cover image The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir

The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir

Samantha Power. Dey Street, $29.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-282069-3

In vividly told scenes, with bracing honesty and breathless prose, Pulitzer Prize–winner Power (A Problem from Hell) reflects on the roads that led from her college days at Yale to her work in the U.S. government. She graduated from Harvard Law School, and in 2005 met Sen. Barack Obama, who asked her to serve as a foreign policy adviser. After his presidential election, Obama brought Power into the National Security Council in 2009, and from 2013 to 2017, she served as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Power takes readers behind the scenes of her visits to Libya during the final tense days of the Qaddafi regime, pointing out that in spite of the downturn in security, Libya’s citizens agreed that they wanted no international presence in their country, but to determine their own future. She discovered that Burma’s human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi is a bad listener and that it’s not clear that Suu Kyi cared that much about humans. Ultimately, she 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. (Sept.)