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Six-time New York Times bestselling author and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright--one of the world's most admired and tireless public servants--reflects on the final stages of one's career, and working productively into your later decades in this revealing, funny, and inspiring memoir.

In 2001, when Madeleine Albright was leaving office as America's first female secretary of state, interviewers asked her how she wished to be remembered. "I don't want to be remembered," she answered. "I am still here and have much more I intend to do. As difficult as it might seem, I want every stage of my life to be more exciting than the last."

In that time of transition, the former Secretary considered the possibilities: she could write, teach, travel, give speeches, start a business, fight for democracy, help to empower women, campaign for favored political candidates, spend more time with her grandchildren. Instead of choosing one or two, she decided to do it all. For nearly twenty years, Albright has been in constant motion, navigating half a dozen professions, clashing with presidents and prime ministers, learning every day. Since leaving the State Department, she has blazed her own trail--and given voice to millions who yearn for respect, regardless of gender, background, or age.

Hell and Other Destinations reveals this remarkable figure at her bluntest, funniest, most intimate, and most serious. It is the tale of our times anchored in lessons for all time, narrated by an extraordinary woman with a matchless zest for life.

Author Notes

Madeleine Korbelová Albright was born May 15, 1937 in the Smíchov district of Prague, Czechoslovakia. She attended Wellesley College, in Wellesley, Massachusetts, on a full scholarship, majoring in political science and graduated in 1959. Her senior thesis was written on Czech Communist Zdenek Fierlinger Her PhD is from Columbia University. She holds honorary degrees from Brandeis University; the University of Washington; Smith College; University of Winnipeg; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , and Knox College. Albright worked as an intern for The Denver Post and as a picture editor for Encyclopædia Britannica. She was invited to organize a fund-raising dinner for the 1972 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Ed Muskie of Maine.This association with Muskie led to a position as his chief legislative assistant in 1976. However, after the 1976 U.S. presidential election of Jimmy Carter, Albright's former professor Brzezinski was named National Security Advisor, and recruited Albright from Muskie in 1978 to work in the West Wing as the National Security Council's congressional liaison. Albright joined the academic staff at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in 1982, specializing in Eastern European studies. In 1992, Bill Clinton returned the White House to the Democratic Party, and Albright was employed to handle the transition to a new administration at the National Security Council. In January 1993, Clinton nominated her to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Albright soon took office as the 64th U.S. Secretary of State on January 23, 1997 and she became the first female U.S. Secretary of State and the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. Albright now serves as a Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service. Her title Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 made The New York Times Best Seller list for 2012. Her most recent book is Fascism: A Warning.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Former secretary of state Albright (Fascism: A Warning) weaves geopolitics with her own life story in this intelligent and personable memoir. Opening with her departure from the U.S. state department in 2001, Albright writes that she was determined to say "hell, yes" to all opportunities to help promote democracy and empower women. Though she criticizes fellow secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice for their failure to adopt a "logical strategy" to confront terrorism after 9/11, Albright also points out her own mistakes, including an insensitive answer to a 60 Minutes question about UN sanctions on Iraq. In several chapters, she highlights personal connections with women, including family members and old friends. She also describes her relationship with Hillary Clinton and the disappointments of the 2008 Democratic primary and the 2016 election, and promotes building educational opportunities for girls. Other chapters deal with lighter issues, including a Gilmore Girls cameo. Albright ends by lauding the power of the Constitution to protect American democracy and expressing confidence that, at age 82, she's ready for new projects. She proves to be a capacious storyteller, willing to share personal disappointments, such as the dissolution of her marriage, as well as professional accomplishments. This appealing memoir will charm readers interested in contemporary politics and women's issues. (Apr.)

Kirkus Review

The former secretary of state reflects on the world that has emerged since she left office in 2001. Following her previous memoir, Madam Secretary, and particularly the self-explanatory Fascism: A Warning (2018), Albright begins by confessing that the end of her tenure as secretary of state found her "a little overcooked." She was worn out, frazzled, and out of shape from too little home cooking and not enough exercise. Yet, she allows, she didn't want to retire, so, after ceding her post to Colin Powell, she examined her options: write a memoir, hit the lecture circuit, teach, establish "a small consulting firm, run primarily by women." Never one to be pinned down to one thing, she did pretty much all of them. She founded that firm, which had a hard take on its mission: Do good, and "whatever the cost to our bottom line, we didn't want our children to think of us as creeps." Therefore, no lobbying for big tobacco or the gun lobby, and by her account, Albright and colleagues steered big pharma into a few beneficial measures. The lecture circuit was a touch less satisfying, as was "the endurance test known as a book tour." But postgame diplomatic analysis turns out to be her thing, always from the perspective of one who understands that diplomacy is the art of persuading "each side to settle for part of what it wants rather than prolong a squabble by demanding all." Naturally, she despairs at the Trumpian approach, to say nothing of the man himself ("It was one thing to crave change; quite another to choose Donald Trump to define it"). And is he a fascist? Maybe not by dictionary definition, though not for want of trying--and in any event, Albright concludes, "he has the most antidemocratic instincts of any president in modern American history." Dishy, as policy-wonkish memoirs go, and a pleasure for readers interested in the art of negotiation. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

After leaving an illustrious career in government service, most notably as the first female secretary of state, at age 64, Albright could not have been faulted for wanting to rest on her laurels. But that's not Albright. Seemingly genetically predisposed to be constantly in motion, she tackled her post-government life with the same verve and determination she brought to her globe-crossing career as the nation's top diplomat. From forming her own consulting firm with other diplomatic corps alumni to serving on corporate boards to joining with fellow ex-ambassadors to address issues of global health, wealth, and security to writing such significant works as Fascism (2018), Albright not only said yes to new opportunities, she created bold new initiatives to address old challenges, domestic and global. Her engrossing memoir of 20 years of life outside the political arena is rich with insider anecdotes, while her self-deprecating humor and droll levity are the perfect counterpoints to riveting episodes of more sobering significance. Albright is a national treasure, and her continued engagement in public service is inspiring and indispensable.

Library Journal Review

After her term as the first woman to hold the office of secretary of state ended in 2001, Albright contemplated life as a private citizen but ultimately opted to spend her time advocating for issues important to her. As a follow-up to her previous best seller, Madam Secretary: A Memoir, Albright's new book focuses on the past two decades of her life, and the initiatives and activities with which she is involved, ranging from starting her own consultant agency and giving speeches to teaching and chairing committees on international issues. She discusses major world events, such as the Arab Spring and the Iraq War, and her assessment of key players in those conflicts including her successors as secretary of state, from Colin Powell to Hilary Clinton to Rex Tillerson. Additionally, Albright relates more personal details of her life's story, particularly discovering her Jewish heritage and coming to terms with aging and other late-in-life transitions. She ends with her assessment of the Trump administration from a foreign policy perspective and her hopes for future national unity. VERDICT This passionately told account of Albright's "afterlife" will inspire readers to become involved in the issues meaningful to them. Recommended for all interested in politics, leadership, and women's studies. [See Prepub Alert, 12/1/19.]--Rebekah Kati, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill