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The Secretary    by Kim Ghattas order for
by Kim Ghattas
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2014 (2013)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

The Secretary: A Journey With Hillary Clinton From Beirut to the Heart of American Power by Kim Ghattas offers an interesting portrait of Hillary Clinton in her role as U.S. Secretary of State.

When she accepted this new role, the former First Lady and Senator realized that there was work to be done to repair America's image around the world. No stranger to many of the foreign dignitaries and government officials she would be called upon to work with, Clinton accepted the position as Secretary of State.

Four years later, having maneuvered the country through some very difficult times (Arab Spring, WikiLeaks, etc.), Clinton was ready to step down and let someone else assume the position. How well she did in her role as the United State's head of foreign affairs remains to be seen but, if Clinton does decide to run for the presidency, her time as Secretary of State will be subject to painstaking scrutiny.

As a half-Dutch and half-Lebanese citizen, BBC correspondent Kim Ghattas brings an interesting perspective to this book. She admits that she had personal misgivings about American power; thus, she weighed carefully everything she heard and saw.

'For four years I traveled on a plane with Hillary Clinton, scrutinizing her every word and move to determine what the essence of American power and influence may be,' writes Ghattas. 'And I watched her make her own journey during that time, from defeated presidential candidate and polarizing politician to a rock star diplomat, admired and respected around the world, at an all-time high in the polls in her own country.'

Besides the political stage she watched Clinton perform upon, Ghattas obviously saw her subject as a woman too. She saw Clinton 'close-up, with and without makeup' and that more intimate view flavors this book as well.

Whether you care for her or not, it might be a good idea to read this account of Hillary Clinton's time as Secretary of State before the campaign rhetoric begins if she decides to once again run for the nation's highest office.

Obviously this is a rather complex, many faceted individual and the more we know about her and her views, the better. Ghattas also includes a special Afterword written late last year to accompany this paperback edition.

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