The only immigrant in the U.S. Senate traces her life from Japan to her upbringing in Hawaii, where her single mother worked two jobs to keep the family afloat, to her emergence as a lawmaker and dogged public servant.
Heart of Fire tells the powerful story of an immigrant family and how they held together through poverty; xenophobia; and abuse as they pursued American ideals of equality, justice, and freedom. It is one of the most inspiring and authentic political memoirs among a sea of self-aggrandizing political titles of recent years. Hirono also bring journalistic objectivity about the obstacles she overcame regarding the misogyny and condescending culture in the male dominated halls of Congress ... Hirono is very candid about the serious relationships in her life and about her personal faults that contributed to breakups ... a beacon of hope that integrity and truth is in the capital in this cynical and perilous time.
The most successful and satisfying [political memoirs] make a significant political argument or draw back the curtain to reveal previously unknown details and truths about the authors and the events they have witnessed. In this regard Heart of Fire, which traces Mazie Hirono’s journey from poor immigrant to U.S. senator, is partially successful. When Hirono writes about her childhood, her mother and family, their arrival in Hawaii from Japan, and the poverty, hardship, fear and struggle they faced, Heart of Fire is a revelatory, evocative, deeply moving book.
The sections dealing with Hirono’s political rise in Hawaii and her time in Congress are more guarded and less compelling ... Hirono does call out some political allies and others she believes have crossed her or let her down along the way. But as a Democratic senator she clearly feels constrained from making significant criticisms or revelations about her own party and leadership ... One of the few revelatory anecdotes in the book involves Clinton and her book about the presidential campaign ... In many ways Heart of Fire is two books: Hirono’s courageous and vivid depiction of growing up in Hawaii as a poor immigrant, and her account of a political life, laden with details but lacking the same vibrancy and candor. Uniting the two, however, is the fire Hirono inherited from her mother, which she has used to oppose Trump and congressional Republicans.
Hirono has written one of the finest political memoirs in the history of the genre ... One of the book's greatest strengths is the author's ability to consistently connect the experiences of her formative years with her political drive and perspective. The book also embraces the setting of ... readers will find that her voice is as strong in her memoir as it was on the Senate floor ... Hirono offers an astoundingly compelling glance into U.S. politics, and also provides an honest look at how much grit it takes for people from less privileged backgrounds to make it in American politics and make a difference in their community. A must-read that demands a broad audience.