Antonia Felix

ISBN 13: 9781557046758

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As Secretary of State and a close confidant of President George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice is the most influential woman in the history of the United States government, and perhaps one of the most famous black women in the world. Her latest stint in Washington, D.C., follows her role as National Security Advisor to the President and a distinguished career as scholar, professor, provost, and foreign policy advisor that has taken her from Birmingham, Alabama, to Denver, Colorado, to Palo Alto, California, to the White House—all by the age of 50.

But just who is this powerful woman who has experienced firsthand some of our nation's darkest and brightest moments, who was a key player in the government's response to the September 11 tragedies, and who some believe will likely be a future governor, senator, vice president, or even president?

Drawing from exclusive interviews with dozens of relatives, colleagues, friends, and teachers and from scores of previously published interviews and articles, Antonia Felix gives us the first biography of this extraordinary American—a poised, immensely appealing, fiercely loyal, and deeply religious woman, whose passions include music, football, and Russia.

Her remarkable story is founded on a compelling family legacy. With ancestors on both sides who were white slave owners and slaves, Condoleezza Rice comes from two lineages, the Rices and the Rays, devoted to education and achievement. She was born in segregated Birmingham in 1954 and grew up in the upwardly mobile, high-achieving, black middle-class enclave of the city. Her music-loving parents, both educators, named her after a musical term, con dolcezza—to play "with sweetness."

The Rices started their only child on piano lessons at age three and filled her childhood years with ballet, figure skating, tutoring in French and Spanish, football viewing, and a constant flow of books at her bedside table, setting forth a standard of excellence that would give her the "twice as good" edge necessary to be on an even standing with her white peers in the segregated South.

While in training to become a concert pianist (a dream she eventually cast aside), Rice graduated from high school at 16 and from the University of Denver at 19. She ultimately found her career calling from her professor there, Josef Korbel, former Central European diplomat and father of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who sparked her passion for Soviet studies. After receiving a Ph.D. at age 26, Rice became an assistant professor of political science at Stanford, starting on the path that led to her becoming the youngest-ever provost at Stanford, the youngest and first-ever female national security advisor, and the first black, female secretary of state.

The story of her path to excellence is an inspiration to all, regardless of politics. Ms. Felix's book, Condi, not only gives us the first comprehensive portrait of the person who has the president's ear perhaps more than anyone else in his administration—a black woman who has risen to the top in a field traditionally dominated by white men—but also a greater understanding of and insight into the workings of the White House.

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About the Author:

Antonia Felix is theauthor of 14 nonfictionbooks including biographiesof CondoleezzaRice, Laura Bush, AndreaBocelli, and Christie ToddWhitman. She has a master’sdegree in English literature from TexasA&M University and lives with her husband,Stanford Felix, near Kansas City.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Condi Copyright 2002, 2005 by Antonia Felix New updated edition, originally published by Newmarket Press. Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Felix, Antonia. Condi : the Condoleezza Rice story / Antonia Felix p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN-10: 0-310-26968-7 ISBN-13: 978-0-310-26868-7 1. Rice, Condoleezza, 1954-- 2. National Security Council (U.S.)--- Biography 3. Presidents---United States---Staff---Biography. I. Title. UA23.15 .F45 2002 355'.033073'092---dc21 2002012206 This edition printed on acid-free paper. The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource to you. These websites are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for their content for the life of this book. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form, without written permission. Inquiries should be addressed to Permissions Department, Newmarket Press, 18 East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017. Printed in the United States of America. 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 /?DCI / 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 ONE Coaching the Candidate 'The presidency is not just the President. It's a whole team of people who are going to get things done.' ---Condoleezza Rice, 1999 TO everyone in her inner circle, she is known as Condi, a name that trips off the tongue more easily than her full given name. Her mother, a pianist and organist, fashioned Condoleezza (kahn-dah-LEE-za) from the Italian term con dolcezza, which in a score of music instructs the performer to play 'with sweetness.' There is a tradition of Italian names on both sides of Condi's family---Theresa, Angelena, Angela, Genoa, Alto---and the unusual spin that the Rices put on her name was fitting for the distinctive individual she would become. In raising Condoleezza, John and Angelena Rice followed the direction inherent in her name, always heaping kindness upon her in their zealous efforts to educate, inspire, and motivate her to excel. Condi's rock-solid foundation of love and positive influence underlies every step she has taken, including her entry into an office just down the hall from the president of the United States. The president has always called her Condi, while her staff members call her Dr. Rice. She appears to have escaped the president's penchant for nicknames, even though most of his associates as well as press people have been dubbed with one. Even heads of state are not immune--- as his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin warmed in early 2002, George W. dubbed him 'Pootie-Poot.' Condoleezza's foray into the Bushes' inner circle was launched at a dinner at Stanford University in 1987, when a few remarks she made changed the course of her career. Along with other members of the political science faculty, she attended an event at which President Gerald R. Ford's national security advisor, Brent Scowcroft, made a speech. During the dinner afterward, which was attended by many of the top foreign policy minds in the country, Scowcroft found the conversation 'dreary' until a young political science professor named Dr. Rice spoke up. 'Here was this slip of a girl,' he recalled. 'Boy, she held her own. I said, 'That's someone I've got to get to know.'' From her comments, Scowcroft realized that she possessed a profound understanding of Soviet ideology that matched his own brand of political realism. 'She saw where we could cooperate and where not,' he recalled. Scowcroft was so bowled over by Rice that she immediately came to mind when he became national security advisor in the first Bush administration. Immediately after the election in 1988, Scowcroft began selecting the staff that would join him in the White House. 'One of my first phone calls was to Condi Rice,' he said. Based on her scholarly expertise of the Soviet Union, he appointed her director of Soviet affairs at the National Security Council. Not only did she gain the respect of her col- leagues in this post, she quickly became a personal friend of both President and Barbara Bush. Just as his son would do a decade later, the elder George Bush relied upon Condi to tutor him on Soviet military and political history. During his term, in which the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union dismantled, he forthrightly credited her for keeping him up to speed on the subject, telling one head of state that she 'tells me everything I know about the Soviet Union.' After Bush I's term was over, Condi returned to her teaching job at Stanford. She remained friendly with George and Barbara, and was often invited to their Houston home and their summerhouse in Kennebunkport, Maine. She met frequently with the former president as part of what Barbara called the 'book group,' at times consisting of Condi, Scowcroft, and Bush, to help write a book about major global events that occurred during Bush's administration. The work was begun during Bush's first year out of office and included the input of many people. Condi made lengthy visits to Houston and Kennebunkport throughout 1997 to help Bush with the book. The final product, A World Transformed, was published in 1998 and covers events that occurred from 1989 to 1991, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War, and the Gulf War. In the introduction, Bush and Scowcroft state, 'Some of the most dramatic and epochal events of the twentieth century took place during the short period of 1989 to 1991 . . . did we see what was coming when we entered office? No, we did not, nor could we have planned it. . . . Yet, in only three years---historically only a moment---the Cold War was over.' Bush credits Condi for contributing extensively to the book by helping the authors scope out its content, refreshing their memories of particular details, and sharing research she had done for Germany Unified and Europe Transformed, a book she cowrote with Philip Zelikow in 1995. During a visit with George and Barbara Bush in Houston in 1995, George asked Condi to make a call on his son in Austin before going home. George W. was settling in as the newly elected governor---his first political office (in 1978, he had made an unsuccessful bid for a state congressional seat). Perhaps George Sr. felt that Condi could be an asset to his son down the road should his political aspirations grow beyond the state of Texas. Or maybe he wanted to introduce them because they share an obsession for sports and carry their steely selfdiscipline into their workout routines, a trademark of the athletic and competitive Bush clan. Such a common thread would be a strong foundation for friendship and create a context in which they could discuss politics and world affairs. Whatever his reasons, George suggested Condi meet the new governor, and she agreed. The governor and Condi hit it off immediately, bonding like any two sports fanatics. George W. was still a co-owner of the Texas Rangers, and they chatted about baseball as they looked over George's signed-baseball collection, lovingly arranged in a set of glass display cases. Condi wowed George with stories about Willie Mays, who was a student in one of her mother's classes at Fairfield Industrial High School in Birmingham---real-life stories about Mays that probably only a handful of people have ever heard. For a baseball fan, it just doesn't get any better than that. 'Governor Bush was very impressed,' Condi recalled. During that visit, George W. gained not only Condi's friendship but her respect as well.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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