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Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century

Knopf. May 2019. 608p. photos. notes. ISBN 9780307958020. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780307958037. BIOG
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OrangeReviewStarDuring his time as a career diplomat, Richard Holbrooke (1941–2010) helped broker the peace in Bosnia that led to the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords and most recently served as U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan under President Obama and ambassador to the UN under President Clinton. In this first treatment of the politician since Derek Chollet's The Unquiet American and the HBO film The Diplomat, directed by Holbrooke's son David, New Yorker journalist Packer (The Unwinding) gives a balanced analysis of Holbrooke, suggesting he was arguably one of the most significant international policy advisors not to serve as secretary of state. Focusing on the private life and public career of a restless, and at times assertive, politician and political advisor, the author mines interviews conducted with more than 200 people for background, whose accounts are thus individually unattributed; the Holbrooke Papers, to which he had special access; as well as secondary sources.
VERDICT An insightful and indispensable rendering of an intriguing and accomplished figure who persisted in the pursuit of peace. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/18.]

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