Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice released the first two installments of an expected three-book set of memoirs on Oct. 12.

In the memoir, “Extraordinary, Ordinary People,” Rice recounts her experiences growing up as an only child in a Black middle class family in Birmingham, Ala. during the Jim Crow era. Rice also details her triumphs throughout adulthood, including her graduation from high school at age 15, entry and graduation from Stanford University and her career as professor and provost at Stanford.. The book ends with her father’s death in 2000 and her new appointment a week later as George W. Bush’s national security officer.

Rice, 55, simultaneously released the condensed version of her autobiography for young adults, “Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me.”

In a release, Crown Publishers said the book tells Rice’s true story, “not that of an ultra-accomplished world leader, but of a little girl—and a young woman—trying to find her place in a sometimes hostile world and of two exceptional parents, and an extended family and community, that made all the difference.”

Initial reviews were unfavorable, taking issue with Rice’s writing style and lack of detail. Columbia professor John McWhorter wrote that readers “learn little about Rice’s inner life as she sails to one triumph after another.”

AOL News correspondent Andrea Stone said Rice’s impersonal tone “often reads like one long list of precocious achievements.”

Rice’s final book under her deal with Crown may prove more insightful, as she details the inner workings of her eight years as the first female African-American Secretary of State. The book is scheduled for release in 2012. Rice’s book deal is reportedly worth more than $2.5 million.


Shernay Williams

Special to the AFRO