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Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Familyby Condoleezza Rice
Synopses & Reviews
Condoleezza Rice has excelled as a diplomat, political scientist, and concert pianist. Her achievements run the gamut from helping to oversee the collapse of communism in Europe and the decline of the Soviet Union, to working to protect the country in the aftermath of 9-11, to becoming only the second woman - and the first black woman ever — to serve as Secretary of State.
But until she was 25 she never learned to swim.
Not because she wouldn't have loved to, but because when she was a little girl in Birmingham, Alabama, Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor decided he'd rather shut down the city's pools than give black citizens access.
Throughout the 1950's, Birmingham's black middle class largely succeeded in insulating their children from the most corrosive effects of racism, providing multiple support systems to ensure the next generation would live better than the last. But by 1963, when Rice was applying herself to her fourth grader's lessons, the situation had grown intolerable. Birmingham was an environment where blacks were expected to keep their head down and do what they were told — or face violent consequences. That spring two bombs exploded in Rice’s neighborhood amid a series of chilling Klu Klux Klan attacks. Months later, four young girls lost their lives in a particularly vicious bombing.
So how was Rice able to achieve what she ultimately did?
Her father, John, a minister and educator, instilled a love of sports and politics. Her mother, a teacher, developed Condoleezza’s passion for piano and exposed her to the fine arts. From both, Rice learned the value of faith in the face of hardship and the importance of giving back to the community. Her parents’ fierce unwillingness to set limits propelled her to the venerable halls of Stanford University, where she quickly rose through the ranks to become the university’s second-in-command. An expert in Soviet and Eastern European Affairs, she played a leading role in U.S. policy as the Iron Curtain fell and the Soviet Union disintegrated. Less than a decade later, at the apex of the hotly contested 2000 presidential election, she received the exciting news – just shortly before her father’s death – that she would go on to the White House as the first female National Security Advisor.
As comfortable describing lighthearted family moments as she is recalling the poignancy of her mother’s cancer battle and the heady challenge of going toe-to-toe with Soviet leaders, Rice holds nothing back in this remarkably candid telling. This is the story of Condoleezza Rice that has never been told, not that of an ultra-accomplished world leader, but of a little girl – and a young woman — trying to find her place in a sometimes hostile world and of two exceptional parents, and an extended family and community, that made all the difference.
"Former secretary of state Rice only briefly treats her tenure during the second Bush administration in favor of a straightforward, reverential chronicle of her upbringing under two teachers in the segregated Deep South. Rice acknowledges upfront the complicated, intertwined history of blacks and whites in America, which lent a lightening of skin to her forebears that was looked upon favorably at the time. Her father, John Wesley Rice Jr., came from a family of well-educated itinerant preachers in Louisiana, while the family of her mother, Angelena Ray, were Birmingham, Ala., landowners; both were teachers at Fairfield Industrial High School and determined to live 'full and productive lives' in Birmingham, despite the blight of segregation (e.g., poll tests in the largely Democratic South resolved John Rice to become a lifelong Republican). Cocooned in an educational and musical environment, Rice was a high-achieving only child. Yet the encroaching racial tension broke open in Birmingham in the form of store boycotts, bombings, and demonstrations. Eventually, the family moved to Denver, where Rice attended the university, majoring first in piano then political science, due to the influence of professor and former Czech diplomat Josef Korbel. Rice moves fleetingly through her subsequent education at Notre Dame and Stanford. Swept into Washington Republican politics by Colin Powell and others, she sketches the 'wild ride' accompanying the Soviet Union's demise, but overall records a thrilling, inspiring life of achievement. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
One of America's most admired and decorated singers tells her inspiring life story, from theand#160;segregated south to the world's greatest stages.and#160;
One of America's most admired and decorated artists tells her amazing story, from her childhood in the South to the world's greatest stages.
Jessye Norman is not only one of the world's most admired and beloved singers, she is an American icon whose life story is as moving and dramatic as the great operatic roles she has performed on stage.
Born and raised in Augusta, Georgia, nurtured in a close family and tight-knit community centered around the church, she studied the piano and sang the songs of her childhood, not dreaming that this passion for music might lead to her life's profession.
In Stand Up Straight and Sing!, Jessye Norman recalls in rich detail the strong women who were her role models, from her ancestors to family friends, relatives, and teachers. She hails the importance of her parents in her early learning and experiences in the arts. And she describes coming face-to-face with racism, not just as a child living in the segregated South, but also as an adult out and about in the world.
She speaks of the many who have inspired her and taught her essential life lessons. A special interlude on her key relationship with the pioneering African American singer Marian Anderson reveals the lifelong support that this great predecessor provided through her example of dignity and grace at all times.
The story of one womanand#8217;s astonishing life, Stand Up Straight And Sing! is not just for lovers of music, but for everyone.
Jessye Norman is not only one of the worldand#8217;s most admired and beloved opera starsand#8212;she is an American icon whose life story is as moving and inspiring as the fictional plot triumphs she sang onstage.
Born and raised in Augusta, Georgia, a descendant of many generations of hardworking slave and free ancestors, she grew up amid the challenges of Jim Crow racism with the civil rights movement just beginning to awaken. Nurtured by a close family and tight-knit community centered on the local church, Jessye sang songs and spirituals constantly, never dreaming that it might lead to a career.and#160;Only when she watched a documentary about the legendary Marian Anderson did she first realize that singing could be a profession. Decades later, after a meteoric rise at the Berlin Opera, a long-delayed debut at the Metropolitan Opera, and forays into spirituals, blues, jazz, and other roots music, she has become one of Americaand#8217;s cultural treasures.and#160;Standand#160;Up Straight and Sing!and#160;is an inspiring womanand#8217;s account of an astonishing life.
About the Author
Condoleezza Rice was the 66th United States Secretary of State – only the second woman, and first black woman ever, to hold the office. She was also President Bush's National Security Advisor during his first term, distinguishing herself as the first woman ever to serve in that position. Before joining the Bush administration, Rice was a professor of political science at Stanford University, where she served as Provost from 1993 to 1999. During the administration of George H.W. Bush, she served as the Soviet and East European Affairs Advisor during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the German reunification.
Table of Contents
1.and#160;In the Beginningand#8212;and#8220;Great day!and#8221;and#160;and#160;and#160;1
2.and#160;A Motherand#8217;s Joyand#8212;and#8220;I want two wingsand#8221;and#160;and#160;and#160;15
3.and#160;A Fatherand#8217;s Prideand#8212;and#8220;Evand#8217;ry time I feel the Spiritand#8221;and#160;and#160;and#160;35
4.and#160;Church, Spirituals, and Spiritand#8212;
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; and#8220;There is a balm in Gileadand#8221;and#160;and#160;and#160;57
5.and#160;Racism as It Lives and Breathesand#8212;
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; and#8220;Sometimes I feel like a motherless childand#8221;and#160;and#160;and#160;95
Interlude: Marian Andersonand#8212;
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; and#8220;My Lord, what a morningand#8221;and#160;and#160;and#160;135
6.and#160;Growing Up in Germanyand#8212;and#8220;On my journey, nowand#8221; and#160;and#160;and#160;147
7.and#160;The Singing Craft as Art Formand#8212;and#8220;Oh, Glory!and#8221;and#160;and#160;and#160;180
8.and#160;The Song, the Craft, the Spirit, and the Joy!and#8212;
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; and#8220;The Lordand#8217;s Prayerand#8221;and#160;and#160;and#160;197
9.and#160;Woman, Life, Singerand#8212;and#8220;Ride on, King Jesusand#8221;and#160;and#160;and#160;221
10.and#160;And the Journey Continuesand#8212;
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; and#8220;Heand#8217;s got the whole world in His handand#8221;and#160;and#160;and#160;258
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