The Education of an Idealist

The Education of an Idealist

by Samantha Power

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“A must-read for anyone who cares about our role in a changing world.”—President Barack Obama

“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 

“Honest, personal, revealing… about the development of a young woman’s inner strength and self-knowledge.”COLM TÓIBÍN, author of Brooklyn and Nora Webster

“Truly engrossing.”RACHEL MADDOW

An intimate, powerful, and galvanizing memoir by Pulitzer Prize winner, human rights advocate, and former UN Ambassador Samantha Power.

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.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062820716
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/10/2019
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 8,465
File size: 74 MB
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About the Author

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.

Date of Birth:

September 21, 1970

Place of Birth:

Dublin, Ireland


Yale University and Harvard Law School

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Part 1 1

1 Ireland 3

2 America 16

3 Loss 24

4 Dignity 33

5 Tank Man 40

6 Doers 50

7 Risk 62

8 Hearts of Darkness 72

9 "Tell Clinton" 83

10 The Secret to a Long Life 93

11 "Go Remember" 107

12 "A Problem from Hell" 118

13 Upstanders 131

14 Going to Washington 144

15 The Bat Cave 157

16 Yes We Can 169

17 Monster 181

18 Victory 199

Part 2 209

19 No Manual 211

20 Can We Go Home Now? 224

21 April 24th 234

22 Turnaround 247

23 Toolbox 266

24 Revolutions 283

25 All Necessary Measures 297

26 Let's Pray They Accomplish Something 312

27 One Shot 328

28 "Can't Be Both" 341

29 The Red Line 359

30 "Chemical Weapons Were Used" 372

31 When America Sneezes 391

32 Upside-Down Land 403

33 Us and Them 420

34 'Freedom from Fear 434

35 Lean On 458

36 Toussaint 471

37 The Golden Door 490

38 Exit, Voice, Loyalty 502

39 Shrink the Change 517

40 The End 528

Afterword 543

Acknowledgments 553

Notes 557

Index 569

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