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Education of an Idealist
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About the Author

Samantha Power is a Professor of Practice at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School. From 2013-2017, Power served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a member of President Obama's cabinet. From 2009-2013, Power served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. Power began her career as a journalist, reporting from places such as Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe, and she was the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School. 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 bestsellers Chasing the Flame: One Man's Fight to Save the World (2008) and The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir (2019), which was named one of the best books of 2019 by the New York Times, Washington Post, Economist, NPR, and TIME. Power earned a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Reviews

A uniquely personal and absorbing account of [Power's] time at the heart of US foreign policy . . . Power's book gives a riveting fly-on-the wall insight into the Obama administration's foreign-policy decision-making and the inner workings of the United Nations. --The Irish Times
Power is a master story-teller . . . a brilliant self-portrait of an outsider turned insider, who is forced to grapple with the challenges that brings, and does so honestly. --The Independent (Ireland)
Refreshingly frank and self-deprecating, Power's memoir is an energizing reminder that conscience has a place in the process of shaping foreign policy.--TIME
"Power writes movingly about everything...and she delivers one of the best-written political memoirs of recent years." --Fareed Zakaria, CNN
"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
"An illuminating and engaging account of [Power's] journey from would-be sports journalist to award winning author, from Irish immigrant to presidential cabinet member... This engrossing memoir will appeal to informed readers and will inspire women contemplating careers in public service."--Library Journal
"Power writes with heart about her upbringing -- in Ireland, Pittsburgh and Atlanta -- and she is especially poignant when recounting a few traumatic episodes... Still, the book is suffused with humor, and [President Obama] furnishes the funniest anecdotes that don't come from her charming children...The Education of an Idealist is a moving account of how to serve righteously, or at least how to try."--The Washington Post
"A foreign policy guru reveals her many selves in a sweeping autobiography"--O Magazine
"Engaging....Power's memoir is an insider's account of foreign-policy-making, and an intensely personal one."--The Economist
"Amid the flood of memoirs from Obama administration veterans, Power's stands out as worth reading. For starters, she's a better writer than a lot of them--she was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author long before she got into government. She's also done more that's worth reading about. Like the best journalists, Power has a gift for finding the perfect anecdote to illustrate a larger idea or theme, and this is the rare political memoir where you definitely shouldn't skim the "early years" chapters.--Slate
"Lively...and strikingly personal...[Power] writes vividly and lucidly here about her turn in the international spotlight."--Vogue
"[Power] 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."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"In this gripping and revelatory memoir, Power chronicles, with vibrant precision and stunning candor, her best and worst moments navigating the obstacle courses within the White House and the UN, daunting global crises, and personal struggles. She 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
"Samantha Power's book is honest, personal, revealing. It is about the development of a young woman's inner strength and self-knowledge. But it is also a political book, alert to both the power of political will and its limitations. It is the journey of an idealist, whose conscience was forged in Bosnia, into the corridors of power where compromise does battle with commitment. It is the story of someone with the soul of an outsider becoming, as an insider, a passionate witness to events in the White House and the United Nations during the Obama years."--COLM TOIBIN, author of Brooklyn and Nora Webster
"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
"Samantha Power's memoir gives a candid, self-questioning, intensely personal view of what goes on inside. It should inspire others to test their ideals against the unforgiving world."--GEORGE PACKER, author of The Unwinding and Our Man

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