• Heart of Fire

  • An Immigrant Daughter's Story
  • By: Mazie K. Hirono
  • Narrated by: Mazie K. Hirono
  • Length: 14 hrs and 59 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (85 ratings)

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Heart of Fire  By  cover art

Heart of Fire

By: Mazie K. Hirono
Narrated by: Mazie K. Hirono
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Publisher's Summary

“Heart of Fire is a revelatory, evocative, deeply moving book.” (Washington Post)

“Amazing...a memoir I really loved.” (Secretary Hillary Clinton, “You and Me Both” podcast)

“A beautiful book.” (Trevor Noah, The Daily Show)

The intimate and inspiring life story of Mazie Hirono, the first Asian-American woman and the only immigrant serving in the U.S. Senate

Mazie Hirono is one of the most fiercely outspoken Democrats in Congress, but her journey to the U.S. Senate was far from likely. Raised on a rice farm in rural Japan, she was seven years old when her mother, Laura, left her abusive husband and sailed with her two elder children to Hawaii, crossing the Pacific in steerage in search of a better life. Though the girl then known as "Keiko" did not speak or read English when she entered first grade, she would go on to serve as a state representative and as Hawaii's lieutenant governor before winning election to Congress in 2006. 

In this deeply personal memoir, Hirono traces her remarkable life from her earliest days in Hawaii, when the family lived in a single room in a Honolulu boarding house while her mother worked two jobs to keep them afloat, to her emergence as a highly effective legislator whose determination to help the most vulnerable was grounded in her own experiences of economic insecurity, lack of healthcare access, and family separation. Finally, it chronicles Hirono's recent transformation from dogged yet soft-spoken public servant into the frank and fiery advocate we know her as today.

For the vast majority of Mazie Hirono's five decades in public service, even as she fought for the causes she believed in, she strove to remain polite and reserved. Steeped in the nonconfrontational cultures of Japan and Hawaii, and aware of the expectations of women in politics--chiefly, that they should never show an excess of emotion - she had schooled herself to bite her tongue, even as her male colleagues continually underestimated her. After the 2016 election, however, she could moderate herself no longer. In the face of a dangerous administration--and amid crucial battles with lasting implications for our democracy, from the Kavanaugh hearings to the impeachment trial--Senator Hirono was called to give voice to the fire that had always been inside her. 

The compelling and moving account of a woman coming into her own power over the course of a lifetime in public service, and of the mother whose courageous choices made her life possible, Heart of Fire is the story of a uniquely American journey, told by one of those fighting hardest to ensure that a story like hers is still possible in this country.

©2021 Mazie K. Hirono (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“[A] multigenerational tale...built around her political and feminist awakening...most powerfully, Heart of Fire is about Hirono’s growing determination to loosen her tongue.” (Rebecca Traister, The Cut)

“[A] courageous and vivid depiction of growing up in Hawaii as a poor immigrant.” (The Washington Post

“By no means does Hirono present her story as just one victory after another, or as simply a political parable. She tells amusing stories about her foibles...[and] confesses to setbacks in her love life.... Grit is the through line of Heart of Fire.” (San Francisco Chronicle)  

"With both ferocity and compassion, Hirono chronicles her experiences in Congress, exposing the rampant hypocrisy and illogical behavior she has witnessed. At the same time, warmth and love shine through, as she attributes her success and determination to the example set by her mother. A heartfelt and fiery political memoir and immigrant story.” (Kirkus Reviews

What listeners say about Heart of Fire

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Mahalo Maize

Loved it! So we've finally confirmed, there's a little " tida" there. Go Girl, Aloha

2 people found this helpful

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Possibly the best book I’ve heard all year!

I read a lot of memoirs by political figures and I am hard pressed to recall any that are more thoughtful, touching, funny, smart, powerful, and inspiring. At every turn her story is grounded in the legacies and lessons of her family’s there-and-back-again odyssey as three generations of strong, hard-working women gave everything they had to stay above water and ultimately lift others up with them. It was all the more touching to hear her tell her own story. I didn’t want the conversation to end.

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A Book with Heart

Loved listening to Mazie Hirono. Her story is an American story for all of us.

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wonderful

Enjoyed the story Ifelt like I was walking the path with you. As a child of 60's - 80's (76-81 college) I watch my mom fight the right to make her own way. She taught the children that they classified as hard to teach. "Ever Child Can Learn" She taught me more than bricks and mortar. Thank you for sharing.

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Deeply Moving

This is a beautiful, deeply moving memoir. It is a story of family and striving, of succeeding and reaching back to help others.

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Beautifully written

A fascinating story of an immigrant family and a glimpse into the experiences and values that made Mazie Hirono
into such a beautiful caring person and into a distinguished senator representing the best of our countryʻs values.

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Amazing women

This is a wonderful book about strong women who persevere through extraordinary situations. So inspiring!!!

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Mazie’s Journey

Love the plain spoken words which Maxie used to tell her story. I was caught by the sincerity and the reality of her journey. Her words rang true as I saw her family struggles and how her spirit evolved. Perhaps it’s because I admire her straightforward words each time I hear her speak. She doesn’t hold her punches and tells it like it is. That’s what I heard in her reading. Truly enjoyed it.

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Inspiring, required reading

This story is so compelling, I couldn't stop listening. I have known and admired Mazie Hirono for nearly 40 years, but knew very little but the outline of her backstory. I am so glad she narrated her own book, so I could hear the sincerity of her words and the emotion in her voice as she spoke of the desperate circumstances of her young life, her mother's heroism, and the loss of her younger brother. She has earned the position of power and trust she now holds, and she takes nothing for granted. Her triumphant personal story informs and inspires us to be better.

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Senator Hirono ROCKS!!

Wow! I am so inspired by this incredible woman. She is a true public servant and I am so grateful that her mother did bring her to the US. Thank you!!! Here is to Senator Hirono: you are bright, strong, steadfast and the people of Hawaii are fortunate to have her represent them. As a US citizen, I love witnessing Senator Hirono’s relentless determination to help those less fortunate. Last, I’m glad Senator Hirono narrated this book!