The Ambassadors: America’s Diplomats on the Front Lines

S. & S. Nov. 2019. 352p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781501172410. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781501172427. POL SCI
Veteran Los Angeles Times journalist and diplomatic correspondent Richter profiles four front-line diplomats representing the United States in the Middle East after the 9/11 attacks: Ryan Crocker in Afghanistan, Robert Ford in Iraq, J. Christopher Stevens in Libya, and Anne Patterson in Pakistan. These individuals personify the best of the American diplomatic corps: knowledgeable, adept in local languages, hardworking, and courageous. His subjects had repeated assignments in hot spots, from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Libya and Egypt, and in the war zones of Iraq and Syria. They engaged and confronted government leaders and citizens in all spheres of society, and provided informed advice to Washington even when the White House or the Pentagon wasn’t interested. Richter offers a coherent, comprehensive picture of war-torn or fragmented regions, and the personal commitment of the diplomats to serve American interests and help their host countries. He creates appealing portraits of strong and dedicated professionals deserving of support and respect from both Washington politicians and the American public.
VERDICT Highly recommended as a rich analysis of the challenges of nation building in various parts of the world, and the network of highly capable diplomats committed to serving their country.

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