Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Brush with greatness: Madeline Albright

Seeing Madeline Albright.

Here are pictures from the Madeleine Albright book-signing at Keplers, my favorite local bookstore.

I went to the event completely as a whim: Keplers is beside Barrone, my favorite cafe, and I decided that it would be cool to have Albright’s book. She always struck me as an interesting person, and I’ve appreciated the irony that her father was Condi Rice’s dissertation advisor.

Of course, it was totally packed. There were several hundred people in the bookstore, and a bunch of us outside, listening via speakers. She was very funny. She told one story about her campaign to get Botrous Botrous-Ghali removed from the UN secretary generalship. At one point, she said, the two of them were having lunch, and Butrous-Ghali said, “A Nigerian soothsayer told me my future. She said, ‘You will be betrayed. Your betrayer will be a woman… and her name will be Madeline.’ So I did.”

After speaking for a while and answering a few questions (mainly softballs on Syria, unilaterialism, that kind of thing), she started signing books. By my count, I was somewhere in the 300s.


The end of the line

Nonetheless, by the time I got close she was still chatting with people, being friendly, and generally not giving the impression of having already signed 299 books and engaged in three hours of chit-chat.


Signing another one

When I was a couple people back, the Keplers people started talking about shutting down, or at least stopping the personalization of books (i.e., “To Bill, Best, Madeleine Albright”). Without stopping her signing, she shook her head. “No, no, that wouldn’t be fair,” she said. “I’ll just sign them faster.” Very classy.


Signing mine!

I got one for Heather, of course, and also had her sign one to Elizabeth. Granted, Elizabeth’s other autographed book is a copy of Jane Yolen’s “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?” but one day she’ll appreciate having a book signed by our first female Secretary of State.

1 Comment

  1. I also have a book signed by Madeleine Albright!:) She was in Philly on Tuesday. I misjudged what time it was. She was signing from 1:30 to 2:00. When I looked at my watch it was 2:10! I was at one end of the convention center, and she was at the other. I RAN about a quarter of a mile, and she was still there. There were only a few people in line, and the person in front of me said that she was not signing any more. I was so upset, the woman said that if I had a book she might sign it. People were having her sign their program books. The guy that was in charge said she wasn’t signing anymore.

    I told Ms. Albright that I had run across the convention center, and that I was at the convention just to see her. I swear she smiled at that:) I said she could just sign her name. But she asked my name, I told her, but said that she could sign Jane Doe, if she wanted. Well, she signed it to me, and I actually told her she’s an angel. What you wrote about her signing faster, just reinforced what my experience was. Thanks for sharing!!

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