From the first Asian-American woman and the only immigrant to serve in the U.S. Senate, a moving and inspiring account of a woman coming into her own voice and power over the course of a historic career in American politics
Now one of the most outspoken leaders on the left, Senator Mazie Keiko Hirono's journey to the U.S. Senate was anything but likely. Raised in poverty on a rice farm in rural Japan, Hirono was eight years old when her mother left the abusive man she had married and journeyed with her two elder children to the United States, crossing the Pacific in steerage in search of a better life. Though Mazie did not speak English when she entered Hawaiian schools, she went on to serve as a state representative, then as Hawaii's Lieutenant Governor, and then as a United States Congresswoman, before winning election to the U.S. Senate in 2012.
Despite her remarkable achievements, Hirono was consistently underestimated in her public life. She had always sought to be polite, restrained, civil--an expectation she felt she needed to conform to as an Asian-American woman navigating the old-boy networks of politics. But her reputation as the "good girl of politics" went out the window with the arrival of two crises: a cancer diagnosis, and the results of the 2016 election. The country was in crisis, and she could moderate herself no longer. It was then that Hirono finally began speaking with the full force of her own voice, becoming the fiery critic and advocate we know her as today.
In this intimate and revealing memoir, Hirono shows us how she has used that voice, sharing never-before-reported, behind the scenes details from some of the most contentious chapters in our recent history. She writes movingly about how, as the daughter of a single, working-class mother who was forced to leave her youngest son behind in Japan - to tragic consequences - crucial contemporary issues such as poverty, healthcare access, and family separations are intensely personal for her.
Frank, moving, relatable, and inspiring, Heart of Fire
is a story that embodies the American dream, written by one of those fighting hardest to preserve it.