No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington

Condi is back.

The former national security adviser and secretary of state under President George W. Bush returned to the national stage last night to deliver a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention.

Since her departure from Washington in 2009, Rice has kept a fairly low public profile (apart from her hilarious cameo with Alec Baldiwn on 30 Rock). But she threw her support behind Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and then was purportedly near the top of his short list for vice president.

Not that it mattered—Rice insisted she wasn’t interested.

And now Rice is back in the spotlight (as are the protestors). Ahh, feels like old times.

For a deeper look at one of the most accomplished and influential women in recent history, you need look no further than Rice’s memoir, No Higher Honor—a compelling story of her eight years serving at the highest levels of government.

Here’s a clip from her compelling RNC address:

A native of Birmingham, Alabama who overcame the racism of the Civil Rights era to become an academic and expert on foreign affairs, Rice became an adviser to Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign. After his election to office, she served as the president’s chief adviser on national-security issues. Rice’s new role deepened her bond with Bush and ultimately made her one of his closest confidantes.

With the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Rice found herself at the center of the administration’s intense efforts to keep America safe. In these pages Rice pores over the events of that day from her perspective as well as the ones that followed. She also offers new details regarding the debates that led to the war in Afghanistan and then Iraq.

Rice made a high-profile appearance before the 9-11 Commission in 2004 to answer tough questions regarding the country’s preparedness for—and immediate response to—the 9-11 attacks. Her responses, it was generally conceded, would shape the nation’s perception of the administration’s competence during the crisis. Rice conveys just how pressure-filled that appearance was and her gratitude when she was broadly saluted for her grace and forthrightness.

In 2005 Rice became secretary of state and distinguished herself as a deft tactician and negotiator who contained or reduced the threat posed by America’s enemies. In these pages she reveals behind-the-scenes maneuvers that kept the world’s relationships with Iran, North Korea, and Libya from collapsing into chaos.

Here’s Rice speaking at American University in Cairo in 2005:

No Higher Honor takes the reader into negotiating rooms where the fates of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Lebanon often hung in the balance, and it draws back the curtain on how close all-out war loomed in clashes involving Pakistan-India and Russia-Georgia, as well as in East Africa.

No Higher Honor offers candid, keen insight into how history actually proceeds.

A woman of many talents. Rice gives a piano recital for the queen in Buckingham Palace: