The American Ambassador

Overview

The American Ambassador is at once a riveting tale of suspense and a thoughtful meditation on the fragility of Western values in an age of terrorism. William North is a Foreign Service officer who fiercely loves his family and his country. His son, brilliant and thoroughly disaffected, sees his father as the embodiment of all that is corrupt in Western democracies. When the younger North aligns himself with a German terrorist organization, the conflict between father and son escalates to a matter of national ...

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The American Ambassador

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Overview

The American Ambassador is at once a riveting tale of suspense and a thoughtful meditation on the fragility of Western values in an age of terrorism. William North is a Foreign Service officer who fiercely loves his family and his country. His son, brilliant and thoroughly disaffected, sees his father as the embodiment of all that is corrupt in Western democracies. When the younger North aligns himself with a German terrorist organization, the conflict between father and son escalates to a matter of national security. In this breathtaking novel, Ward Just takes us inside the mind of a terrorist, revealing the eerie logic at work there.

The author of A Family Trust takes us behind the lines in the battle between democracy and terrorism with the story of an American ambassador and his son who has joined up with a German terrorist organization.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The 1986 winner of England's Booker Prize, and by all accounts doing very well over there, this novel about a group of elderly Welsh people and their romantic and alcoholic shenanigans is likely to have tougher sledding on this side of the Atlantic. Amis, as usual, offers some funny and even touching moments, but his peculiarly elliptical comic style takes some getting used to. His four aging couplesthree stay-at-homes, responding to the return among them of a TV poet, who has been a success in England, and his wifeare well enough characterized, but once the reader is inside their heads, they all think Amis thoughts: often surly, resentful, nostalgic and deeply conservative. In one remarkable lunchtime scene several of the protagonists grumble about ``the penal system, the health service, the BBC, black people,'' varying this with ``eulogies of President Reagan, Enoch Powell, the South African government, the Israeli hawks . . . ,'' and there is no indication the author is anything but sympathetic. The sheer quantity of boozing that goes on is dizzyingthe men favoring whiskey and gin, the women no really glaring misogyny here, only the usual undertone of Amis dislike white wine. The expertise on the stages of drunkenness and hangover is, as always, awesome, but by the rather unfocused ending, which includes a sudden death, a wedding and a tentative reconciliation, the reader is likely to be as befuddled as most of the characters. March
Library Journal
ospital because of the lingering effects of an old wound, William North reflects on his 20-odd years as a successful Foreign Service officer. Now his career and all that he values are threatened by his own son. As a member of a West German terrorist gang, Bill, Jr., has become the ultimate expatriateintent on destroying both his father and his fatherland. In dramatic episodes of political conflict ranging from Africa to Georgetown to West Berlin and in scenes of quiet domestic tragedy, Just's narrative is eloquent and convincing. He combines a suspenseful plot with a sensitive examination of characters and their divergent values, shifting point of view so that the reader can feel both the pain of the father and the nihilistic anger of his son. Albert E. Wilhelm, English Dept., Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618340781
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 6/19/2003
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 338
  • Sales rank: 797,333
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Ward Just is the author of fourteen previous novels, including the National book Award finalist Echo House and An Unfinished Season, winner of the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Award. In a career that began as a war correspondent for Newsweek and the Washington Post, Just has lived and written in half a dozen countries, including Britain, France, and Vietnam. His characters often lead public lives as politicians, civil servants, soldiers, artists, and writers. It is the tension between public duty and private conscience that animates much of his fiction, including Forgetfulness. Just and his wife, Sarah Catchpole, divide their time between Martha’s Vineyard and Paris.

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