A photo of the jacket of Madaeleine Albright's book "Read My Pins".

 

READ MY PINS
Stories From A Diplomat’s Jewel Box

by Madeline Albright
review by Linda Guilbert

This book is a very entertaining afternoon with a worldly lady and her jewelry box. The items displayed and the stories told have appeal to jewelry collectors, political junkies & gossip mongers, as well.

The pins she wore and the rationale for those choices that expressed her mood or perception of an event produced intriguing behind-the-scenes tales.

Vladmir Putin noted to President Clinton that he often checked what brooch she was wearing in order to determine her mood or message. After she once boldly criticized Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi press dubbed her an “unparalleled serpent”. Soon after this comment was published she was to meet with Iraqi officials, and, so, she chose to wear a serpent pin. And, for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jon-Il, she decided to wear the boldest American flag...and high heels to appear taller...he also wore high heels!

Her family history and accompanying jewelry also produces a glimpse of the woman apart from the professional. Among the beautiful 200 color photographs shown are an antique jade pin, engagement gift from her fiancée's grandmother, a wedding gift from her parents, a garnet set, and most treasured clay heart pin from her youngest daughter. And, toward the end of the last chapter she recounts that in the fall of 2006, while in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina she was presented with a gift from a young man. He explains that the pin he was giving her had been given to his mother from his father, and that story left her speechless, and though “I am not quick to tear up” this gift “pushed me to the brink”.

Whether she is recounting tales of jewels and kingdom making going back millennia, America’s early Indian jewelry, the Freedom pin awarded to suffragettes who were imprisoned, or her choices to reflect our foreign relations, each story leads comfortably and compellingly to the next and each photograph showcases that narrative.


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