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Condi's Lessons

- Abstract

At 766 pages, Condoleezza Rice’s memoir of her service as national-security adviser and secretary of state is not long as such memoirs go. Henry Kissinger’s ran 3,955 pages in three volumes; George Shultz’s book, covering six and a half years as secretary of state, ran 1,184 pages, with small print; Madeleine Albright’s memoir of her four years, in what was in retrospect a holiday from history, ran 548 pages. Rice covers a decade, starting in 1999 when she joined George W. Bush’s presidential campaign as foreign-affairs adviser.

She has written a straightforward chronological account, providing a great deal of detail but relatively little reflection on the lessons of her experience. The lessons she does draw and that one can draw about her tenure are worth noting, however, particularly on the issue that appears to have been the most important to her personally, to which she devoted most of her last two years as secretary of state and nine chapters (and parts of others) in this book: the Middle East peace process.

About the Author

Rick Richman, a lawyer in Los Angeles, blogs for COMMENTARY, and at