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October 25, 2010October 25, 2010  1 comments  Books

"It allowed them to connect back to a common point," a source close to Rice said. "It was very, very helpful."


Her father, Presbyterian minister Reverend John Wesley Rice Jr., was an assistant dean, and Benzion Netanyahu, a professor of Hebraic studies, shared an interest in religion. One year her family even joined the Netanyahus at their Passover Seder.


Rice wrote about that incident in her new memoir, Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, which she is currently promoting on a book tour. The book, the first of two volumes of an autobiography she will be releasing, focuses on her family and upbringing and ends just as she becomes national security adviser for former president George W. Bush.


The second volume is expected to cover her time in the White House and at Foggy Bottom, where she dealt with the thorny issues of Iraq, Iran and the Middle East peace process.


Her first book does detail some of her earlier experiences in Washington, particularly her time on the National Security Council under president George H.W. Bush, when she served as a Soviet adviser.


She speaks warmly of her former boss, then national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, whom she "adored," and his deputy, Robert Gates, who would go on to serve as defense secretary while she headed the State Department.


"I was drawn to Robert M. Gates, the deputy national security adviser, with whom I shared a background in Soviet studies as well as an acerbic sense of humor," she said.


Rice also praised both Bushes, though she did admit that she questioned the younger president's chances of winning when he first told her of his interest in running.


"When the then-Texas governor told me that he'd likely make a run for the White House, his presidential bid struck me as having long odds for success," she said. "The governor was untested and would likely face a real pro in vice president Al Gore. I was too polite to say these things, but I sure thought them."


Serving as an adviser to him on the campaign, she acknowledged that, "Foreign policy would be the governor's Achilles' heel."


Mostly, though, the book is devoted to her upbringing by her parents, who helped her overcome the racism of the Deep South as a child in the 1960s with the abiding conviction that she could do whatever she set out to do through faith and hard work.


Even many of Rice's recollections of time spent on the campaign trail and in her early days as national security adviser are portrayed through the lens of her parents' influence, though both had passed away by the time she took office.


"Visiting the Holy Land, I thought of how much my father would have relished walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ," she wrote.


Author: Hillary Leila Kreiger, Reprinted from the Jerusalem Post, October 25, 2010

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