Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box by Madeleine Albright


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Average Customer Rating:

( 23 customer ratings )

  • Pub. Date: September 2009
  • 176pp
  • Sales Rank: 106,282
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    Product Details

    • Pub. Date: September 2009
    • Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers
    • Format: Hardcover, 176pp
    • Sales Rank: 106,282


    Before long, and without intending it, I found that jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal. Former president George H. W. Bush had been known for saying "Read my lips." I began urging colleagues and reporters to "Read my pins."

    It would never have happened if not for Saddam Hussein. When U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright criticized the dictator, his poet in residence responded by calling her "an unparalleled serpent." Shortly thereafter, while preparing to meet with Iraqi officials, Albright pondered: What to wear? She decided to make a diplomatic statement by choosing a snake pin. Although her method of communication was new, her message was as old as the American Revolution—Don't Tread on Me.

    From that day forward, pins became part of Albright's diplomatic signature. International leaders were pleased to see her with a shimmering sun on her jacket or a cheerful ladybug; less so with a crab or a menacing wasp. Albright used pins to emphasize the importance of a negotiation, signify high hopes, protest the absence of progress, and show pride in representing America, among other purposes.

    Part illustrated memoir, part social history, Read My Pins provides an intimate look at Albright's life through the brooches she wore. Her collection is both international and democratic—dime-store pins share pride of place with designer creations and family heirlooms. Included are the antique eagle purchased to celebrate Albright's appointment as secretary of state, the zebra pin she wore when meeting Nelson Mandela, and the Valentine's Day heart forged by Albright's five-year-old daughter. Read My Pins features more than 200 photographs, along with compelling and often humorous stories about jewelry, global politics, and the life of one of America's most accomplished and fascinating diplomats.


    Madeleine Albright served as America's sixty-fourth Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001. Her distinguished career also includes positions on Capitol Hill, the National Security Council, and as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She is a resident of Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

    Customer Reviews

    A unique reading experience, interesting stories & great jewelry picsby Oldjools4me

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    May 08, 2010: Even if you're not a collector of pins or any kind of jewelry, costume or fine, this book is historically and politically interesting and a very good read. It's well written with stories about her family and her early life, as well as her experiences while in office as our Secretary of State. As a collector of brooches myself, I was delighted to find someone else who selects a pin to wear based on what you have planned for the day. Of course, Madame Secretary shares with us her most important events and her choices of jewelry on her most momentous days in office, and the symbolism of the chosen pins is facinating. I wish she had included the brocolli pin story, I'd love to hear her version of it. I purchased one, too, but the book cannot be faulted for this omission! Included are great color photos of her pins with information about the makers and how she obtained each of them, along with photos of her wearing the pin at UN meetings and voting sessions, etc. She also shares information about where she purchased some of her pins, including her favorite place to shop for them. I love the fact that she collects costume jewelry, too, and not only fine jewelry. I am looking forward to seeing the touring exhibit of her collection when it arrives at a museum close to me.

    If you collect or wear pins on clothes, this one is for BernieBW

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    February 11, 2010: Having to dress for business since 1980, pins were one of the ways I could express myself while dressing conservatively. Not only did they compliment what I wore, it expressed something about me or the event I was attending. But then I began collecting them and receiving them as gifts. When Madeline came along, I found a she was doing the same. What fun to see her collection up close.

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