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Twice as Good
Marcus Mabry

Twice as Good

Publisher Review below is graciously provided by FSB Associates.
A Black History Review editor will add our own review as soon as possible.

TWICE AS GOOD: Condoleezza Rice and Her Path to Power (Modern Times, an imprint of Rodale/May 1, 2007/$27.50) is the first biography of Condoleezza Rice since her appointment as Secretary of State and the first with which Rice has cooperated. Award-winning Newsweek editor Marcus Mabry explores the contradictions ¯ personal and political¯ of the most powerful black woman in the history of American politics.

Condoleezza Rice has led an extraordinary life; "Rice's life demonstrates the power of inner will in overcoming external constraints." The daughter of a Presbyterian minister and school teacher, Rice was raised in Birmingham, Alabama during the most volatile years of the Civil Rights Movement. She went on to attend the University of Denver, and later Notre Dame, where she received her masters in political science, with an emphasis on the Soviet Union. She later began her academic career at Stanford University, where she held the positions of Assistant and Associate Professor in Political Science, and ultimately became the youngest provost in Stanford's history (as well as the first black and first woman to serve as provost).

Rice began working for the George H.W. Bush administration in 1989, where she served as the Soviet and East European Affairs Advisor. During George W. Bush's 2000 U.S. Presidential election campaign, Rice took a one-year leave of absence from Stanford University to help work as his foreign policy advisor. In 2000 Rice was chosen to be Bush's national security advisor, where she became one of the most vocal proponents of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2004, Rice replaced Colin Powell as (the first female African American) Secretary of State. However along with success comes scrutiny. While Rice's accomplishments have been many, there has also been a great degree of criticism and controversy pertaining to her roles as national security advisor and Secretary of State. Her judgment and actions have been called into question on a number of issues including: supporting the Bush/Cheney agenda by "selling" the war in Iraq to Americans, failing to admit mistakes were made along the way to war (including those of the agency she oversaw), her stand on affirmative action, a seeming distance from America's black community (specifically called into account during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina) and an initially tepid performance as Secretary of State, followed by a rise to power where she has challenged and (in the case of the nuclear deal with North Korea) surpassed Dick Cheney.

TWICE AS GOOD skillfully and even-handedly examines both sides of these controversies, with first-hand accounts by Rice and those closest to her that reveal the sources of Rice's strength as well as the origins of her blind spots.

Mabry has thoroughly researched his elusive and fascinating subject, gaining access to and interviewing family, friends, and neighbors from Birmingham, peers from the University of Denver and Notre Dame, colleagues, allies and adversaries from Stanford and Washington ¯ and Condoleezza herself. Mabry, who has a similar background to Rice ¯ he is African American with roots in the South, a product of Stanford, and a student of international affairs draws on his professional journalistic abilities to delve into the personal and professional life of the world's most powerful woman, unearthing never-before-known facts and findings. The result of his exhaustive two-year investigation is the definitive biography of Condoleezza Rice.


Marcus Mabry, now chief of correspondents at Newsweek, was formerly a State Department and foreign correspondent for more than a decade. Mabry has also written extensively on race and class in America, including the memoir White Bucks and Black-eyed Peas: Coming of Age Black in White America. He lives in New York.

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