.  In No Higher Honor, she delivers a master class in statecraft  -- but always in a way that reveals her essential warmth and humility, and her deep reverence for the ideals on which America was founded.
 

About Condoleezza Rice

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CONDOLEEZZA RICE was the 66th United States Secretary of State and the first black woman to ever hold that office. Prior to that, she was the first woman to serve as National Security Advisor. She currently teaches at Stanford University.
 
Published November 1, 2011 by Broadway Books. 786 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Nov 20 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for No Higher Honor
All: 13 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 7

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by SUSAN CHIRA on Dec 09 2011

With “No Higher Honor,” Condoleezza Rice has written an exhaustive brief to acquit herself before the bar of history, which she hopes will be more forgiving than the caustic judgments of the present.

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Financial Times

Below average
Reviewed by Demetri Sevastopulo on Nov 04 2011

The biggest disappointment of her memoir is that despite portraying herself – accurately – as having a very close relationship with Bush, she fails to paint a detailed portrait of the man.

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Book Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by Bookreporter on Nov 01 2011

In NO HIGHER HONOR, she delivers a master class in statecraft -- but always in a way that reveals her essential warmth and humility, and her deep reverence for the ideals on which America was founded.

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Washington Times

Below average
Reviewed by John R. Coyne on Dec 02 2011

...although Ms. Rice’s prose is clear, precise and without wasted words, it can be a slog as we follow her on endless treks through some of the least desirable regions of the world, meeting some of their least desirable leaders.

Read Full Review of No Higher Honor: A Memoir of ... | See more reviews from Washington Times

LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Scott Martelle on Nov 04 2011

In fact, with more than 700 pages of reminiscences, there's an awful lot more than those headline moments, making "No Higher Honor" an exhausting walk in Rice's shoes...

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The Independent

Below average
Reviewed by Lesley McDowell on Sep 30 2012

Her reaction to 9/11, and admission that they didn't get it quite right in Iraq have been hailed as frank revelations, but they are really the least she could give here.

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The Telegraph

Below average
Reviewed by Toby Harnden on Nov 14 2011

She tries to be high-minded and frame her book as a sober examination of statecraft, but there is no hiding the steel, and tinge of bitterness, behind much of what she writes.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Matthew Green

...overall No Higher Honor is a thoughtful, self-reflective and informative account of foreign policy-making and crisis management in the Bush administration.

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PopMatters

Excellent
Reviewed by Sarah Watson on Jan 27 2012

As for No Higher Honor, Rice gives a respectful, mostly diplomatic, and meticulously thorough account of her years in Washington.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Glenn Kessler on Oct 24 2011

Now, in her memoir, “No Higher Honor,” Rice looks back, offering unexpected candor about her tenure as national security adviser in Bush’s first term and as secretary of state.

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The New York Review of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Joseph Lelyveld on Dec 22 2011

What’s missing from this account...is any coherent presentation of the strategic reasoning behind the rush to preemptive war.

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Foreign Affairs

Excellent
Reviewed by Walter Russell Mead on Mar 31 2012

Nevertheless, Rice’s rigorous and fair-minded accounting will likely help soften the historical verdict.

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New Statesman

Below average
Reviewed by JONATHAN POWELL on Nov 14 2011

The book contains no secrets or great revelations. Rice kept no diary and these memoirs are largely reconstructed from official documents.

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Reader Rating for No Higher Honor
79%

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