The Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy

CISAC Conference Room

Glenn Kessler is a diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post, a position he has held since May 2002. He reports on the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy at the State Department, the White House, and other agencies.

He is also the author of the book, The Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy, published in September, 2007, by St. Martin's Press.

Kessler, who is 48, joined the Post in January 1998 as national business editor. In that position, Kessler oversaw the reporting of a dozen reporters based in Washington and New York. Kessler switched from editing to reporting in February 2000, covering domestic economic policy and the Bush administration's push to pass a large tax cut, before moving to the national desk to become diplomatic correspondent.

Before joining the Post, Kessler spent nearly 11 years as a Washington correspondent and New York City-based reporter for Newsday. In Washington, Kessler served as White House correspondent, national political correspondent, and congressional correspondent. He led the newspaper's coverage of the 1996 election and the 1995 budget stalemate between Congress and the White House that resulted in two government shutdowns.

In New York, Kessler covered a variety of subjects for Newsday, including Wall Street (the insider trading scandals and 1987 stock market crash) and airline safety. Kessler's investigative articles on airline safety led to the indictments of airline executives and federal officials for fraud, prompted congressional hearings into safety issues, and led the federal government to impose new safety rules for DC-9 jets and begin regular inspections of foreign airlines.

Among other awards, Kessler has won the Page One Award of the Newspaper Guild (1989), the Atrium Award (1990), the investigative reporting award of the Society of the Silurians (1991) and the Premier Award of the Aviation/Space Writers Association (1992). He also was part of reporting teams that won a 1992 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of a deadly subway crash and a 1996 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the TWA Flight 800 crash.

Before joining Newsdayin February 1987, Kessler was editor of Investment Dealers Digest and, before that, managing editor of Corporate Financing Week and Wall Street Letter.

Kessler is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He received a Master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University in 1983 and a Bachelor's degree in European history from Brown University in 1981. He lives with his wife and three children in McLean, Va.

About The Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy:

In his riveting glimpse into the life of one of the most powerful Secretaries of State in recent years, Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Glenn Kessler provides not only a revealing look at Condoleezza Rice but a rich portrait of the Bush administration's controversial foreign policy regime. From her grievous errors in judgment as national security advisor to her notable influence over the president as Secretary of State, Rice has not gone unnoticed during her rise to power. But, as an intensely private person, she has despite endless media attention remained a mystery. As the first critical examination of Rice's skills as policy-maker, politician and manager, this definitive biography explains not only her rise to power, but the pivotal role she has played in our nation's history.

Full of candor as well as honesty, The Confidante shows unseen moments in Rice's life and of her frequently divisive performance during one of the most tumultuous foreign-policy periods in U.S. history. Drawing on personal interviews with Rice, an intimacy afforded to Kessler as one of the few reporters granted the opportunity to travel with her, Kessler takes readers inside the secret meetings Rice has held with foreign leaders and even her private conversations with President Bush. With access to all of Rice's top aides and sources in many overseas governments, Kessler also provides dramatic new information about one of the most secretive administrations in U.S. history. He shows how Rice molded herself into the image of a globe-trotting diplomatic super star, negating memories of her past failures. He exposes new details about her secret role in Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, her maneuvers around government bureaucracy to strike a pivotal nuclear-energy deal with India, her persuasion of Bush to support a dramatic gesture to Iran, her failure to prevent the North Korean nuclear test, and her struggle to contain the devastating war between Israel and Lebanon. This brilliantly written book reveals not only her public and private humiliation of foreign officials but also how her charm and grace have been successful assets in repairing fractured relations overseas. Condoleezza Rice remains today and in the future one of the most alluring, controversial, and ultimately influential decision makers in the United States. With this captivating work, Kessler shows what traits could solidify her shot at greatness or what cracks in her hard veneer could send her career hurtling to ruin.

This event is co-sponsored by the John S. Knight Fellowships Program.