The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World

The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World

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by Derek Chollet, Samantha Power
     
 

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Richard Holbrooke, who died in December 2010, was a pivotal player in U.S. diplomacy for more than forty years. Most recently special envoy for Iraq and Afghanistan under President Obama, Holbrooke also served as assistant secretary of state for both Asia and Europe, and as ambassador to both Germany and the United Nations. He had a key role in brokering a peace

Overview

Richard Holbrooke, who died in December 2010, was a pivotal player in U.S. diplomacy for more than forty years. Most recently special envoy for Iraq and Afghanistan under President Obama, Holbrooke also served as assistant secretary of state for both Asia and Europe, and as ambassador to both Germany and the United Nations. He had a key role in brokering a peace agreement among warring factions in Bosnia that led to the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995.

Widely regarded to possess one of the most penetrating minds of any modern diplomat of any nation, Holbrooke was also well known for his outsized personality, and his capacity to charm and offend in equally colossal measures. In this book, the friends and colleagues who knew him best survey his accomplishments as a diplomat, activist, and author. Excerpts from Holbrooke’s own writings further illuminate each significant period of his career.

The Unquiet American is both a tribute to an exceptional public servant and a backstage history of the last half-century of American foreign policy.

Editorial Reviews

Michael Getler
This is an important, timely and imaginative book, a collection of essays from friends, colleagues, journalists and academics who knew Holbrooke well and observed him closely…The essays are interspersed, cleverly, by Holbrooke's writings—memos, diary entries, articles, book excerpts, op-eds—that illuminate his thinking and capture a breadth beyond that of the clever brawler…the book takes readers through a smart and fast-paced history of half a century with Holbrooke—who, like some diplomatic Zelig, was always on the crucial scene.
—The Washington Post
Jacob Heilbrunn
…a fascinating book.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
Diplomat Richard Holbrooke was known variously as "Hurricane Holbrooke, the Bulldozer, and Raging Bull," but despite the potentially pejorative connotations of these nicknames, he was a compassionate and irresistible force when he saw a need. According to his friend Strobe Talbott, he was "a personification of Thomas Paine's exhortation, 'Lead, follow, or get out of the way!'" This mélange of Holbrooke's own writings and writings by his friends and colleagues tracks his career, from the Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam to his service as United States Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, a position created for him. Holbrooke's years working with Southeast Asia and China during the 1960s, that "slum of a decade," made him a perfect candidate to author the history and critique of the "pacification program" for the Pentagon Papers in 1967. His lengthy and productive career also included being Head of the Peace Corps in Morocco, founder of the American Academy in Berlin, and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. While the remarkable tributes add a compelling dimension to this quasi-biography, it is Holbrooke's own words-from a treatise on graffiti written for The New York Times when he was just 20 years old, to an address to whoever would win the 2008 presidential election outlining the many challenges that person would face-that illustrate what a remarkable individual he was. In addition to painting a dynamic portrait of a life fully lived, this book is an excellent insight into the "quiet" service and how diplomacy really works.
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From the Publisher

Kirkus, October 10, 2011
“An elucidating collection of writing by and about the late fiery, outspoken, undeniably capable United Nations ambassador and longtime diplomat.”

Washington Post, November 13, 2011
“This is an important, timely and imaginative book, a collection of essays from friends, colleagues, journalists and academics who knew Holbrooke well and observed him closely. It is therefore, in one sense, a memorial or a celebration of someone ‘whose presence is sorely missed,’ as co-editors Derek Chollet, author of a book on the Dayton Accords, and Samantha Power, a Pulitzer-winning author and special assistant to Obama, write in the preface. But it is also about someone ‘whose contributions are known in silhouette but — with the lone exception of his role in ending the war in Bosnia — in surprisingly sparse detail’… The book takes readers through a smart and fast-paced history of half a century with Holbrooke — who, like some diplomatic Zelig, was always on the crucial scene.”
 
Boston Globe, November 19, 2011
“Together, the essays paint a portrait of a trailblazing diplomat and highly charismatic man… The Holbrooke that readers see in these pages is direct, sometimes blunt, but always moving forward…“The Unquiet American’’ is a powerful memorial to this unique, indefatigable, and exceptionally capable diplomat.”

Financial Times
“A must-read for anyone interested in public service and US foreign policy. Holbrooke is best known as the architect of the Dayton accords, which brought a tenuous peace to the Balkans. This book is a reminder of how much more he accomplished in his 45-year diplomatic career.”

 
New York Times Book Review
“Derek Chollet and Samantha Power have assembled “The Unquiet American,” a festschrift-like tribute to Holbrooke that includes excerpts from his own writing. The result is a fascinating book.”
 

Huffington Post, column by Stephen Schlesinger
“Remarkable… captures the essence of the Holbrooke persona that dazzled the foreign policy community with its drive, intelligence, wiliness, humor, intense curiosity and characteristic dominance… What is unique about this book is that the editors have also matched every professional recollection with a set of articles written by Holbrooke himself commenting on the same subjects, almost as if Holbrooke intended to mark down his own personal account of past events for posterity.”
 

Foreign Affairs
"A spectacular series of essays retracing [Holbrooke’s] life and career through the eyes of those who knew him best. Power’s essay alone is worth the price of the book; reflecting on her mentor, Power is affectionate, exasperated, and eloquent, catching Holbrooke at his most intense, most personal, and most effective… A collection of writings that reminds those who knew Holbrooke what they have lost and allows others to learn something about one of the great men of our time.”
 
DebtOwed.com
“Enlightening, eye-opening…The introduction by his widow, journalist and author Kati Marton, a Hungarian Jewish refugee, whom he married in 1995, Â is a love letter by a woman who is an outstanding writer…I donate most of my review copies to our perennial cash-strapped public library, but I’m keeping The Unquiet American in my personal collection.”

Lionel Barber, Financial Times
The Unquiet American, edited by Derek Chollet and Samantha Power, is a riveting portrait of the late Richard Holbrooke, one of America’s top diplomatic troubleshooters, through his own writings and contributions from those who knew him. A must-read for anyone interested in US foreign policy and public service.”

Kirkus Reviews
An elucidating collection of writing by and about the late fiery, outspoken, undeniably capable United Nations ambassador and longtime diplomat. Holbrooke (1941–2010) died suddenly at age 69, while serving his final mission as the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, appointed by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. In this omnibus, which incorporates many of his fine, reflective essays, former State Department colleagues like Strobe Talbott, prominent journalists such as Jonathan Alter and widow Kati Marton write movingly about Holbrooke's long and eventful life. His successful career included his diplomatic cutting-of-teeth in Vietnam in the early 1960s, editing Foreign Policy magazine, appointments during every Democratic presidential administration since and including Jimmy Carter's, negotiating the Bosnia war treaty in 1995 (for which he was considered for a Nobel Peace Prize) and spearheading a more assertive approach to AIDS/HIV awareness among the global business community while at the UN, among many other notable accomplishments. Growing up in Scarsdale, N.Y., Holbrooke heeded JFK's idealistic call to "do" for his country and entered the Foreign Service after college. His work on "pacification strategy" as part of the American counterinsurgency effort in Vietnam gave him a unique view on the failed U.S. effort there, which lent him expertise and credibility in diplomacy initiatives decades later in "Ak-Pak." He was chosen as the youngest member of the American delegation to the Paris Peace Talks led by Averell Harriman in 1968, and helped assemble the Pentagon Papers. He worked alternately on Wall Street and as ambassador to Germany in the early Clinton presidency, and he was in favor of expanding NATO and the EU and of reforming the State Department as well as the UN. Holbrooke could be abrasive, ambitious and publicity-savvy; one observer noted, "He was as good at seducing journalists as he was at bullying dictators like Milosevic." Reverential but mostly evenhanded assessment of a singular diplomat.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781610392150
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
11/06/2012
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
1,140,547
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Derek Chollet is the author of The Road to the Dayton Accords: A Study American Statecraft, and coauthor of America Between the Wars: From 11/9 to 9/11. He assisted Richard Holbrooke with the research and writing of his book To End a War, and served as Holbrooke's chief speechwriter while he was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Samantha Power: " Samantha Power is the executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. From 1993 to 1996 she covered the wars in the former Yugoslavia as a reporter for U.S. News and World Report and The Economist. In 1996 she worked for the International Crisis Group (ICG) as a political analyst, helping launch the organization in Bosnia. She is a frequent contributor to The New Republic and is the editor, with Graham Allison, of Realizing Human Rights: Moving from Inspiration to Impact. A native of Ireland, she moved to the United States in 1979 at the age of nine, and graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School. She lives in Winthrop, Massachusetts. "

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