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The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir

The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir

by Samantha Power

Unabridged — 21 hours, 8 minutes

Samantha Power

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Overview

Pulitzer-Prize winner Samantha Power is widely known as the moral voice of her generation. A relentless advocate for promoting human rights, she has been heralded by President Barack Obama as one of America's "foremost thinkers on foreign policy."

The Education of an Idealist traces Power's distinctly American journey, from Irish immigrant to human rights activist to United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Power began her career as a war correspondent and as a vocal critic of US foreign policy, and then put her ideals into practice while working with Obama in the Senate, on the campaign trail, and throughout his presidency. Power's perspective on government is unique, as she takes us from the streets of war-torn Bosnia to the Situation Room and out into the world of high-stakes diplomacy.

In her characteristically gripping prose, Power illuminates the messy and complex worlds of politics and geopolitics while laying bare the searing battles and defining moments of her life. She also reveals what it's like to juggle the demands of a 24/7 national security job with raising two young children. And, in the face of great challenges, she shows us not just how the United States can lead, but why there is always something each of us can do to advance the cause of human dignity. The Education of an Idealist is a humorous, stirring, and ultimately unforgettable account of the world-changing power of idealism—and of one person's fierce determination to make a difference.



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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This is a wonderful book.…The interweaving of Power’s personal story, family story, diplomatic history and moral arguments is executed seamlessly—and with unblinking honesty.”
Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times Book Review

“[Power] is a very good writer, which makes it more fun and truly engrossing to read a memoir about a former U.S. official….A pleasure to read.” — Rachel Maddow, MSNBC

“Power writes movingly about everything…and she delivers one of the best-written political memoirs of recent years.” Fareed Zakaria, CNN  

“Amid the flood of memoirs from Obama administration veterans, Power’s stands out as worth reading. For starters, she’s a better writer than a lot of them—she was a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author long before she got into government. She’s also done more that’s worth reading about. Like the best journalists, Power has a gift for finding the perfect anecdote to illustrate a larger idea or theme, and this is the rare political memoir where you definitely shouldn’t skim the “early years” chapters. — Slate

“Power writes with heart about her upbringing — in Ireland, Pittsburgh and Atlanta — and she is especially poignant when recounting a few traumatic episodes… Still, the book is suffused with humor, and [President Obama] furnishes the funniest anecdotes that don’t come from her charming children…The Education of an Idealist is a moving account of how to serve righteously, or at least how to try.” — The Washington Post

“Engaging….Power’s memoir is an insider’s account of foreign-policy-making, and an intensely personal one.” — The Economist

“Lively…and strikingly personal…[Power] writes vividly and lucidly here about her turn in the international spotlight.” — Vogue

Aided by the strangely sweet love story at its core…a joyous counterpoint to the stresses of political life. . . . A fascinating read. — Vanity Fair

Refreshingly frank and self-deprecating, Power's memoir is an energizing reminder that conscience has a place in the process of shaping foreign policy. — Time

“A foreign policy guru reveals her many selves in a sweeping autobiography” — O Magazine

"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."  — The Independent (Ireland)

“In this gripping and revelatory memoir, Power chronicles, with vibrant precision and stunning candor, her best and worst moments navigating the obstacle courses within the White House and the UN, daunting global crises, and personal struggles. She is utterly compelling in her eye-witness accounts of violence and political standoffs and shrewdly witty in her tales about balancing diplomacy and motherhood.” — Booklist, starred review

“[Power] stresses the necessity of caring, acting, and not giving up when seeking to change people’s lives. Power’s vibrant prose, exuberant storytelling, and deep insights into human nature make for a page-turning memoir.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“An illuminating and engaging account of [Power’s] journey from would-be sports journalist to award winning author, from Irish immigrant to presidential cabinet member… This engrossing memoir will appeal to informed readers and will inspire women contemplating careers in public service.” — Library Journal

“Problem solving in a complex world can challenge idealism. Samantha Power’s compelling memoir provides critically important insights we should all understand as we face some of the most vexing issues of our time.” — BRYAN STEVENSON, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy

“Samantha Power’s captivating memoir is a rare and intimate revelation of the inner workings of international diplomacy as well as a heartening beacon of a book for young women and men everywhere. Its stories of dignity, kindness, empathy, and inclusiveness are needed today as never before.” — DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize–winning author

The Education of an Idealist is that rare political memoir: startlingly honest, funny and beautifully written. — NPR

“A celebrated writer and an accomplished diplomat, Samantha Power is one of the most outspoken and important voices in world affairs today. Her absorbing, heartfelt, and remarkably candid memoir provides vivid new details about the difficult strategic questions that arose during her years in the Obama administration, and offers essential lessons to anyone aspiring to follow in her footsteps in shaping the world for the better.”   — Secretary of State MADELEINE ALBRIGHT

A beautiful memoir about the times we’re living in and the questions we must ask ourselves…I honestly couldn’t put it down. — Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

“Honest, personal, revealing. . . about the development of a young woman’s inner strength and self-knowledge.” — COLM TÓIBÍN, author of Brooklyn and Nora Webster

The Economist

Engaging….Power’s memoir is an insider’s account of foreign-policy-making, and an intensely personal one.

The Washington Post

Power writes with heart about her upbringing — in Ireland, Pittsburgh and Atlanta — and she is especially poignant when recounting a few traumatic episodes… Still, the book is suffused with humor, and [President Obama] furnishes the funniest anecdotes that don’t come from her charming children…The Education of an Idealist is a moving account of how to serve righteously, or at least how to try.

Vanity Fair

Aided by the strangely sweet love story at its core…a joyous counterpoint to the stresses of political life. . . . A fascinating read.

Time

Refreshingly frank and self-deprecating, Power's memoir is an energizing reminder that conscience has a place in the process of shaping foreign policy.

Vogue

Lively…and strikingly personal…[Power] writes vividly and lucidly here about her turn in the international spotlight.

Slate

Amid the flood of memoirs from Obama administration veterans, Power’s stands out as worth reading. For starters, she’s a better writer than a lot of them—she was a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author long before she got into government. She’s also done more that’s worth reading about. Like the best journalists, Power has a gift for finding the perfect anecdote to illustrate a larger idea or theme, and this is the rare political memoir where you definitely shouldn’t skim the “early years” chapters.

Rachel Maddow

[Power] is a very good writer, which makes it more fun and truly engrossing to read a memoir about a former U.S. official….A pleasure to read.

Fareed Zakaria

Power writes movingly about everything…and she delivers one of the best-written political memoirs of recent years.

O Magazine

A foreign policy guru reveals her many selves in a sweeping autobiography

Thomas L. Friedman

This is a wonderful book.…The interweaving of Power’s personal story, family story, diplomatic history and moral arguments is executed seamlessly—and with unblinking honesty.”

Time

Refreshingly frank and self-deprecating, Power's memoir is an energizing reminder that conscience has a place in the process of shaping foreign policy.

Slate

Amid the flood of memoirs from Obama administration veterans, Power’s stands out as worth reading. For starters, she’s a better writer than a lot of them—she was a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author long before she got into government. She’s also done more that’s worth reading about. Like the best journalists, Power has a gift for finding the perfect anecdote to illustrate a larger idea or theme, and this is the rare political memoir where you definitely shouldn’t skim the “early years” chapters.

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Samantha Power’s captivating memoir is a rare and intimate revelation of the inner workings of international diplomacy as well as a heartening beacon of a book for young women and men everywhere. Its stories of dignity, kindness, empathy, and inclusiveness are needed today as never before.

NPR

The Education of an Idealist is that rare political memoir: startlingly honest, funny and beautifully written.

Secretary of State MADELEINE ALBRIGHT

A celebrated writer and an accomplished diplomat, Samantha Power is one of the most outspoken and important voices in world affairs today. Her absorbing, heartfelt, and remarkably candid memoir provides vivid new details about the difficult strategic questions that arose during her years in the Obama administration, and offers essential lessons to anyone aspiring to follow in her footsteps in shaping the world for the better.”  

COLM TÓIBÍN

Honest, personal, revealing. . . about the development of a young woman’s inner strength and self-knowledge.

starred review Booklist

In this gripping and revelatory memoir, Power chronicles, with vibrant precision and stunning candor, her best and worst moments navigating the obstacle courses within the White House and the UN, daunting global crises, and personal struggles. She is utterly compelling in her eye-witness accounts of violence and political standoffs and shrewdly witty in her tales about balancing diplomacy and motherhood.

The Independent (Ireland)

"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." 

Cheryl Strayed

A beautiful memoir about the times we’re living in and the questions we must ask ourselves…I honestly couldn’t put it down.

BRYAN STEVENSON

Problem solving in a complex world can challenge idealism. Samantha Power’s compelling memoir provides critically important insights we should all understand as we face some of the most vexing issues of our time.

The Irish Times 

"A uniquely personal and absorbing account of [Power's] time at the heart of US foreign policy . . . 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." 

TIME

"Refreshingly frank and self-deprecating, Power's memoir is an energizing reminder that conscience has a place in the process of shaping foreign policy."

GEORGE PACKER

Samantha Power’s memoir gives a candid, self-questioning, intensely personal view of what goes on inside. It should inspire others to test their ideals against the unforgiving world.

COLM TÓIBÍN

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. It is the journey of an idealist, whose conscience was forged in Bosnia, into the corridors of power where compromise does battle with commitment. It is the story of someone with the soul of an outsider becoming, as an insider, a passionate witness to events in the White House and the United Nations during the Obama years.

RACHEL MADDOW

[Power] is a very good writer, which makes it more fun and truly engrossing to read a memoir about a former U.S. official….A pleasure to read.

THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

This is a wonderful book.…The interweaving of Power’s personal story, family story, diplomatic history and moral arguments is executed seamlessly—and with unblinking honesty.”

 CNN   FAREED ZAKARIA

Power writes movingly about everything…and she delivers one of the best-written political memoirs of recent years.

Vogue

Lively…and strikingly personal…[Power] writes vividly and lucidly here about her turn in the international spotlight.

The Washington Post

Power writes with heart about her upbringing — in Ireland, Pittsburgh and Atlanta — and she is especially poignant when recounting a few traumatic episodes… Still, the book is suffused with humor, and [President Obama] furnishes the funniest anecdotes that don’t come from her charming children…The Education of an Idealist is a moving account of how to serve righteously, or at least how to try.

The Irish Times 

"A uniquely personal and absorbing account of [Power's] time at the heart of US foreign policy . . . 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." 

The Economist

Engaging….Power’s memoir is an insider’s account of foreign-policy-making, and an intensely personal one.

 CNN   FAREED ZAKARIA

Power writes movingly about everything…and she delivers one of the best-written political memoirs of recent years.” 

The Independent (Ireland)

"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." 

O Magazine

A foreign policy guru reveals her many selves in a sweeping autobiography

Slate

Amid the flood of memoirs from Obama administration veterans, Power’s stands out as worth reading. For starters, she’s a better writer than a lot of them—she was a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author long before she got into government. She’s also done more that’s worth reading about. Like the best journalists, Power has a gift for finding the perfect anecdote to illustrate a larger idea or theme, and this is the rare political memoir where you definitely shouldn’t skim the “early years” chapters.

TIME

"Refreshingly frank and self-deprecating, Power's memoir is an energizing reminder that conscience has a place in the process of shaping foreign policy."

starred review Booklist

In this gripping and revelatory memoir, Power chronicles, with vibrant precision and stunning candor, her best and worst moments navigating the obstacle courses within the White House and the UN, daunting global crises, and personal struggles. She is utterly compelling in her eye-witness accounts of violence and political standoffs and shrewdly witty in her tales about balancing diplomacy and motherhood.

Library Journal

04/01/2019

Irish-born Power has moved from war correspondent to founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School to U.S. Ambassador to the UN, and she's a Pulitzer Prize winner for "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide. So she's got some story to tell. With a 250,000-copy first printing.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940173544193
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/16/2021
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews