Harvard Book Store welcomes SUSAN RICE—National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama and US Ambassador to the United Nations—for a discussion of her new memoir, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For. She will be joined in conversation by renowned scholar, literary critic, and filmmaker HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR.
Mother, wife, scholar, diplomat, and fierce champion of American interests and values, Susan Rice powerfully connects the personal and the professional. Taught early, with tough love, how to compete and excel as an African American woman in settings where people of color are few, Susan now shares the wisdom she learned along the way. Laying bare the family struggles that shaped her early life in Washington, D.C., she also examines the ancestral legacies that influenced her.
Rice provides an insider’s account of some of the most complex issues confronting the United States over three decades, ranging from “Black Hawk Down” in Somalia to the genocide in Rwanda and the East Africa embassy bombings in the late 1990s, and from conflicts in Libya and Syria to the Ebola epidemic, a secret channel to Iran, and the opening to Cuba during the Obama years. With unmatched insight and characteristic bluntness, she reveals previously untold stories behind recent national security challenges, including confrontations with Russia and China, the war against ISIS, the struggle to contain the fallout from Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, the U.S. response to Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the surreal transition to the Trump administration.
Although you might think you know Susan Rice—whose name became synonymous with Benghazi following her Sunday news show appearances after the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya—now, through these pages, you truly will know her for the first time. Often mischaracterized by both political opponents and champions, Rice emerges as neither a villain nor a victim, but a strong, resilient, compassionate leader.
Intimate, sometimes humorous, but always candid, Tough Love makes an urgent appeal to the American public to bridge our dangerous domestic divides in order to preserve our democracy and sustain our global leadership.
“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
“This book will not only inspire you about the true sources of America’s greatness, it will also provide some lessons in empowerment, tenacity, and fearlessness.” —Walter Isaacson
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.