The Education of an Idealist
‘Her highly personal and reflective memoir … is a must-read for anyone who cares about our role in a changing world’ Barack Obama
THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
AN ECONOMIST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT BOOK OF THE YEAR
What can one person do?
At a time of division and upheaval, Samantha Power offers an urgent response to this question – and calls for a clearer eye, a kinder heart, and a more open and civil hand in our politics and daily lives.
The Education of an Idealist combines gripping storytelling, vivid character portraits and deep political insight, tracing Power’s journey from Irish immigrant to war correspondent and presidential Cabinet official. In 2005, her critiques of US foreign policy caught the eye of newly elected Senator Barack Obama, who invited her to work with him on Capitol Hill and then on his presidential campaign. After Obama was elected president, Power went from being an activist outsider to a government insider, navigating the halls of power while trying to put her ideals into practice. She served for four years as Obama’s human rights adviser, and in 2013 took one of the world’s most powerful diplomatic positions, becoming the youngest ever US Ambassador to the United Nations.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Power transports us from her early years in Dublin to the streets of war-torn Bosnia into the White House Situation Room and the arena of high-stakes diplomacy. The Education of an Idealist lays bare the searing battles and defining moments of her life and shows how she juggled the demands of a 24/7 national security job with the challenge of raising two young children. Along the way, she illuminates the intricacies of politics and geopolitics, and reminds that in the face of great challenges there is always something each of us can do to advance the cause of human dignity. Honest, inspiring and evocatively written, Power’s memoir is an unforgettable account of the world-changing power of idealism – and of one person’s fierce determination to make a difference.
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019 'Honest, personal, revealing.' Colm Toibin 'Uniquely personal and absorbing ... A riveting fly-on-the wall insight into the Obama administration's foreign-policy decision-making.' The Irish Times 'This is a wonderful book. It's an unusual combination of autobiography, diplomatic history, moral argument and manual on how to breast-feed a child with one hand while talking to Secretary of State John Kerry on a cell phone with the other. The interweaving of Power's personal story, family story, diplomatic history and moral arguments is executed seamlessly - and with unblinking honesty.' New York Times Book Review 'Engaging ... Power's memoir is an insider's account of foreign-policy-making, and an intensely personal one.' Economist 'Power is a master story-teller ... A brilliant self-portrait of an outsider turned insider, who is forced to grapple with the challenges that brings, and does so honestly.'Independent (Ireland) 'Lively ... And strikingly personal ...[Power] writes vividly and lucidly here about her turn in the international spotlight.' Vogue 'A uniquely personal and absorbing account...Power's book gives a riveting fly-on-the wall insight into the Obama administration's foreign-policy decision-making and the inner workings of the United Nations. Irish Times 'This is a tale of lofty dreams versus brutish forces, and in Power's telling, the underdog wins' Irish Independent 'Samantha Power's book is honest, personal, revealing. It is about the development of a young woman's inner strength and self-knowledge. But it is also a political book, alert to both the power of political will and its limitations. Colm Toibin 'Absorbing, heartfelt, and remarkably candid about the challenges she faced in reconciling her passion for human rights with the realities of governing.' Madeleine Albright
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