The Education of an Idealist

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. She served for four years as Barack 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.

Samantha Power is a leading global voice on human rights and international affairs. She served for four years as President Barack Obama’s human rights adviser and then, from 2013 to 2017, in his Cabinet and as US Ambassador to the United Nations. Power is the author of several books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning  A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, and has been named one of  Time‘s ‘100 Most Influential People’ and one of  Forbes’ ‘100 Most Powerful Women’. Currently a professor of practice at Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Cass Sunstein, and their two children. Power immigrated to the United States from Ireland at the age of nine.


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