Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Secretary - Kim Ghattas

Goodness gracious I have reviews to catch up on. I still have one more post for Left Coast Crime, but I haven't had a chance to steal any extra time to put it together, but it's coming, I promise.

In the meantime, I have been reviewing some non-crime fiction for Shelf Awareness and I decided that I'm going to share those reviews here, too. As with my own blog, we review the books we feel most excited about for Shelf Awareness. Since I enjoy them enough to write about them for Shelf Awareness, I think it's appropriate to share here as well. Certainly one or two of you out there may have an interest!

Anyway, the first one I'm going to share with you is my review of Kim Ghattas' non-fiction piece called The Secretary. It appeared in Shelf Awareness last month and I was quite inspired by it. The Secretary was also chosen as one of the starred reviews for the March 12th issue.

“Just as they had expected her to be a prima donna in the Senate, so too people at the State Department were bracing for a diva. Instead, she was the one pouring the coffee.”

Kim Ghattas, a BBC State Department correspondent, brings a unique perspective to her narrative covering the four years she spent as part of Hillary Clinton’s press corp. Ghattas spent her youth in war-torn Beirut, waiting for the great United States superpower to swoop in and the save day. So she understands the people around the world who are waiting for that very same thing today.

Her experiences traveling with Clinton have shown her the diametrically opposing expectations most of the world have for the U.S. and the tight rope both the Secretary and the President must walk when it comes to diplomatic relations. Hillary Clinton walked that tight rope with confidence and determination.

From Middle East peace talks to the sinking of the Cheonan to WikiLeaks, Ghattas takes her readers along in the Clinton “Bubble,” experiencing the Secretary’s successes and disappointments. Ghattas provides succinct political background information, allowing readers a full understanding without bogging the book down with overwhelming detail. She has drawn an empathetic, respectful, and most of all patriotic Secretary of State. Despite exhausting days, unexpected events, and a world with a tarnished view of the United States, Clinton believes in the good her country can do and she worked tirelessly to make change happen.

Visiting more countries than any other Secretary of State to date, Hillary Rodham Clinton made the world her stage, and “It was hard to imagine any other secretary of state responding to an audience’s expectations with such passion.”

The Secretary is available in hardcover (ISBN: 978-0805095111) from Times Books. There is also an unabridged audiobook version (ISBN: 978-1452662183), narrated by Kate Reading, from Tantor Audio. And for those who may be interested, Ghattas has a half hour documentary on the former Secretary of State you can view online here.


Carol April 9, 2013 at 12:51 PM  

i can't decide whether to pick this one up or not. Hillary Clinton is fascinating, but I don't tend to read non-fiction.

Jen Forbus April 9, 2013 at 1:13 PM  

Carol, might be a good one to pick up from the library. In the past I haven't been a huge non-fiction reader either...and I'm still particular about what non-fiction I read, but it was simply so fascinating...mainly because of Hilary, but also because of the perspective of the world this offered. I know I look at things a bit different now because of the book.

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