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The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir af…

The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir (udgave 2019)

af Samantha Power (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
3101064,215 (4.22)20
"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." -- From Amazon.com summary.… (mere)
Titel:The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir
Forfattere:Samantha Power (Forfatter)
Info:Dey Street Books (2019), Edition: Illustrated, 592 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

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The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir af Samantha Power


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A good read with a strong ending. ( )
  drew_asson | Dec 3, 2020 |
During her tenure in the U.S. National Security Council, Samantha Power was involved in the efforts to bring Bosnian Serb war criminal Ratko Mladić to justice. In her memoir, The Education of an Idealist, recounts an event in that process:

”…we invited the Serbian president’s chief of staff, Miki Rakić, to the White House. David, who had been a theater director in college and always had an eye for the mise-en-scène, reserved the ornate Indian Treaty Room in the EEOB for our meeting. He thought the intricate gold and marble detailing and the kaleidoscopically tiled floor would serve as a fitting backdrop to my reciting the benefits that would accrue to Serbia if Mladić were rounded up.”

It’s representative of the worldview that Power expresses throughout the book that she would fail to see the irony in trying to advocate for human rights in a room built in the 1870s with the proceeds of U.S. colonial expansion and named for treaties that her country has broken time and time again (and continues to break!) while committing genocide against Native American peoples.

I use the phrase “her country” advisedly because for all the repeated reference to her “Irish roots” and her story as an immigrant from Ireland to the United States, Power set aside her Irishness as determinedly as she worked to erase any trace of Dublin from her accent. I don’t say that lightly, or because I think it’s impossible to be both Irish and American. I say that because Power has whole-heartedly embraced the concept of American exceptionalism, with its equation of military power and economic hegemony with “greatness”; the idea of the U.S. as a country uniquely composed of immigrants (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and, indeed, Ireland, all have a greater percentage of foreign-born residents as of 2019 than does the U.S.) which allows those immigrants and their children opportunities that they’d never have in any other country (my politics don’t intersect much with those of Leo Varadkar, but I can’t deny that he was Taoiseach: with a dad from India, openly gay, and agnostic. Try having someone like that elected as head of government in the Greatest Country in the WorldTM).

(It’s also clear that Power comes from a far more privileged background than she’s ever quite willing to explicitly admit to the reader. For someone from Ireland, however, it’s obvious that anyone who was born to squash-playing, “Mum”-saying, university graduate surgeon parents in 1970s Ireland and whose first school was bloody Mount Anville (fee-paying suburban Dublin school) didn’t exactly come from the wrong side of the tracks (she was raised in Ballsbridge for feck’s sake). No matter how much she talks about how moving to the U.S. gave her opportunities she wouldn’t have had if she’d stayed in Ireland, it’s clear that these were differences of type rather than kind.)

I’m not saying that The Education of an Idealist isn’t often an interesting and informative read, one which shows how an administration works and how practical considerations, bad luck, or other circumstances can force unsatisfying compromises. I also don’t think that Power is a moustache-twirling villain who feigns an interest in human rights and the prevention of war crimes in order to get ahead in politics—after all, as the current U.S. administration is proving to the world daily, it’s possible to get ahead with absolutely no ethics at all! Plus her work as U.N. Ambassador did show a commitment to LGBT rights, combatting the Ebola outbreak in 2014, and dealing with the shamefully persistent phenomenon of U.N. peacekeepers committing sexual assaults of the populations whom they are tasked with protecting.

But ultimately this is a book which provides a case study of how, with the best will in the world, good intentions can keep on paving that road to hell. ( )
  siriaeve | Sep 27, 2020 |
I didn't much care for the writing, didn't exactly like Power herself, but of course the stories and the times are very, very interesting. Her own story is rich and the times/situations she has lived thru, her experiences, and her work are fascinating and often quite moving. ( )
  tmph | Sep 13, 2020 |
I really enjoyed this book! It is interesting, educational, thoughtful, and moving. Thank you Samantha Power for your service to our country and for your wonderful memoir. I am now looking forward to reading your Pulitzer Prize winner "A Problem from Hell : America and the Age of Genocide." ( )
  SuzieBrown | Jul 21, 2020 |
A wonderful autobiography from the woman who became the US Ambassador to the UN during Obama's tenancy of the White House.

An Irish-American, migrant, whose family moved to the US when she was 9 years old. Initially a journalist and writer. A deep human rights activist, whose most important book about genocide brought her to Obama's attention.

Her autobiography takes you on many journeys into dark as well as light places. Bosnia and Darfur, to name but two of the darkest, meeting the people she helped and was helped by.

Honest about her flaws and mistakes, vivid and detailed in her recounting of her life and those of others around her.

Highly recommended. ( )
  Caroline_McElwee | May 16, 2020 |
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"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." -- From Amazon.com summary.

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