MADAM SECRETARY by Thomas Blood

MADAM SECRETARY

The Biography of Madeleine Albright
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A slapdash effort, lacking in critical perspective and reading like a background report for an ``Albright for President'' campaign. Blood, a lobbyist and trustee of the Democratic National Committee, is so gushing about his subject that he may have unwittingly created a new phenomenon: damning with great praise. For example, after Albright's appointment as UN representative, it is claimed that she ``singlehandedly transformed her post from mere messenger to chief architect and articulator of American foreign policy.'' Chief architect? Given this heady position it might seem difficult to explain foreign policy failures without tarnishing Albright's image, but when Blood looks at the Somalia fiasco, there is an answer, for she was ``proactively excluded from the policy-making process.'' The hyperbole is actually cranked up another notch upon her ascent to secretary of state: Blood claims that Albright is the first person since John F. Kennedy to establish a personal connection between American foreign policy and the rest of the world, and that ``people flock to see [her] like a rock star.'' By the end of the book one expects Albright to don a costume with a large S on the chest and fly off to save the world. Refusing to mention anything that could be characterized as criticism and recognizing only superior personal qualities is ultimately a disservice to Albright, however. She probably is a fine person and an outstanding public servant, but we all know that when issues are serious and complex, no person or policy can always be right; painting inherently gray material strictly in black-and- white only serves to irritate readers and leave them wondering about Albright as well as the author. If Albright is nearly as upright and moral as the person portrayed in this volume, she will surely be embarrassed by it. (24 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-17180-3
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1997