In contrast to most politicians' self-portraits, this autobiography of Israel's former premier is both frank and very revealing of her personality and goals. Her total lack of pretense is especially winning. At age sixteen she worked as a dressmaker and ""even today I find myself automatically giving a quick glance at the hems of skirts and can run one up with total confidence."" ""Never forget who you are,"" her sister warned her, but she needn't have worried. ""I have never forgotten that I came from a poor family or ever fooled myself into thinking that I was honored anywhere for my beauty, wisdom or erudition."" MeWs practical idealism can be seen in efforts as diverse as the beautification of kibbutzim and her strong advocacy of unemployment benefits. The work that ""most concerned and interested me,"" she writes, was ""the translation of socialist principles into the down-to-earth terminology of everyday life."" The roots of MeWs political ""inflexibility"" come from her life experience--from her first memory of a pogrom through the series of international betrayals she witnessed in the 1930's--Munich was only one capitulation among many--to the Holocaust itself. A preoccupation, obsession, some might say, with Israel's survival and self-reliance were the logical outgrowth. She has much to say on the special problems of women in politics, who ""carry such a heavy double burden"" of maintaining career and home. Although the political events narrated are well known they are recounted with drama and spirit. Don't mistake this for just chicken soup with riposte-noodles: it's a model of its kind and a sure crowd-pleaser.