Ashley Judd with Maryanne Vollers

Ashley Judd is an actor, advocate and activist. She recently graduated with a master’s from Harvard Kennedy School and continues to appear in films. She serves on the board of directors of Population Services International, Defenders of Wildlife, and the leadership councils of International Center for Research on Women and Apne Aap Worldwide. She has addressed the United Nations, the Senate Foreign Relations committee, and the National Press Club, has served as an expert for the Clinton Global Initiative and the International AIDS Conference, and her op-eds have been published in major newspapers.  Maryanne Vollers is the author of Ghosts of Mississippi, a finalist for the National Book Award. She has also collaborated on two memoirs: Living History, with Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Ice Bound, with Jerri Nielsen, both #1 New York Times bestsellers.



In 2002, award-winning film and stage actor Ashley Judd found her true calling: as a humanitarian and voice for those suffering in neglected parts of the world. After her first trip to the notorious brothels, slums, and hospices of southeast Asia, Ashley knew immediately that she wanted to advocate on behalf of the vulnerable. During her travels, Judd started to write diaries that detailed extraordinary stories of survival and resilience. But along the way, she realized that she was struggling with her own emotional pain, stemming from childhood abandonment and abuse. Seeking in-patient treatment in 2006 for the grief that had nearly killed her, Judd found not only her own recovery and an enriched faith but the spiritual tools that energized and advanced her feminist social justice work. In this deeply moving and unforgettable memoir, Judd describes her odyssey, from lost child to fiercely dedicated advocate, from anger and isolation to forgiveness and activism. In telling it, she answers the ineffable question about the relationship between healing oneself and service to others.

“An important and moving memoir. … Every reader will be inspired.”—Bill Clinton

“Powerful … a tour de force.”Washington Examiner

“A fascinating story.”The Washington Post

“Judd’s resolve and dedication to her work is humbling and inspiring, and her memoir is fantastic.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Amazingly, searingly frank. … As I read her account of her childhood, I ask, ‘How could one so traumatized, so abused in childhood, become the woman we know, so caring, so altruistic, so compassionate, so concerned for others, and so joyful?’”—Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“All That Is Bitter and Sweet,” is, at its heart, the story of Ashley Judd’s awakening. In sharing the secrets of a childhood fraught with neglect, abuse and debilitating depression, she confronts the stigma of mental illness and celebrates the serenity that comes with the hard work of recovery. The reward is a new role on a new stage -- global advocate for HIV/AIDS sufferers. The humanitarian pursuit of social justice and gender equality is gritty work, but the people she meets in the slums, brothels, sex-slave markets, clinics and orphanages reinforce her faithful contention that every life has value. Judd’s search for justice and peace -- for herself, and for the millions without a voice – is testament to the adage that when we help one person, we help the whole world."—Greg Mortenson, author of NYT bestselling Three Cups of Tea

"Ashley Judd is has lived an extraordinary life. She has learned from it and turned it into a blessing and a call to action for others. Her journey is both moving and inspiring, unique and universal. Reading about it makes your own life make more sense."—Marianne Williamson

"This lovely woman, this movie "This lovely woman, this movie star, this determined dreamer will be familiar to you, assuming you have struggled to resolve your childhood, carve out a career and make greater use of yourself.  Ashley Judd's story reminds us to work harder and on more important tasks, and promises that if we do, contentedness awaits."—Kelly Corrigan, author of NYT bestselling The Middle Place and Lift

Rights: Ballantine, World English; Weltbild, Poland