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In his riveting glimpse into the life of one of the most powerful Secretaries of State in recent years, Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Glenn Kessler provides not only a revealing look at Condoleezza Rice but a rich portrait of the Bush administration's controversial foreign policy regime. From her grievous errors in judgment as national security advisor to her notable influence over the president as Secretary of State, Rice has not gone unnoticed during her rise to power. But, as an intensely private person, she has—despite endless media attention—remained a mystery. As the first critical examination of Rice's skills as policy-maker, politician and manager, this definitive biography explains not only her rise to power, but the pivotal role she has played in our nation's history.

Full of candor as well as honesty, The Confidante shows unseen moments in Rice's life and of her frequently divisive performance during one of the most tumultuous foreign-policy periods in U.S. history. Drawing on personal interviews with Rice, an intimacy afforded to Kessler as one of the few reporters granted the opportunity to travel with her, Kessler takes readers inside the secret meetings Rice has held with foreign leaders and even her private conversations with President Bush. With access to all of Rice's top aides and sources in many overseas governments, Kessler also provides dramatic new information about one of the most secretive administrations in U.S. history. He shows how Rice molded herself into the image of a globe-trotting diplomatic super star, negating memories of her past failures. He exposes new details about her secret role in Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, her maneuvers around government bureaucracy to strike a pivotal nuclear-energy deal with India, her persuasion of Bush to support a dramatic gesture to Iran, her failure to prevent the North Korean nuclear test, and her struggle to contain the devastating war between Israel and Lebanon. This brilliantly written book reveals not only her public and private humiliation of foreign officials but also how her charm and grace have been successful assets in repairing fractured relations overseas.

Condoleezza Rice remains today and in the future one of the most alluring, controversial, and ultimately influential decision makers in the United States. With this captivating work, Kessler shows what traits could solidify her shot at greatness or what cracks in her hard veneer could send her career hurtling to ruin.

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