Ghattas has been the BBC's State Department radio and television correspondent since 2008, and her time in the air and on the road with Secretary Clinton is fantastically chronicled in this must-read book. Ghattas's first hand reporting style is peppered with hours of interviews and really gets behind the scenes. The narrative is seamless, and you really feel as if you are travelling with Ghattas as one of her fellow press corps members.
The Secretary tells of Hillary Rodham Clinton's transformation from politician to America's envoy to the world. We are with her as she travels to countries including Japan, Indonesia, China, Afghanistan, the Middle East, Pakistan, South Korea, Libya and Burma. We are subject to Secretary Clinton's relationship with President Obama, Wikileaks, the Arab Spring and the continued tensions in the Middle East. I particularly enjoyed the insight into the behind the scenes action- details of the Secretary's plane, the many dedicated staffers and advisors, the processes and protocol that must be followed, and the Secretary's dedication to wearing sunglasses.
The Secretary also details the author's own journey as a half Dutch, half Lebanese citizen, and her quest to answer the question that haunted her childhood- how powerful is America really?
Ghattas focuses upon Secretary Clinton's legacy as the first Secretary of State to methodically implement the concept of smart power. She has implemented this approach within the State Department itself- budgets including funds for gender issues, foreign service officers embedded at the Pentagon and economic statecraft as part of the diplomatic brief. It is reviewing these lasting decisions that we really see the legacy that Secretary Clinton has left during her time as America's top diplomat, and the positive change that the Obama Administration continues to implement across the world.
Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for sending me an advance copy of The Secretary.