Chances of a Lifetime: A Memoir

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Simon and Schuster, Aug 15, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 320 pages
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AN ENGAGING INSIDER'S ACCOUNT OF SOME OF THE MOST FASCINATING DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL EPISODES IN CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN HISTORY, FROM THE HIGHLY RESPECTED FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE WHO REMAINS A DEMOCRATIC ELDER STATESMAN.

Warren Christopher is that rarest of Washington personalities: a wise and witty public servant once described by the Washington Post as "the antithesis of the glitz-hungry, self-aggrandizing, corner-cutting political figures who dominate Washington today." In this memoir, the man whose sage counsel and sometimes parodied discretion brought him to the right hand of mayors, governors, and presidents, shares his personal recollections and impressions of leaders and events that shaped the second half of the twentieth century.
Writing in tightly crafted, often self-effacing prose, Christopher chronicles how he left the privacy of life at a premier law firm to heed calls to public service from Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas, Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, and California governor Edmund "Pat" Brown -- as well as presidents Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. Throughout his career, Christopher faced diverse challenges: he advised a president on whether to dispatch federal troops to quell civil disturbances; led negotiations to free American hostages in Iran; investigated a major city's police force gone awry; and helped cope with Yitzhak Rabin's assassination.
From "Starting from Scranton" and "The Johnson Treatment" to "Middle East: Antipodes" and "Yesterday a War, Today a Country," each chapter is a compelling story on its own. Together, they offer the first clear picture of the impact of this quiet North Dakotan on modern American history.
  

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Chances of a lifetime

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

With a visage sometimes described as that of a "worried squirrel," Christopher often underwhelms those around him. But they should not be fooled. An exceptionally sharp and calculating mind sits atop ... Read full review

Review: Chances of a Lifetime: A Memoir

User Review  - Lacey - Goodreads

I love reading memoirs by former Secretaries of State. Secretary Christopher was before my political awareness was developed, so it was fascinating to read about the events he was involved in and the negotiating he did in service to our country. Read full review

Contents

Starting from Scranton
9
Three to Get Ready
22
The Johnson Treatment
40
A Year on the Edge
55
A New Venue
77
Americans in Captivity
96
Policing the Police
124
The Search for a Running Mate
143
The Promise ofPeace
194
Middle East Antipodes
211
The Globalization ofTerror
225
The Middle Kingdom
236
Izetbegovic Milosevic
251
The Future ofNATO
272
Yesterday a War Today a Country
289
Afterword
303

Building a Cabinet
157
A New Kind ofLife
177

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About the author (2001)

Warren Christopher became U.S. secretary of state in 1993. During his four years of service, he logged more miles than any other secretary of state for a comparable period. He had been a law clerk to Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas, a chairman of the Los Angeles law firm O'Melveny and Myers, U.S. deputy attorney general (1967-1969), and U.S. deputy secretary of state (1977-1981). He is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and numerous other awards and honorary degrees, and is now the senior partner at O'Melveny and Myers in Los Angeles, California, where he lives.

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