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Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For Hardcover – October 8, 2019
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Susan Elizabeth Rice is one of the most gifted, tenacious, and influential foreign policy voices of our times, and in her revelatory new memoir Tough Love, she takes us to the seats of power she’s occupied from the State Department to the United Nations to the West Wing of America’s first black president, whom she served as National Security Advisor. In reading these pages, it’s easy to see why President Obama would trust her to give him the clearest assessment of the facts on any day, at any moment, and to offer him unvarnished counsel on how best to keep the country safe. At the core of Rice’s story, and brilliant career, is a fearless commitment to the truth and an unwavering devotion to the lessons she inherited as the descendent of Jamaican immigrants in Maine and enslaved Africans in South Carolina: to prize education as the path up to the American Dream and to have the confidence to be herself. In this remarkably honest examination of the opportunities and struggles confronting those charged with national security, Rice has given us an inspiring autobiography while making a critically important addition to the history of U.S. foreign policy.— Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University
“In Tough Love, Susan Rice provides a compelling look at what it is really like to work in the inner sanctums of the White House and what it really means to walk the corridors of power. In a gripping display of humor and grace, Susan invites us all to share in her triumphs and her failures – and she teaches some important life lessons along the way. Reading Tough Love is like taking a master class in how to be a powerful woman. It is also a classic American tale, relatable to anyone who has ever dreamed of success. I was riveted from the first page of Tough Love to the last.” — Shonda Rhimes
“Susan Rice’s intellect, strategic prowess, and integrity are unrivalled among today’s national security leaders. I have seen firsthand how she has achieved vitally important results for American interests and values. Tough Love finally reveals who Susan Rice really is, much of which has been lost or misunderstood in public portrayals of her. The fearless, compassionate, funny and selfless woman whom I have known since she was a child emerges as she shares with bracing honesty her challenges with family, motherhood, and leadership in the most demanding of male-dominated fields.” — Madeleine Albright, Former Secretary of State
“Tough Love is a must-read for leaders and their teams. A brilliant, courageous woman with a remarkable personal story, Susan Rice provides a riveting and moving account of rising to the highest ranks in national security and diplomacy along with unmatched insight into the most complex global challenges. She offers a masterclass for all who aspire to excellence, with invaluable lessons about high performance leadership and effective management of complex teams in unforgiving circumstances. Her powerful, hopeful appeal to our shared values as Americans and all that we stand to gain by coming together is profoundly inspirational and more urgent than ever.” — Indra Nooyi, Former Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo
“The daughter of up-by-their bootstraps Jamaicans and African Americans, Rice achieved early success through disciplined hard work, intellectual brilliance, and friendships with the likes of Madeline Albright… Rice is able to look back on her experiences with pride, gratitude, and bracing realism.” Booklist, Starred Review
“A stellar debut...Rice writes of juggling work and motherhood, and of the importance of being one’s own advocate. Rice’s insightful memoir serves as an astute, analytical take on recent American political history.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“A tribute to American leadership—and a unifying call for us to do our part to protect it.” –President Barack Obama
“Personal and honest… [Rice] owns up to her decisions — the good and the bad. In many ways, this memoir is an ode to public service. There is a dignity to serving your country, be it in uniform, at an embassy overseas, or at a national park in the middle of country.” –NPR
"A hard-hitting and candid New York Times best-selling memoir of a tough woman no longer confined by talking points, who shares her whole voice, her family history, her perspective, and her insider’s take on a host of national-security crises over the past three decades." - Ibram Kendi, New York Times Bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning
About the Author
Rice earned her master’s degree and doctorate in international relations from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University. A native of Washington, DC, and a graduate of the National Cathedral School for Girls, she is married to Ian Cameron; they have two children. Rice is an avid tennis player and a long-retired basketball player.
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Illustrated edition (October 8, 2019)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 544 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1501189972
- ISBN-13 : 978-1501189975
- Item Weight : 1.64 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #79,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The prologue takes place during the last few hours of the Obama administration, and is perfectly titled Farewell to the Moral Universe. Sadly, that title still fits today's divided political climate. She relays her skepticism on that day, as well as her hope that the new administration will be successful. She talks about the sadness she feels, as well as looking forward to the next chapter in her life.
Of course, there are some people that will never give this book a chance, and that is truly unfortunate. This book discusses politics, but the overall substance of this autobiography is so much more than just politics. Many people only know who Susan Rice is due to her appearance on the Sunday news shows back in 2012 regarding Benghazi, and her role within the Obama administration...they do not know about the journey she went through to get to there. Some people might be surprised to learn that in addition to her B.A, from Stanford University, she was a Rhodes Scholar and received her master's degree and doctorate from Oxford University. In this book, Susan Rice highlights in great detail how she became the woman she is today, and the important role her family played throughout her life.
Her family history is truly fascinating...one side descendants of slaves...one side immigrants...but all deeply devoted to family and all striving to become the best they can possibly be. At a time when race could hold a person of color back, her family overcame the obstacles and used their drive and determination to excel. She tells their stories with an openness that truly brings her intriguing family history to life. She is brutally honest as she relays their triumphs as well as their struggles, and how tough love was taught early on in all of their lives.
Susan covers just about every aspect of her life, and there is no hesitation to discuss her achievements as well as her failures. She beautifully weaves together every thread of her life, and in the end, gives the reader a captivating look into her personal life as well as her political life. Tough Love is definitely an autobiography worth reading!
I would like to thank Susan Rice, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read and review Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For. My views are my own, and are in no way influenced by anyone else.
Worldly enough not to be an "insider" but immersed enough to understand what it's like to grow up in the fishbowl inside the Washington, DC beltway, Ambassador Rice's reflections on the "tough love" she receive help to inform the collaborations and alliances she was able to skillfully balance. Her upbringing in a home of ultra high achievers surrounded by even more high achievers stands in stark contrast to her view of surviving as the child of a decade long divorce. Her world includes deeply personal and poignant stories and is one of someone self assured and self aware enough not to use her race as a crutch but wise enough to understand the importance of being color aware and not color blind.
Ambassador Rice's personal experiences serving President Obama with a team of truly stable, competent and dignified foreign policy experts is a reminder of a day that I yearn for. I look forward to finishing the book (and this review!) and seeing what she'll do next!
Here’s a conclusion to my review:
A national treasure, Dr. Susan E. Rice has hit a home run with her new book. Even though the title is Tough Love, the next line is “my Story of the Things Worth Fighting For.” In an era of foreign policy by tweet and administrative fiat, Ambassador Rice brings nuance, texture and definition to the public’s understanding of highly technocrat and policy wonk world of national security and foreign affairs. The reader is informed through her deeply personal story, one which, on the surface, may seem like a charmed and privileged upbringing, but which reveals itself in the decade long divorce and custody fight she and her brother survived during their adolescence. The child of an ultra high achieving and influential power couple made even more unique by the cultural issues she transcended with agility, Ambassador Rice uses a creative narrative device which makes otherwise dull non fiction pop out of the pages. Her story and her family’s story, which intersects with the story of so many Americans, lays a careful foundation of experiences that informed her policymaking and accomplishments. With self deprecatory humor, Ambassador Rice becomes a human being, a selfless public servant, a relentless advocate, a caring mom and wife albeit with flaws that we all, as parents, can relate to. Rarely have I read about someone so courageous to fiercely take on the powers that be and so compassionate to maintain fidelity to global human rights to bridge the divides that separate us all, particularly in this era of hyperpartisanship.
Whether you went to Beauvoir, National Cathedral, St. Albans, Stanford or Oxford; worked at McKinsey, Brookings Institute, the United Nations, The White House or the Department of State; are the child of immigrants, the spouse in an inter cultural marriage or relationship, the parent of a biracial child, the child of divorced parents; or have traveled to over 100 countries and have been looking for a book that will inspire as well as make you appreciate with a sense of wonder the unvarnished story of what makes Ambassador Rice and other global foreign affairs policymakers tick, you’ll want to read Tough Love.