Recalling pivotal moments from her dynamic career on the front lines of American diplomacy and foreign policy, Susan E. Rice—National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama and US Ambassador to the United Nations—reveals her surprising story with unflinching candor in this New York Times bestseller.
Mother, wife, scholar, diplomat, and fierce champion of American interests and values, Susan Rice powerfully connects the personal and the professional. Taught early, with tough love, how to compete and excel as an African American woman in settings where people of color are few, Susan now shares the wisdom she learned along the way.
Laying bare the family struggles that shaped her early life in Washington, DC, she also examines the ancestral legacies that influenced her. Rice’s elders—immigrants on one side and descendants of slaves on the other—had high expectations that each generation would rise. And rise they did, but not without paying it forward—in uniform and in the pulpit, as educators, community leaders, and public servants.
Susan too rose rapidly. She served throughout the Clinton administration, becoming one of the nation’s youngest assistant secretaries of state and, later, one of President Obama’s most trusted advisors.
Rice provides an insider’s account of some of the most complex issues confronting the United States over three decades, ranging from “Black Hawk Down” in Somalia to the genocide in Rwanda and the East Africa embassy bombings in the late 1990s, and from conflicts in Libya and Syria to the Ebola epidemic, a secret channel to Iran, and the opening to Cuba during the Obama years. With unmatched insight and characteristic bluntness, she reveals previously untold stories behind recent national security challenges, including confrontations with Russia and China, the war against ISIS, the struggle to contain the fallout from Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, the U.S. response to Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the surreal transition to the Trump administration.
Although you might think you know Susan Rice—whose name became synonymous with Benghazi following her Sunday news show appearances after the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya—now, through these pages, you truly will know her for the first time. Often mischaracterized by both political opponents and champions, Rice emerges as neither a villain nor a victim, but a strong, resilient, compassionate leader.
Intimate, sometimes humorous, but always candid, Tough Love makes an urgent appeal to the American public to bridge our dangerous domestic divides in order to preserve our democracy and sustain our global leadership.
Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. during the Obama administration, delivers a stellar debut memoir of her public service career. Born in 1964 in Washington, D.C., Rice credits her mother, a scholar, and father, an economics expert, with inspiring her to work hard. She graduated from Stanford University in 1986, then attended Oxford University's New College, where she studied international relations and was "the only black person." She then worked on national security and peacekeeping during the Clinton administration beginning in 1993, and dealt with the failed military mission made famous in Black Hawk Down ("The Somalia crisis also taught me to be skeptical of Congress's capacity" to address national security crises, she notes). Rice broke with the Clintons in 2007 to back Obama for president and enthrallingly covers her time in Obama's administration: she recalls her appearance on various news programs during the 2012 Benghazi controversy, after which she was branded a liar by Republicans in "a selective and misleading parsing of my Sunday show statements," as well as successfully working with Iran in 2013 to halt its nuclear weapons program. Along the way, Rice writes of juggling work and motherhood, and of the importance of being one's own advocate. Rice's insightful memoir serves as an astute, analytical take on recent American political history.