“One of our foremost thinkers on foreign policy.” – President Barack Obama

“One of our foremost thinkers on foreign policy.”
President Barack Obama

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The Education of an Idealist

Now Available in Paperback with an Updated Afterword

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestseller

The New York Times • The Washington PostTIMENational Public Radio
Publishers Weekly • 
The Economist Vanity Fair • Audible
The Christian Science Monitor • The Times Literary Supplement

“Her highly personal and reflective memoir…is a must-read for anyone who cares about our role in a changing world.” — Barack Obama

Tracing her distinctly American journey from immigrant to war correspondent to presidential Cabinet official, Samantha Power’s acclaimed memoir is a unique blend of suspenseful storytelling, vivid character portraits, and shrewd political insight. After her critiques of US foreign policy caught the eye of Senator Barack Obama, he invited her to work with him on Capitol Hill and then on his presidential campaign. When Obama won the presidency, Power went from being an activist outsider to serving as his human rights adviser and, in 2013, becoming the youngest-ever US Ambassador to the United Nations. 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, offering a compelling and deeply honest look at navigating the halls of power while trying to put one’s ideals into practice. Along the way, she lays bare the searing battles and defining moments of her life, shows how she juggled the demands of a 24/7 national security job with raising two young children, and makes the case for how we each can advance the cause of human dignity. This is an unforgettable account of the power of idealism—and of one person’s fierce determination to make a difference.

Praise for The Education of an Idealist

“This is a wonderful book. It’s an unusual combination of autobiography, diplomatic history, moral argument and manual on how to breast-feed a child with one hand while talking to Secretary of State John Kerry on a cellphone with the other. The interweaving of Power’s personal story, family story, diplomatic history and moral arguments is executed seamlessly — and with unblinking honesty.” —The New York Times

“Truly engrossing… A pleasure to read.” —Rachel Maddow, MSNBC

“A beautiful memoir about the times we’re living in and the questions we must ask ourselves. . . . I honestly couldn’t put it down.” —Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

“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, author of Just Mercy

The Education of an Idealist  is that rare political memoir: startlingly honest, funny and beautifully written.” —National Public Radio

“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

“Aided by the strangely sweet love story at its core…a joyous counterpoint to the stresses of political life… A fascinating read.” —Vanity Fair

“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

“Power’s vibrant prose, exuberant storytelling, and deep insights into human nature make for a page-turning memoir.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“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

“Lively…and strikingly personal…[Power] writes vividly and lucidly here about her turn in the international spotlight.” —Vogue

“Engaging….Power’s memoir is an insider’s account of foreign-policy-making, and an intensely personal one.” —The Economist

“Power writes movingly about everything…and she delivers one of the best-written political memoirs of recent years.” Fareed Zakaria, CNN

“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

“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

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

“Samantha Power’s captivating memoir is 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

“Absorbing, heartfelt, and remarkably candid. . . . Power offers important lessons to anyone aspiring to follow her footsteps in shaping the world for the better.” —Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State

“A foreign policy guru reveals her many selves in a sweeping autobiography.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

“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)

“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

“An unusually engaging political memoir…Power is an excellent storyteller, with a deft touch with anecdotes and a nice sense of humour.” —The Times Literary Supplement


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