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There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First… (2021)

by Fiona Hill

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1302174,925 (3.98)4
"As a memoir this is hard to put down; if you are seeking a better American future you should pick it up."--Timothy Snyder, New York Times best-selling author ofOn Tyranny A celebrated foreign policy expert and key impeachment witness reveals how declining opportunity has set America on the grim path of modern Russia--and draws on her personal journey out of poverty, as well as her unique perspectives as an historian and policy maker, to show how we can return hope to our forgotten places.   Fiona Hill grew up in a world of terminal decay. The last of the local mines had closed, businesses were shuttering, and despair was etched in the faces around her. Her father urged her to get out of their blighted corner of northern England: "There is nothing for you here, pet," he said.     The coal-miner's daughter managed to go further than he ever could have dreamed. She studied in Moscow and at Harvard, became an American citizen, and served three U.S. Presidents. But in the heartlands of both Russia and the United States, she saw troubling reflections of her hometown and similar populist impulses. By the time she offered her brave testimony in the first impeachment inquiry of President Trump, Hill knew that the desperation of forgotten people was driving American politics over the brink--and that we were running out of time to save ourselves from Russia's fate. In this powerful, deeply personal account, she shares what she has learned, and shows why expanding opportunity is the only long-term hope for our democracy.… (more)
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Good read. Not what I was expecting.
  rehpii | Mar 27, 2022 |
You will recognize her as one of the defense specialists who testified in the first Trump impeachment attempt, but that is the focus of only a few pages in this compelling autobiography. Fiona Hill writes about her childhood in a dead coal mining town in the North East of England, and how she had to struggle to thwart the caste system that would have left her married and pregnant and poor at eighteen. Instead, thanks to her mother's job as a National Health nurse, her family was able to buy a home, which raised their standard of living and compensated for her father's loss of income when the local mine closed. She shares stories of other "clever lasses" who were the role models for her taking the difficult and frequently disqualifying final exams which make or break young British futures. Hill attended St. Andrews University (after being snubbed out of Oxford) and eventually received her doctorate at Harvard as a scholar on Russia. Much of the book is spent on comparisons of the misnamed "populism" that began with Yeltsin, Thatcher, and Reagan and descended into Putin, Nigel Farage, and Trump, and she’s incredibly knowledgeable about all three countries and cultures.

The most eye-opening passage explains how two prominent New York-based Jewish political consultants were recommended to Hungarian dictator Viktor Orban by Bibi Netanyahu so that they could establish George Soros as Orban’s quintessential external political enemy, a “classic, historical anti-Semitic conspiracy designed for political ends”.

The book closes with Hill’s suggestions to CEOS, retirees, young professionals, students, and academics on actions they can take to improve the lives of all citizens of the US, Great Britain, and Russia.

Quotes: “A college degree and other advanced or technical training were individuals’ personal investments in their own future, not part of the state’s investment in its population’s education or in the country’s future. The ethos of Thatcherism and Reaganism had spread form economics to education, which would prove disastrous on both a human and a political level.”

“Populist politicians claim to speak on behalf of millions of people with whom they in fact have no authentic connection, and in whom they have no genuine interest beyond securing votes to support their often very personal agendas.”

“Populists like Putin provide straightforward, plain-speaking explanations for people’s misfortunes by offering scapegoats, labels, and catchphrases.”

“Trump was selfish to his core and had the most fragile ego of anyone I had encountered to date. Everything and everyone was seen through his eyes in terms of how their interactions reflected on him and on what they said about him.” ( )
  froxgirl | Nov 26, 2021 |
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(Prologue) On November 21, 2019, I walked through the door of Room 1100 of the Longworth Office Building in Washington, D.C., to appear before the House Intelligence Committee.
I was born in 1965 and grew up poor as the daughter of a former coal miner in the United Kingdom's equivalent of America's Rust Belt, the North East of England.
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"As a memoir this is hard to put down; if you are seeking a better American future you should pick it up."--Timothy Snyder, New York Times best-selling author ofOn Tyranny A celebrated foreign policy expert and key impeachment witness reveals how declining opportunity has set America on the grim path of modern Russia--and draws on her personal journey out of poverty, as well as her unique perspectives as an historian and policy maker, to show how we can return hope to our forgotten places.   Fiona Hill grew up in a world of terminal decay. The last of the local mines had closed, businesses were shuttering, and despair was etched in the faces around her. Her father urged her to get out of their blighted corner of northern England: "There is nothing for you here, pet," he said.     The coal-miner's daughter managed to go further than he ever could have dreamed. She studied in Moscow and at Harvard, became an American citizen, and served three U.S. Presidents. But in the heartlands of both Russia and the United States, she saw troubling reflections of her hometown and similar populist impulses. By the time she offered her brave testimony in the first impeachment inquiry of President Trump, Hill knew that the desperation of forgotten people was driving American politics over the brink--and that we were running out of time to save ourselves from Russia's fate. In this powerful, deeply personal account, she shares what she has learned, and shows why expanding opportunity is the only long-term hope for our democracy.

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