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A Fighting Chance Hardcover – April 22, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; First Edition edition (April 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1627790527
  • ISBN-13: 978-1627790529
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,068 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Warren gained national notoriety during her tenure on the commission to study the financial crisis, leading to creation of the consumer finance agency she headed briefly. In this engaging memoir, she recalls her journey from a childhood of struggle in Oklahoma City to success in academia and politics and laments the lack of chances for others to work hard and achieve their own versions of success. Warren recalls an early marriage, struggling to raise young children as she moved from a career as a teacher to law school to teaching law. She was so agitated by the unfairness of bankruptcy law that she wrote books about it and used her professorship at Harvard as a platform, eventually launching herself into a career in Washington. Armed with stories and statistics about how bankruptcy and predatory banking practices affected middle-class families, Warren lobbied hard for change. She offers a behind-the-scenes look at the political deal-making and head-butting machinations in efforts to restore the nation’s financial system after the mortgage debacle. Warren recalls negotiations with political figures from Senator Ted Kennedy to President Obama as well as her hard-fought campaign to unseat Scott Brown as U.S. senator from Massachusetts. This is a passionate memoir of one woman’s personal story and the larger story of corruption in financial circles and the need for reform that balances the interests of the American middle class against those of the corporate sector. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The senior senator from Massachusetts and former Harvard law professor here gives the backstory on her fight for the middle class in a memoir that is sure to attract interest beyond the book-review section. --Vanessa Bush

Review

A New York Times Bestseller

"A potent mix of memoir and policy… The title of this book reminds us that this is about Warren’s fight. She is still the fiery advocate who called for a bureau to protect consumers or, as a second choice, ‘no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor.’"—The New York Times Book Review

"Moving … Ultimately, the book’s message is that one person can make a difference.… After reading this book, it is comforting to know that Elizabeth Warren, with her passion, anger and bluntness, will not be silenced."—The Washington Post

"[Warren’s] storytelling is well-paced and engaging… She mixes policy points with rich behind-the-scenes anecdotes."—The Boston Globe

"Intelligent and informative … [Warren is] good, plainspoken company who makes you feel smarter for having spent such easy time with her…. Her new book, which is a loving look at her family as well as her country, will only broaden her base."—Entertainment Weekly

"A revealing account of Warren’s rise to prominence … [Warren’s] arguments demand to be taken seriously…. As a politician and activist, Warren’s great strength is that she retains the outsider’s perspective, and the outsider’s sense of moral outrage, which runs throughout A Fighting Chance… She’s an indomitable battler for the underdog, and she doesn’t take no for an answer."—The New York Review of Books

"The Wall Street watchdog and U.S. senator has produced a readable and sometimes infuriating explanation of the biggest financial crisis of our time."—People

"[Warren] has a compelling story to tell…. She is also entertaining about professional politics."—The Economist

"Warren’s prose is as … direct as her book’s title. She has a good story to tell and she tells it well…. Warren’s accomplishments defied expectations virtually every step of the way."—The Christian Science Monitor

"Passionate… Her vision [for the country], laid out elegantly and effectively in A Fighting Chance, involves investments by ‘we the people,’ through our government, in schools, roads and research labs, and in a social safety net for ‘the least among us,’ investments that are, at once, in our own self-interest and in the national interest."—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Remarkable… A Fighting Chance takes the reader into the nitty-gritty of our nation’s most controversial financial decisions with a depth of insight and experience no one else in today’s politics can offer… In a time when our country’s greatness seems to be in crisis, this is the story of a woman who is the living embodiment of the American Dream."—Harvard Political Review

"Revealing…Warren’s book describes the troubling patterns and practices of high-level Washington."—Gretchen Morgenson, The New York Times

"Warren has written a good book … Frank and quite strong."—The Nation

"Warren’s moment has arrived … To understand why Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the fastest-rising new star in the Democratic Party … read her new book … A Fighting Chance tells true and important tales about the great scandal of our age, the corruptions that engulf Washington today, and the battles of good people to reform them … [Warren] stands for the integrity and spirit that Americans hunger for in public life, which could someday bring her from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other."—The Hill

"[A] call to arms … Reading the rousing finale of A Fighting Chance … you can hear the sound of the crowd roaring with approval."—Mother Jones

"[Warren] displays a down-home charm and an effortless rapport with everyday people … The book is more memoir than manifesto; Warren emerges as a committed advocate with real world sensibility, who tasted tough economic times at an early age and did not forget its bitterness."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A passionate memoir of one woman’s personal story and the larger story of corruption in financial circles and the need for reform that balances the interests of the American middle class against those of the corporate sector…. [Warren] offers a behind-the-scenes look at the political dealmaking and head-butting machinations in efforts to restore the nation’s financial system."—Booklist (starred review)


More About the Author

Elizabeth Warren is the senior senator from Massachusetts. A former Harvard Law School professor, she is the author of ten books, including All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan and The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke, written with her daughter, Amelia Tyagi.

Customer Reviews

Very informative, well written, easy to read.
Luci
The big banks spent 50 million dollars fighting finance reform right after the debacle the Great Recession and the attendant bank bailouts.
Rojo
The story of Warren's life is amazing and heartening.
Evalyn F. Segal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

412 of 502 people found the following review helpful By LAM on April 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let’s get one point out right at the top: Elizabeth Warren is the best thing to happen to American politics in decades. She’s not only a sharp and indefatigable warrior for American middle class families, but she’s also a forceful, persistent and effective critic of excessive financial deregulation and big business welfare.

In addition to her other winning attributes, Elizabeth Warren is also a clear, honest and deeply entertaining writer and her new memoir “A Fighting Chance” is about as good as political memoirs come. On one level, “A Fighting Chance” is a reflection on Warren’s life: her upbringing in Oklahoma in a working class family, her education and legal training, her decades as an advocate for bankruptcy law reform, her battles both inside and outside the Obama Administration to stand up her Consumer Financial Protection Agency, and her run for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts against a popular incumbent. On another level, Warren’s memoir is a cri de coeur arguing that the support structures and institutions that enabled Warren to succeed have been washed away by decades of wrongheaded policy choices, selfish economic priorities, and an aggressive lack of care for future generations.

In the final estimation, Elizabeth Warren accomplishes in her memoir the same thing she accomplishes so often in real life: she envisions and argues for a better, more equitable America that supports all of its families, rather than a select few. Once the reader finishes “A Fighting Chance,” it’s easy to understand what the late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone meant when he said that he could use ten more progressives in the Senate -- "or one Elizabeth Warren." Before reading her memoir, I believed that Elizabeth Warren is the last, best hope our country has; after reading her memoir, I'm certain that she is.
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223 of 275 people found the following review helpful By Paul K on April 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I got an advanced copy of this book back in January. When I see these one star diatribes I know none of these people got even 20 pages into it. This is not a sales book--Warren is not telling us why we should believe this or support this. Rather, it's more of a journal of how she got started, the luck and decisions that led her from job to job--and how she ultimately ended up in board rooms trying to convince bankers that short-term success wasn't always in their best interest. Her studies of bankruptcy and credit cards and ballooned mortgages show us that it's not just about individuals but how our economy is affected as a whole.

Of course, you can disagree with her liberal positions on a lot of things, but again, the book isn't trying to sway the reader to get on the bandwagon. If anything, she's more like a scientist: she shows evidence of patterns and statistics that show how a shrinking middle class threatens our future and how tax loop holes only serve those who don't even need them. It's written with eloquence and candor (and sometimes a bit of frustration) but for the most part it tells of how she got where she is and why she can't just ignore the laws that truly threaten lower class families. When she wrote THE TWO INCOME TRAP a decade ago she showed us that we get fooled into believing that hard work always pays off and that doing he right thing will always protect you in the end. Not so. In an economy like this one, the strong always maintain greater control and the weak stay weak--or slip even further behind.

Is she right every time?--of course not. There really ARE poor people who buck the system--just like there are very rich people who do as well.
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180 of 222 people found the following review helpful By William Springer on April 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't usually read a lot of autobiographies, but I'm a fan of Elizabeth Warren and I've heard good things about this book, so I decided to give it a try. I figured I'd start on it this weekend and finish it later in the week, but as soon as I got into it, I was hooked. The writing is very good and I found myself laughing out loud at times (such as when the author describes setting her kitchen on fire).

The first few chapters cover the author's life before she got involved in politics: how she grew up middle class until her father got sick and lost his job; how she earned a debate scholarship and went to college (despite her mother's desire that she focus on finding a husband), then dropped out of college to get married and have a baby. How she finished her college degree and then a law degree, while raising two kids. Then - in what would eventually lead her to becoming nationally known - how she ended up getting involved in bankruptcy law and research into why people declare bankruptcy. As a bankruptcy expert, she lead the (ultimately unsuccessful) fight to keep the law from being changed to enhance banking profits at the expense of those who would no longer have access to bankruptcy protection.

After her work on bankruptcy, she eventually ended up leading the COP panel, which oversaw TARP (Trouble Assets Relief Program), more commonly known as the bank bailout. The panel unfortunately had no real power - they could take testimony, but could not compel people to testify, nor could they insist on being present when Treasury (which didn't appear particularly interested in oversight) made the decisions on how to spend the $700 billion that Congress had authorized to bail out the financial system.
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