Book Review: The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton to the New Frontiers of American Power

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

The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power is a book covering Kim Ghattas’ official travels with Secretary State Clinton. Kim Ghattas is a Lebanese born of a Lebanese father and a Dutch mother. She studied political science at the University Beirut. She is a BBC reporter covering the US Department of State. Previously she worked for the BBC and Financial Times in Beruit. Her work has been published by a variety of American news organizations and is a regular on NPR.

Ms Ghattas provides an unique look at the inside operations of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State. Working for a foreign (although friendly news organization) and experiencing the the trauma of war in her home country and America’s actions during the conflict provides an intriguing look at American foreign policy. Ghattas provides a historical background for her life and for the countries and leaders covered in the book.

The Secretary covers a new era in American diplomacy. It is an abrupt change from the previous administration’s “Either you are with us or against us.” diplomacy and the might makes right mentality. Here is an attempt to make a new start. Obama gave Clinton plenty of leeway in forming her team. The awkward alliance grew from presidential primary rivalry and turned into positive accomplishments.

Asia became the first concern for the new administration Korea was shocked at the candor and openness of the new Secretary of State. Freely speaking to students at town hall meetings and forming person relationships with world leaders and her peers. Her experience as first lady gave her familiarity with leaders and governments. A very outspoken Hilary Clinton at the 1995 Conference on Women in Beijing was noticeable different when talking to the Chinese as Secretary of State.

China, Arab Spring, Iran, and the Middle East re all covered in detail along with the Libyan revolution, the embarrassing Wiki-leaks, and the opening up of Myanmar.Since the book is based on Ghattas’ first hand experience, the bibliography is a bit light and used for background information. Her first hand experiences gives a detailed historical as well as a personal look into Hilary Clinton’s role as Secretary of State. The reading is quick, informative and surprisingly (for non-fiction) a page turner. Regardless of your personal or political opinions of Hilary Clinton, the Obama Administration, or America’s current military involvements, this book is well worth reading on several levels.

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