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
In November 2008, Hillary Clinton agreed to work for her former rival. As President Barack Obama's secretary of state, she set out to repair America's image around the world—and her own. For the following four years, BBC foreign correspondent Kim Ghattas had unparalleled access to Clinton and her entourage, and she weaves a fast-paced, gripping account of life on the road with Clinton in The Secretary.
With the perspective of one who is both an insider and an outsider, Ghattas draws on extensive interviews with Clinton, administration officials, and players in Washington as well as overseas, to paint an intimate and candid portrait of one of the most powerful global politicians. Filled with fresh insights, 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 and with all the tension of high stakes diplomacy. From her evolving relationship with President Obama 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—all the while trying to restore American leadership in a rapidly changing world.
Viewed through Ghattas'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, who or what will replace it and what will it mean for America and the world?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton becomes the face of a superpower in this captivating profile. Ghattas, State Department correspondent for the BBC, jetted around the globe with Clinton as she refereed Israeli-Palestinian quarrels, wrangled with Chinese officialdom, smoothed ruffled diplomatic feathers after Wikileaks publicized catty American cables, and strategized over the Arab Spring upheavals. In Ghattas's vivid portrait, Clinton emerges as a charismatic, tireless woman, magnetic during her trademark town hall meetings with ordinary citizens (cries of "We love you, Hillary" trail her everywhere), candid and forthright in private conversation, but always agonizing over anodyne public statements that will be obsessively parsed for policy shifts. But as the author floats along in Clinton's exciting, exhausting bubble of pre-eminence, she also examines America's ongoing centrality in world affairs: while they resent American power, in every country people she encounters expect the United States to magically settle their crises and conflicts. Attuned to that mindset since her childhood in war-torn Lebanon, Ghattas receives in her travels with Clinton an eye-opening education in the complexity and limitations of U.S. foreign policy making. Her perceptive reportage on Clinton's personal leadership grounds a shrewd analysis of America's role as the still-indispensable nation. 8-page b&w photo insert.