‘Undaunted’ inspires with unfiltered emotions and experiences


Andrea Butler

“Undaunted” by Jackie Speier.

Andrea Butler, Staff Writer

Getting shot at point-blank range five times is one thing.

Getting back up, re-entering the political landscape, and then writing a book about it is another.

Jackie Speier chose to pursue politics after being gravely injured, with her troubles being far from over.

Undaunted” by Jackie Speier gives insight into being a female politician in the 1980s and onward, while also recovering from a multitude of losses along the way, yet never letting them get her down for long.

The book starts with Speier’s childhood in San Francisco, and the history behind her grandparents and parent as they immigrated to the U.S. It goes on to describe her introduction to politics working with Assemblyman Leo Ryan full time after completing law school after interning with him during college. The book takes a drastic turn as it goes through the horrific events at Jonestown, Speier’s injury, and subsequently her recovery. Summoning her courage, Speier chooses to go back to politics. With a focus on equal rights and opportunities for women, Speier passes many bills, both in her Senate seat and later in the House of Representatives for the 14th (formerly the 12th) Congressional District.

One of the main factors that made this book different from other autobiographies I’ve read is the blunt nature of all the topics. No matter the event, it’s described exactly how it was whether to be good or bad.

This added a sense of honesty and didn’t sugar coat anything, which is refreshing in autobiographies that can often blur certain truths to their advantages.

Throughout “Undaunted,” Speier went through a tumult of emotions, some of which were less elaborated upon, but none ignored. However, those that were given less explanation were stated in a way that merely meant that they had been accepted by Speier and that she had moved on from those specific emotions.

While many emotions corresponded with devastating events, a fair amount was associated with politics, namely, those Speier was involved in. The vast majority of said policies related to equal policies for women in comparison to men and the focus on women and empowerment was a constant theme cover to cover, as well as a welcome one.

The only detriment to the book was the lack of humorous undertones, making it a heavier read. Usually, a quip here or there lightens the tension and somber mood of a serious topic and makes the book more readable, but this lacked that.

It was really interesting to learn more about the representative in Congress for the district I live in. I’ve never been much into politics, so to learn about what she’s accomplished and the journey along the way is an enlightening experience.

For those of you who live around here, I’d highly recommend reading “Undaunted,” not just to learn about Jackie Speier, but for a good read too.