An unlikely political star tells the inspiring story of the two-decade journey that taught her how Washington really works — and really doesn’t.
As a child in small-town Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren yearned to go to university and then become a primary-school teacher — an ambitious goal, given her family’s modest means. Early marriage and motherhood seemed to put even that dream out of reach, but 15 years later she was a distinguished law professor with a deep understanding of why people go bankrupt. Then came the phone call that changed her life: could she come to Washington to help advise Congress on rewriting the bankruptcy laws?
Thus began an impolite education into the bare-knuckled, often dysfunctional ways of Washington. She fought for better bankruptcy laws for ten years, and lost. She tried to hold the federal government accountable during the financial crisis, but became a target of the big banks. She came up with the idea for a new agency designed to protect consumers from predatory bankers, and was denied the opportunity to run it. Finally, at the age of 62, she decided to run for office and won the most competitive — and watched — Senate race in the country.
In this passionate, funny, rabble-rousing book, Warren shows why she has chosen to fight tooth and nail for the middle class — and why she has become a hero to all those who believe that America’s government can and must do better for working families.
Warren, the freshman senator from Massachusetts turned Democratic rock star, serves up a frank and lively account of how she became the banking and finance industry's fiercest nemesis. Warren's passion is rooted in her personal history. As a young girl in her native Oklahoma, she saw her family's fortunes nose dive after her father's heart attack, losing their car and almost their house and forcing her mother back into the job market at age 50. Warren puts herself through college, marries, grows weary of stay-at-home motherhood, and fatefully decides to enroll in law school, inspired by "television lawyers who were always fighting to defend good people who needed help." She develops an expertise in bankruptcy, becoming one of the country's go-to experts. In these pages, she displays a down-home charm and an effortless rapport with everyday people that makes her story more engaging than the average political tome. Her sketches of the powerful, among them President Barack Obama, the late Ted Kennedy, Timothy Geithner, provide a feel for the ups and downs of inside the Beltway relationships. Yet the pivotal, often vicious campaign battle with former Bay State senator Scott Brown that catapulted her into the U.S. Senate is an almost anti-climactic footnote to her fight to set up her baby, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The book is more memoir than manifesto; Warren emerges as a committed advocate with real world sensibility, who tasted tough economic times at an early age and did not forget its bitterness.