The first inside account to be published about Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state,
anchored by Ghattas's own perspective and her quest to understand America's place in the world
BBC foreign correspondent Kim Ghattas had unparalled access to the American secretary of state Hillary Clinton and her entourage for four years, and she weaves a fast-paced, gripping account of life on the road with Clinton in The Secretary.
Ghattas draws on extensive interviews with Clinton, U.S. administration officials, and players in Washington as well as around the world to paint an intimate and candid portrait of one of the most powerful global politicians. The Secretary provides a captivating analysis of Clinton’s brand of diplomacy and the Obama administration’s efforts to redefine American power in the twenty-first century.
Populated with a cast of real-life characters, The Secretary tells the story of Clinton’s transformation from popular but polarizing politician to America’s envoy to the world in compelling detail. From the rise of China to the drama of WikiLeaks and the turmoil of the Arab Spring, we see Clinton cheerfully boarding her plane at 3 a.m. after no sleep, reading the riot act to the Chinese, and going through her diplomatic checklist before signing on to war in Libya. Viewed through Ghatta’s vantage point as a half-Dutch, half-Lebanese citizen who grew up in the crossfire of the Lebanese civil war, The Secretary is also the author’s own journey as she seeks to answer the questions that haunted her childhood. How powerful is America really? And, if it is in decline, what will it mean for America and the world?
‘Kim Ghattas has written a terrific book--not just our first intimate portrait of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, but also a riveting personal story about what it's like to be a journalist, and a Lebanese woman at that, living in the Clinton bubble. Ghattas is very smart about the nuances of American policy and the patient intelligence that is required for creative diplomacy, and she has made it all come alive in compelling, page-turning fashion.’ —Joe Klein, Time columnist
‘The enduring question regarding Hillary Clinton's four years as secretary for state is how she managed to fly a million miles in four years and accomplish a certain amount of diplomacy at the same time. A new account by one of her traveling press corps fills in some of the blanks. . . Ghattas knows the kind of detail we want from her sharp-eyed.’ —The Guardian (London)
‘A rare glimpse of the woman behind the glamorous name and powerful credentials . . A personal look at the Secretary’s diplomacy via a flexible, pragmatic approach rather than ideology.’ —Kirkus
‘Poignant and gripping . . . The story of two women from different generations and cultures, yet bound by a common passion, one that transcends geographical and political boundaries, reminding us not just of our differences but of our shared humanity. In all her roles, Hillary Clinton has always been motivated by a desire to change the world but has also been prepared to be changed by it. In her exchanges with Clinton, Ghattas is also prepared to change and be changed, and through her attempts to know Clinton she also comes to better know herself, turning this book into a powerful journey of discovery and self-discovery.’—Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran
‘Hillary Clinton becomes the face of a superpower in this captivating profile. . . [Ghattas’s] perceptive reportage on Clinton’s personal leadership grounds a shrewd analysis of America’s role as the still-indispensable nation.’ —Publishers Weekly
‘[An] engaging look at U.S. diplomacy under Hillary Clinton. . . Ghattas presents a close-up look at the touchiest of diplomatic issues in the first Obama administration, from the Arab Spring uprisings to WikiLeaks. . . a rich portrait of the different perspectives on U.S. power and influence around the world as well as her own personal experiences and ambivalence about the U.S.’ —Vanessa Bush, Booklist (starred review)
‘The Secretary is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how Hillary Clinton became one of the hardest working and most active secretaries of state in modern American history. Ghattas movingly interweaves Clinton's story with her own as a Lebanese woman. It's hard to read this vivid account and not wonder how Hillary would perform in the Oval Office.’ —David Ignatius, columnist for The Washington Post and author of Bloodmoney
‘Both a splendid bird's eye of view of Hillary Clinton's life and times, her education and evolution as America's top diplomat, and an outsider's candid impression of American power, with all its flaws and its perils but also its potential for good.’ —Robert Kagan, Brookings senior fellow and author of The World America Made
‘Reading The Secretary is as close as anyone can get to flying around the world with Hillary Clinton over the past four years. Kim Ghattas has captured many colorful details not only about people and places but also the urgency, exhaustion, and turn-on-a-dime responses necessary to stay one step ahead of the world. She gives us an up-close-and-personal look at the exercise of American power.’ —Anne-Marie Slaughter, Princeton University professor and former Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State