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Hell and Other Destinations
Cover of Hell and Other Destinations
Hell and Other Destinations
A 21st-Century Memoir

"Richly detailed. . . an intimate portrait of a diplomat." —New Yorker

In this revealing, funny, and inspiring memoir, seven-time New York Times bestselling author and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright—among the world's most admired and tireless public servants—reflects on the challenge of continuing one's career far beyond the normal age of retirement.

In 2001, when Madeleine Albright was leaving office as America's first female secretary of state, interviewers asked her how she wished to be remembered. "I don't want to be remembered," she answered. "I am still here and have much more I intend to do. As difficult as it might seem, I want every stage of my life to be more exciting than the last."

In that time of transition, the former Secretary considered the possibilities: she could write, teach, travel, give speeches, start a business, fight for democracy, help to empower women, campaign for favored political candidates, spend more time with her grandchildren. Instead of choosing one or two, she decided to do it all. For nearly twenty years, Albright has been in constant motion, navigating half a dozen professions, clashing with presidents and prime ministers, learning every day. Since leaving the State Department, she has blazed her own trail—and given voice to millions who yearn for respect, regardless of gender, background, or age.

Hell and Other Destinations reveals this remarkable figure at her bluntest, funniest, most intimate, and most serious. It is the tale of our times anchored in lessons for all time, narrated by an extraordinary woman with a matchless zest for life.

"Richly detailed. . . an intimate portrait of a diplomat." —New Yorker

In this revealing, funny, and inspiring memoir, seven-time New York Times bestselling author and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright—among the world's most admired and tireless public servants—reflects on the challenge of continuing one's career far beyond the normal age of retirement.

In 2001, when Madeleine Albright was leaving office as America's first female secretary of state, interviewers asked her how she wished to be remembered. "I don't want to be remembered," she answered. "I am still here and have much more I intend to do. As difficult as it might seem, I want every stage of my life to be more exciting than the last."

In that time of transition, the former Secretary considered the possibilities: she could write, teach, travel, give speeches, start a business, fight for democracy, help to empower women, campaign for favored political candidates, spend more time with her grandchildren. Instead of choosing one or two, she decided to do it all. For nearly twenty years, Albright has been in constant motion, navigating half a dozen professions, clashing with presidents and prime ministers, learning every day. Since leaving the State Department, she has blazed her own trail—and given voice to millions who yearn for respect, regardless of gender, background, or age.

Hell and Other Destinations reveals this remarkable figure at her bluntest, funniest, most intimate, and most serious. It is the tale of our times anchored in lessons for all time, narrated by an extraordinary woman with a matchless zest for life.

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About the Author-
  • Madeleine Albright served as America's sixty-fourth secretary of state from 1997 to 2001. Her distinguished career also in-cludes positions at the White House, on Capitol Hill, and as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She is a resident of Washington D.C., and Virginia.

Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    November 1, 2019

    Since leaving office as America's first female secretary of state in 2001, Albright has been writing (six New York Times best sellers), teaching, traveling, campaigning, and working for women's rights. The many personal stories here aren't just a chronicle, though; they are meant to inspire others to see that any phase of life--including the last phase--can be rich, exciting, and productive. With a 250,000-copy first printing.

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 9, 2020
    Former secretary of state Albright (Fascism: A Warning) weaves geopolitics with her own life story in this intelligent and personable memoir. Opening with her departure from the U.S. state department in 2001, Albright writes that she was determined to say “hell, yes” to all opportunities to help promote democracy and empower women. Though she criticizes fellow secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice for their failure to adopt a “logical strategy” to confront terrorism after 9/11, Albright also points out her own mistakes, including an insensitive answer to a 60 Minutes question about UN sanctions on Iraq. In several chapters, she highlights personal connections with women, including family members and old friends. She also describes her relationship with Hillary Clinton and the disappointments of the 2008 Democratic primary and the 2016 election, and promotes building educational opportunities for girls. Other chapters deal with lighter issues, including a Gilmore Girls cameo. Albright ends by lauding the power of the Constitution to protect American democracy and expressing confidence that, at age 82, she’s ready for new projects. She proves to be a capacious storyteller, willing to share personal disappointments, such as the dissolution of her marriage, as well as professional accomplishments. This appealing memoir will charm readers interested in contemporary politics and women’s issues.

  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2020
    The former secretary of state reflects on the world that has emerged since she left office in 2001. Following her previous memoir, Madam Secretary, and particularly the self-explanatory Fascism: A Warning (2018), Albright begins by confessing that the end of her tenure as secretary of state found her "a little overcooked." She was worn out, frazzled, and out of shape from too little home cooking and not enough exercise. Yet, she allows, she didn't want to retire, so, after ceding her post to Colin Powell, she examined her options: write a memoir, hit the lecture circuit, teach, establish "a small consulting firm, run primarily by women." Never one to be pinned down to one thing, she did pretty much all of them. She founded that firm, which had a hard take on its mission: Do good, and "whatever the cost to our bottom line, we didn't want our children to think of us as creeps." Therefore, no lobbying for big tobacco or the gun lobby, and by her account, Albright and colleagues steered big pharma into a few beneficial measures. The lecture circuit was a touch less satisfying, as was "the endurance test known as a book tour." But postgame diplomatic analysis turns out to be her thing, always from the perspective of one who understands that diplomacy is the art of persuading "each side to settle for part of what it wants rather than prolong a squabble by demanding all." Naturally, she despairs at the Trumpian approach, to say nothing of the man himself ("It was one thing to crave change; quite another to choose Donald Trump to define it"). And is he a fascist? Maybe not by dictionary definition, though not for want of trying--and in any event, Albright concludes, "he has the most antidemocratic instincts of any president in modern American history." Dishy, as policy-wonkish memoirs go, and a pleasure for readers interested in the art of negotiation.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    March 15, 2020
    After leaving an illustrious career in government service, most notably as the first female secretary of state, at age 64, Albright could not have been faulted for wanting to rest on her laurels. But that's not Albright. Seemingly genetically predisposed to be constantly in motion, she tackled her post-government life with the same verve and determination she brought to her globe-crossing career as the nation's top diplomat. From forming her own consulting firm with other diplomatic corps alumni to serving on corporate boards to joining with fellow ex-ambassadors to address issues of global health, wealth, and security to writing such significant works as Fascism (2018), Albright not only said yes to new opportunities, she created bold new initiatives to address old challenges, domestic and global. Her engrossing memoir of 20 years of life outside the political arena is rich with insider anecdotes, while her self-deprecating humor and droll levity are the perfect counterpoints to riveting episodes of more sobering significance. Albright is a national treasure, and her continued engagement in public service is inspiring and indispensable.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • New Yorker "This richly detailed memoir by the former Secretary of State covers the period since her departure from government, in 2001. With clarity and wisdom, Albright recounts moments of pride, like receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2012, and acknowledges recent criticisms of her record, including those concerning the human cost of the sanctions that the Clinton Administration imposed on Iraq. Ultimately, the book presents an intricate portrait of a diplomat, and her ardent belief in democratic values and human rights, transatlantic partnerships and arms control, and open economies and sturdy institutions."
  • New York Times "By turns poignant and hilarious."
  • USA Today "In a blunt and revealing memoir, the former secretary of state reflects on the final stages of her career, working productively in her later decades and the state of the world since she left office in 2001."
  • NPR "The book reflects the energy and churn of her post-State Department life...What resonated with me most were the human moments...her successes and her failures. The changes she's witnessed and the glass ceilings that remain."
  • Wall Street Journal "A humorous, self-deprecating account of her past two decades as a professor, businesswoman, mother and grandmother."
  • Library Journal (starred review) "This passionately told account of Albright's 'afterlife' will inspire readers to become involved in the issues meaningful to them. Recommended for all interested in politics, leadership, and women's studies."
  • Publishers Weekly "Former secretary of state Albright weaves geopolitics with her own life story in this intelligent and personable memoir....She proves to be a capacious storyteller, willing to share personal disappointments, such as the dissolution of her marriage, as well as professional accomplishments. This appealing memoir will charm readers interested in contemporary politics and women's issues."
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Hell and Other Destinations
A 21st-Century Memoir
Madeleine Albright
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