The Education of an Idealist Summary and Reviews

The Education of an Idealist

by Samantha Power

The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power X
The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2019
    592 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

What can one person do? At a time of upheaval and division, Samantha Power offers an urgent response to this question - 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 brings a unique blend of suspenseful storytelling, vivid character portraits, and shrewd political insight. It 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. A Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Power's vibrant prose, exuberant storytelling, and deep insights into human nature make for a page-turning memoir." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[G]ripping and revelatory...[Power] 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)

"One of our foremost thinkers on foreign policy." - President Barack Obama

"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

"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

"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

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Author Information

Samantha Power

Samantha Power is the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the William D. Zabel Professor of Practice in Human Rights at Harvard Law School. From 2013 to 2017, Power served in the Cabinet of President Barack Obama and as US Ambassador to the United Nations. From 2009 to 2013, Power worked on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights.

Power's book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. She is also the author of the New York Times bestseller Sergio: One Man's Fight to Save the World. Power began her career as a journalist reporting from countries including Bosnia, East Timor, Rwanda, and Sudan, and she has been named by TIME as one of the world's 100 Most Influential People and by Forbes as one of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women.

She immigrated to the United States from Ireland as a child, and lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Cass Sunstein, and their two children.

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