800px-Condoleezza_Rice_croppedEver since the 1960s, African Americans have been seeking affirmation of their equality in modern America.  However, it is still very rare for an African American to push beyond all limited to rise to the top, but that is exactly what one woman did—Condoleezza Rice.  In Antonia Felix’s book, Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story, the author’s main goal was to study Condi’s background in order to provide America with the perfect picture of this powerful woman who dominated American politics in the early 2000s.[1]

Felix’s portrayal of Condi’s life as a young child emphasizes the great stability that her family provided for her.  Throughout her childhood and young adult life, her parents supported her wishes and dreams which changed over time.  Felix places a great weight on family traditions and proper nurturing that helped provide Condi with excellent qualities that would aid her in her future careers.[2]

Another main ingredient to Condi’s fascinating life is the role that education played.  Throughout her childhood, Condi dreamed of being a concert pianist, an ice skater, and a sports commentator.  However, halfway through her college career, she changed her major to political science with a proficiency in the Soviet Union.[3]  Education continued to play a key role in her life as she later became a professor at Stanford University.

The last theme that Felix portrays throughout Condi’s life is politics.  Her first big job in politics, regardless of the various boards she was on, was as an advisor to the National Security Council under the Reagan administration.[4]  During the three following presidential administrations, she remained active in various departments in Washington, D.C.  The height of her political career came when President George W. Bush made her secretary of state in January 2005.[5]  Condi was the first woman and second African American to hold the title of secretary of state.

Not only has Condi lived an interesting life, but the author of the book Condi has also carried many roles throughout her lifetime.  Antonia Felix currently lives near Kansas City and has authored fifteen nonfiction books as a hobby.[6]  Felix and her husband both have sung opera around the world.  After studying music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Mannes College of Music in New York, Felix went on to get her M.A. in English from Texas A&M University.[7]

Felix’s own lively career mirrors the woman she wrote about—Condi.  Reading Condi was truly enjoyable for me, because I did not feel like it dragged at any point.  Some biographies tend to become dry and heavy, but Condi flowed in an easy way, especially when Felix portrayed Condi’s simple childhood.  Felix did an excellent job of supporting her thesis and transitioned fluidly from childhood to education to politics.  Condi is a living proof that no matter what a person’s family background is, there is always a chance to rise to the top and change the course of history.

– Hannah S. Bowers

[1] Felix, Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story. New York: New Market Press, xi.

[2] Felix, Condi, 37.

[3] Felix, Condi, 74-75.

[4] Felix, Condi, 138.

[5] Felix, Condi, 222.

[6] Felix, Antonia. “News.” AntoniaFelix.com. http://antoniafelix.com/index.html (3 November 2008), 1.

[7] Felix, “News” 1.