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Publisher's Summary

The international best seller.

A New York Times notable book of the year.

An Economist book of the year.

A Times Literary Supplement book of the year.

What can one person do? 

In this vibrant, galvanising memoir, Human Rights Advocate and Pulitzer-Prize winning Writer Samantha Power offers an urgent response to this question. 

As she traces her path from Irish immigrant to war correspondent and activist to eventually becoming the youngest-ever US Ambassador to the United Nations, Power writes with a unique blend of suspenseful storytelling, vivid character portraits and disarming honesty. Her account illuminates the challenges of navigating the halls of power while trying to put one’s ideals into practice (and raise two young children along the way), and it shows how – even in the face of daunting challenges – each of us can make a difference.

©2019 Samantha Power (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Her highly personal and reflective memoir...is a must-read for anyone who cares about our role in a changing world." (Barack Obama)

"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." (Colm Tóibín)

"It’s a profound, heart wrenching, uplifting, and emotional journey through her life and what she’s seen; starting in her youth in Ireland, and taking us through places like Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and eventually the White House...All while navigating war zones and political culture as a woman and eventually a mother." (Sophia Bush)

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What listeners say about The Education of an Idealist

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Over performed and overall very disappointing

Personally I had high hopes about this book.
Perhaps I had to hear this book by the author but this was overall very disappointing and highly naive in its entirety.

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An eye witness account. A compelling read

Samantha Power's vivid account of her life and work is both a time capsule of the recent past and a candid and personal window into the personal and moral struggles of a senior U.S. official dealing with among other things life and death.
The story is deeply personal, sketching a childhood and early career which is relatable and engaging. It provides a window on Power's personal politics, her ethics, and the moral quandaries that she grapples with throughout her life. Samantha Power is no ordinary diplomat and her account of events and her involve are testament to that.
The book is an evening in an Irish family home, a behind-the-headlines documentary, and a declaration of values and passions. A great read.

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A role model

Brilliant book by an inspiring woman! So refreshing to experience a more humble yet genuinely caring approach to meaningful matters. Expanding horizons.

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Behind the scenes of power

I absolutely loved this book - and it’s even better as an audio book because you can hear how hard some of these personal and political stories were to tell. Great companion piece if you liked Becoming as an insight into the Obama years, but it’s much bigger than that: Power has honest, thoughtful things to say on everything from life as a working parent of little kids (mine are a similar age and it gave me perspective on how much easier my work juggle is!) or behind the scenes from the White House and the U.N.. Samantha would make the best dinner guest, she’s a great storyteller in the best Irish tradition. Can’t recommend this enough. Thanks for sharing your story.

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Inspiring, informative and very interesting

Samantha’s story is a great read from an inspiring woman. Not only an insightful account of US and global political machinations, also a refreshingly honest story of an “on- purpose” woman and how she juggles her higher calling as an advocate with family and personal growth. Loved it and I’d love to meet the author. Monique

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Thoughtful and Inspiring

A thoroughly compassionate and inspiring woman. Her story is one that overcomes both personal and global challenges. It is told with grace and humilty.

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Inspirational.

This is an inspirational story, told with genuine vulnerability and frankness by one of the world’s most impressive, inspirational and interesting people.

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  • Yared Santa Ana Téllez
  • 14-09-2020

Magnificent inspiring book

This book kept me hooked from beginning to end; I enjoyed the narration, the structure, and most of all, the content.

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  • rushbrook
  • 06-11-2019

Touching and Uplifting

I loved this heartfelt memoir by a truly remarkable woman. It's unflinchingly honest and filled with humility. A wonderful insight into foreign diplomacy and the struggles of balancing ones morals with the realities of the world in which we find ourselves.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-02-2021

Changed my outlook on life

I have never read a book that made me want to be a better person. Honestly, it has been my lockdown saviour and as a full time Mum has lit a fire in me that I thought died years ago.

Samantha Power is easy to listen to as a narrator and the memoir leads seamlessly through her life. Stories of her high pressured political life peppered with anecdotal snippets of her close family life and the self doubt and guilt that comes with being a Mum. Down to earth yet inspiring. Brilliant read!

16 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-09-2020

Entertaining, emotional & inspiring

I cannot recommend this book more. Samantha Power is an inspiration to us all. During these globally dark times, this book reminded me that there are still people out there fighting for what is right!

9 people found this helpful

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  • Drew McCusker
  • 30-07-2020

Vote for Power!

Power's reflective memoir over a varied career and full life is inspiring and moving. Hearing the personal and the professional mixed together, one can understand that she evokes and lives the essence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In addition, as a gay man listening to a straight ally discussing her loving and long sustained support of LGBT+ equality, I felt at home in her book, which I had not expected.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Jane Law
  • 06-05-2020

enlightening

I loved this frank and honest memoir which covers so many major events in recent history, while also being very human and at time funny. I found it interesting that the UK was mentioned only once, as far as I remember. Is the so-called "special relationship" a delusion, as some think, or partly influenced by Irish origins, which would be understandable, even if a little biased as the UK was involved in many of the events documented. Nonetheless, this is an important book, as an idealist myself, I truly value the work of this lady and long for a day when the USA can again hold its head high when it will hopefully return to the values so eloquently depicted here.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Rebecca Engebretsen
  • 25-06-2020

Interesting

Interesting book, gives insight into Power’s life but also many important foreign policy events. It feels like it’s meant to set Power up for new government post.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Victoria Trevor
  • 27-01-2021

Outstanding

The best book. Samantha is an astonishing human, I wish I could be more like her.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ruta Kasinskaite
  • 20-02-2020

voice

Lved Samantha's voice. Enjoyed it very much. i missed more self critical view ( on US policy , not Samantha herself), which is aforded by hindsight.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Natasha B
  • 22-01-2020

Interesting account

Interesting to gain insight into how prominent leaders such a Power think and approach their lives and job. She has an interesting story to tell and it’s worth listening to if interested in international politics & diplomacy

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-04-2021

Inspiring

What a read, so personal, passionate, provoking and inspiring. Thoroughly enjoyed and relished every word.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-08-2020

Samantha power is an inspiration

compelling and inspiring and also an excellent narrator of her own writing. would highly recommend

2 people found this helpful

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