‘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.
About the author
Samantha Power is a leading global voice on human rights and international affairs. She served for four years as President Barack Obama’s human rights adviser and then, from 2013 to 2017, in his Cabinet and as US Ambassador to the United Nations. Power is the author of several books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘A Problem From Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide, and has been named one of TIME’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ and one of Forbes’ ‘100 Most Powerful Women’. Currently a professor of practice at Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Cass Sunstein, and their two children. Power immigrated to the United States from Ireland at the age of nine.
In vividly told scenes, with bracing honesty and breathless prose, Pulitzer Prize winner Power (A Problem from Hell) reflects on the roads that led from her college days at Yale to her work in the U.S. government. She graduated from Harvard Law School, and in 2005 met Sen. Barack Obama, who asked her to serve as a foreign policy adviser. After his presidential election, Obama brought Power into the National Security Council in 2009, and from 2013 to 2017, she served as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Power takes readers behind the scenes of her visits to Libya during the final tense days of the Qaddafi regime, pointing out that in spite of the downturn in security, Libya's citizens agreed that they wanted no international presence in their country, but to determine their own future. She discovered that Burma's human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi is a bad listener and that it's not clear that Suu Kyi cared that much about humans. Ultimately, she 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.