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The Education of an Idealist

A Memoir
Narrated by: Samantha Power
Length: 21 hrs and 2 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“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’s] absorbing, heartfelt, and remarkably candid memoir […] offers essential lessons to anyone aspiring to follow in her footsteps in shaping the world for the better.” (Madeleine Albright)

Pulitzer Prize winner Samantha Power, widely known as a relentless advocate for promoting human rights, has been heralded by President Barack Obama as one of America's "foremost thinkers on foreign policy.

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.

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. 

©2019 Samantha Power (P)2019 HarperAudio

Editorial Review

The case for optimism

Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a story about a diplomat whose lofty dreams get shattered. The idealist in this memoir gets things done. Samantha Power is an Irish immigrant, shaped by an unpredictable childhood and personal tragedy, who is fearless in her determination to effect change in the world. With her compelling narration, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations chronicles how she achieved her American dream and candidly describes experiences such as grueling on-the-ground reporting during the Bosnian War in the 1990s, which helped influence her Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, A Problem From Hell. Power also gives behind-the-scenes accounts of presidential campaign flubs, Situation Room scenarios, and humanizing moments among leaders who are supposed to have all the answers. Nothing has educated me on foreign policy quite like this impactful—and hopeful—listen. —Valerie B., Audible Editor

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I love it. Thank you!

At a time when the White House is occupied by an amoral mysogynistic degenerate, Samantha Powers' memoir was a balm. A memory of a better time for the nation. Modest hope to right the Ship of State one day.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Excellent Memoir - Very Candid

I found this to be very entertaining with a lot of insider details - in White House and at UN. She is so much more than a past US Ambassador to UN. This memoir is very honest about her personal life (maybe TMI in some cases :) and seemed candid on professional life. She is very compassionate about people in other countries suffering from violence . Not that I knew much about her, but this memoir surprised me. I hope she does well with the rest of her career. (And it sounds like her mother could also write an interesting autobiography.) And this book has now made me much more interested in reading Susan Rice's book when it comes out.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful