Extraordinary, Ordinary People by Condoleezza Rice tells the interesting story of her life and the life of her parents. Through this book, I was able to learn how Ms. Rice came to be such an important figure in the Bush administration.
Ms. Rice grew up in Birmingham,Alabama in the late 50’s – early 60’s. At that time, the black middle class tried to insulate their children from the effects of racism. They had their own schools, their own social clubs, their own churches, their own everything. Segregation was in full force. By 1963, this insulation was impossible, with bombs going off in her neighborhood, and four little girls from a neighborhood church losing their lives in a church bombing.
Her father, a preacher and education, taught her to love sports and politics. Her mother, a teacher, taught her to love the piano, and how to appreciate the arts. They set no limits on her. Whatever she wanted to do to further herself, they found a way, from piano lessons, to ice skating, to entering college at an earlier age than most. The way was usually a sacrifice on her parent’s part.
She ended up at Stanford as a graduates student, becoming a Professor, and then the Provost. As an expert in Soviet and Eastern European Affairs, President George H. W. Bush sought her knowledge to form a U. S. Policy as the Soviet Union fell apart.
Later, for George W. Bush, she went to the White House to become the first female National Security Advisor.
It is a family story of how they fought the odds and overcame the racism they faced in Birmingham, and for a time, the rest of the U.S. They did it with love, faith, and determination.
I very much enjoyed this book. Ms. Rice told not only the good parts of her life, but also the bad. Nothing is held back. It is quite an inspirational book for any young woman.