Cover image for Condoleezza Rice : a memoir of my extraordinary, ordinary family and me
Condoleezza Rice : a memoir of my extraordinary, ordinary family and me
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, c2010.
Physical Description:
319 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 22 cm.
A look at one of America's most outstanding women, from her remarkable childhood in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1950s through her rise to the highest echelons of power in the U.S. government.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 921 RICE 1 1
Book J 921 RICE 1 1

On Order



In this captivating memoir for young people , looking back with candor and affection, Condoleezza Rice evokes in rich detail her remarkable childhood.
Her life began in the comparatively placid 1950s in Birmingham, Alabama, where black people lived in a segregated parallel universe to their white neighbors. She grew up during the violent and shocking 1960s, when bloodshed became a part of daily life in the South. Rice's portrait of her parents, John and Angelena, highlights their ambitions and frustrations and shows how much they sacrificed to give their beloved only child the best chance for success. Rice also discusses the challenges of being a precocious child who was passionate about music, ice skating, history, and current affairs. Her memoir reveals with vivid clarity how her early experiences sowed the seeds of her political beliefs and helped her become a vibrant, successful woman.
Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Parents and Me is a fascinating and inspirational story for young people. Includes a 16-page photo insert.

Author Notes

Condoleezza Rice was the National Security Advisor and the 66th U.S. Secretary of State in the administration of George W. Bush. She served as provost of Stanford University for 6 years and was the Soviet and East European Affairs advisor to President of the United States George H. W. Bush.

Rice earned her bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Denver; her master's from the University of Notre Dame; and her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

Rice's books include, Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army (1984), The Gorbachev Era (1986) with Alexander Dallin, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (1995) with Philip Zelikow, Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me (2010), Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (2010), No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington (2011), and Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom (2017).

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-The former Secretary of State recounts her life, beginning with her family history and childhood in Birmingham, AL, during the 1950s and '60s. From extremely supportive parents she learned that she could become anything she put her mind to, despite the rampant racism that existed in the South. A 16-page insert of black-and-white and color photos adds detail, and the glossary has more information on the many political leaders whom Rice refers to in the book. This valuable memoir about breaking glass ceilings may inspire readers to test their own potential.-Stephanie Malosh, Donoghue Elementary School, Chicago, IL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

Condensing her adult memoir Extraordinary, Ordinary People, Rice is engaging and reasonably candid in this account of her life from childhood through January 2001, when she became George W. Bush's national security advisor. While Rice's most newsworthy years were yet to come, readers will still appreciate this honest (if not probing) self-appraisal, with a good balance of details from her childhood and career. Timeline. Glos. (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

This slightly distilled version of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's concurrently published autobiography, Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, hits all the high points of Rice's life. Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Rice was the daughter of parents who convinced her that, as she puts it, even if she couldn't have a hamburger at the Woolworth's lunch counter, she could be president of the United States. Filled with fascinating photos, this will not only introduce young people to a groundbreaking woman but will also give them a real sense of what life was like growing up in the segregated south in the 1950s and 1960s. High-school libraries might want the adult version of the book, but this one costs 10 dollars less.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist



Chapter One By all accounts, my parents approached the time of my birth with great anticipation. My father was certain that I'd be a boy and had worked out a deal with my mother: if the baby was a girl, she would name her, but a boy would be named John. Mother started thinking about names for her daughter. She wanted a name that would be unique and musical. Looking to Italian musical terms for inspiration, she at first settled on Andantino. But realizing that it translated as "moving slowly," she decided that she didn't like the implications of that name. Allegro was worse because it translated as "fast," and no mother in 1954 wanted her daughter to be thought of as "fast." Finally she found the musical terms con dolce and con dolcezza, meaning "with sweetness." Deciding that an English speaker would never recognize the hard c, saying "dolci" instead of "dolche," my mother doctored the term. She settled on Condoleezza. Meanwhile, my father prepared for John's birth. He bought a football and several other pieces of sports equipment. John was going to be an all-American running back or perhaps a linebacker. My mother thought she felt labor pains on Friday night, November 12, and was rushed to the doctor. Dr. Plump, the black pediatrician who delivered most of the black babies in town, explained that it was probably just anxiety. He decided nonetheless to put Mother in the hospital, where she could rest comfortably. The public hospitals were completely segregated in Birmingham, with the Negro wards--no private rooms were available--in the basement. There wasn't much effort to separate maternity cases from patients with any other kind of illness, and by all accounts the accommodations were pretty grim. As a result, mothers who could get in preferred to birth their babies at Holy Family, the Catholic hospital that segregated white and Negro patients but at least had something of a maternity floor and private rooms. Mother checked into Holy Family that night. Nothing happened on Saturday or early Sunday morning. Dr. Plump told my father to go ahead and deliver his sermon at the eleven o'clock church service. "This baby isn't going to be born for quite a while," he said. He was wrong. When my father came out of the pulpit at noon on November 14, his mother was waiting for him in the church office. "Johnny, it's a girl!" Daddy was floored. "A girl?" he asked. "How could it be a girl?" He rushed to the hospital to see the new baby. Daddy told me that the first time he saw me in the nursery, the other babies were just lying still, but I was trying to raise myself up. Now, I think it's doubtful that an hours-old baby was strong enough to do this. But my father insisted this story was true. In any case, he said that his heart melted at the sight of his baby girl. From that day on he was a "feminist"--there was nothing that his little girl couldn't do, including learning to love football. Excerpted from Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me by Condoleezza Rice All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.