NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER
“A must-read for anyone who cares about our role in a changing world.”―President Barack Obama
“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
“Honest, personal, revealing… about the development of a young woman’s inner strength and self-knowledge.”―COLM TÓIBÍN, author of Brooklyn and Nora Webster
“Truly engrossing.”―RACHEL MADDOW
An intimate, powerful, and galvanizing memoir by Pulitzer Prize winner, human rights advocate, and former UN Ambassador Samantha Power.
In her memoir, Power offers an urgent response to the question "What can one person do?" and a call 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 traces Power’s distinctly American journey from immigrant to war correspondent to 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, he named her US Ambassador to the United Nations, the youngest American to assume the role.
Power transports us from her childhood in Dublin to the streets of war-torn Bosnia to the White House Situation Room and the world of high-stakes diplomacy. Humorous and deeply honest, 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, reminding us how the United States can lead in the world, and why we each have the opportunity to advance the cause of human dignity. Power’s memoir is an unforgettable account of the power of idealism and of one person’s fierce determination to make a difference.
“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 )
“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)
“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)
“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)
"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))
"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 Irish Times )
“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 )