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Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power

The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton to the New Frontiers of American Power - Kim Ghattas

There are at least two aspects of this book by BBC correspondent Kim Ghattas that make it particularly interesting. It’s almost as if two books coexist between its covers, one written by an insider and the other by an outsider. Ghattas, born in Lebanon, covered the US State Department while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, so The Secretary has a well-informed insider view of Clinton and the way she works. Ghattas spent a lot of time traveling around the world with Clinton and her staff, and what Ghattas was able to observe eventually convinced her that Hillary’s intelligent and engaging style of diplomacy was re-positioning America’s leadership role in ways that will help it stay effective and relevant in our rapidly changing world.


Ghattas witnessed major world events firsthand and her behind the scenes perspective make a fascinating history of the last few years. Pivotal developments she recounts in this book include the Arab Spring, the opening of Burma, the release of the Wikileaks documents, and the fallout from the Japanese earthquake. The September 11, 2012 attack on the US embassy in Libya occurred too late to be included, but it’s not the events themselves that give structure to The Secretary, it’s Ghattas’s status as an outsider. Ghattas grew up in war torn Beirut and her evolving outsider observations, insights, and opinions about America’s superpower status and what America could and should do in the world drive the narrative and make The Secretary much more fascinating than even a portrait of Hillary Clinton could be.