Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Secretary: A Journey With Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart

by Kim Ghattas

In the spirit of full disclosure I have to say that I am an ardent admirer of both Bill and Hillary Clinton. Each of them, during their time spend in office have done much for our country. Bill during his years as President of the United States, and Hillary as First Lady, Senator and then as Secretary of State to President Barack Obama have

I was sorry when Hillary decided the time had come for her to leave the office of Secretary of State to spend some time as an ordinary citizen. Although, neither of these individuals can be described as ordinary at any time.

I was delighted with the opportunity to read about the days that Hillary Clinton spent traveling in the world in service to her country through the eyes of one of those who were part of the team of journalists who accompanied her, Kim Gjattas. Gjattas was raised in Beirut, the civil war there, was part of her daily life. This gave her a unique perspective during her time as the BBC's State Department correspondent. Her credentials include reporting on her own country's affairs for both American and British newspapers. Then as the BBC's Radio and television correspondent since 2008 . She draws a compelling picture of those days and nights traveling the world in the company of one of the most powerful American women ever to serve her country.
We begin this journey with Gjattas on the very first day of Hillary's term as Secretary of State. It seemed as if from those first moments of taking office, Hillary and her team were a whirlwind of traveling the globe and meeting with not only the powerful leaders of countries, but often their families and ordinary women everywhere. Part of her own agenda was that women be recognized across the globe for the important and influential roles they played, whether they were in government or were raising families.

Clinton had the advantage of being a well-known figure throughout the world, after her time as First Lady to President Bill Clinton. She was far from reticent even in those days and was certainly a working First Lady, with her own office and staff. This however, was a whole new situation. As Secretary of State of the most powerful nation in the world. She not only had to step into an unfamiliar job and learn it from the inside out quickly, she had to forge a working relationship with a man who was once her opponent in the race for president. But if any two people could do that, it was Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. They became quite a team over the four years that they worked together.

The effects of WikiLeaks is covered, and the effect it had on Hillary's relationships with leaders across the world. As I watched the news on WikiLeaks, and listened to the news, I was unaware of just how much fallout had occurred that would affect the office held by Hillary Clinton. This informative book helps us to understand that in order to repair some of the damage done, a talented negotiator was needed and Hillary was up to the task.

In fact, this book gives us a look at diplomacy at one of the highest levels, as performed by a powerful woman in our own time. I have a feeling that we haven't seen the last of Clinton. She has proven to be a force to be reckoned with in American politics and policy.

This book was a fascinating and easy read. The author takes us along with her as she spends several years covering a major political figure. This is far from being a dull recounting of the events of the time Clinton spent as Secretary of State. In fact, it was hard to put down. I recommend it, and would call it a 4.5 star read

1 comment:

  1. I too am a Clinton fan (both of them) and this is on my definitely to read list. Glad you enjoyed it.