Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review: Extraordinary, Ordinary People

Often, I pick up auto-biographical books only to put them down after a few chapters, or I find that I read them but slowly, trudging through them. That was not the case with "Extraordinary, Ordinary People" by Condoleezza Rice.

I have found Condoleezza Rice to be a very interesting person, while knowing little about her. Reading her book, I learned that we have a bit in common: she's from Alabama and she graduated from high school at a young age. I expected a book about someone who is known politically to be more about her political life. I think it was largely because this book was not about her as a political figure that I found it so interesting.

"Extraordinary, Ordinary People" is really about her family (which, of course, includes her). It begins with her parents stories, their parents, how they were raised and how they came to be married to each other. She details her childhood, growing up in segregated Birmingham, living through the race riots, bombings and generally what it felt like to her during this time. As well as, how it felt when things finally started changing. She shares her experiences both there and in Colorado where her parents moved when she was in high school.

As a child, Condeleezza planned to become a concert pianist, and it wasn't until her Junior year of college that she discovered foreign affairs and decided to pursue that route of study, leading her to become the figure we know her to be. Along the way, she wore many hats and accomplished many firsts. It would seem that she could accomplish anything she set out to do and often found doors opening that she never considered.

The book starts and ends with her parents lives. As a testmament to the fact that this book is not about politics, or Condoleezza has a political figure, the book ends with the death of her father, just weeks before she begins her job as National Security Adviser. I had hoped that it would go further, and share more of her story, not just during her time in the White House, but also what she has been doing since then.

*I received a free review copy of this book from

1 comment:

  1. I admire Condoleezza Rice and have been interested in this book. So glad to know it's interesting! I'm visiting with the Book Lover's Blog Hop from