Your audiobook is waiting…

Our Man

Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century
Narrated by: Joe Barrett
Length: 20 hrs and 11 mins
5 out of 5 stars (77 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

From the award-winning author of The Unwinding - the vividly told saga of the ambition, idealism, and hubris of one of the most legendary and complicated figures in recent American history, set amid the rise and fall of US power from Vietnam to Afghanistan

Richard Holbrooke was brilliant, utterly self-absorbed, and possessed of almost inhuman energy and appetites. Admired and detested, he was the force behind the Dayton Accords that ended the Balkan wars, America's greatest diplomatic achievement in the post-Cold War era. His power lay in an utter belief in himself and his idea of a muscular, generous foreign policy. From his days as a young adviser in Vietnam to his last efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, Holbrooke embodied the postwar American impulse to take the lead on the global stage. But his sharp elbows and tireless self-promotion ensured that he never rose to the highest levels in government that he so desperately coveted. 

His story is thus the story of America during its era of supremacy: its strength, drive, and sense of possibility, as well as its penchant for overreach and heedless self-confidence. In Our Man, drawn from Holbrooke's diaries and papers, we are given a nonfiction narrative that is both intimate and epic in its revelatory portrait of this extraordinary and deeply flawed man and the elite spheres of society and government he inhabited. 

"A brilliant, abrasive diplomat struggles to resolve foreign conflicts while fighting bureaucratic wars at home in this scintillating biography.... Packer makes him a Shakespearean character - egomaniacal, devious, sloppy enough to make presidents deny him the prize of becoming secretary of state, yet charismatic and inspiring - in a larger-than-life portrait brimming with vivid novelistic impressions.... In Holbrooke’s thwarted ambitions, Packer finds both a riveting tale of diplomatic adventure - part high drama, part low pettiness - and a captivating metaphor for America’s waning power." (Publishers Weekly)

©2019 George Packer (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Absorbing… Students of recent world history and of American power, hard and soft, will find this an endlessly fascinating study of character and events." (Kirkus, starred review)

"A portrait of the entirety of the man - not just his public life, but also his private motivations. Holbrooke was always vocal about the need for the United States to show ambition in using its power in service of its values. Packer shows that this idea was connected to, and ultimately inseparable from, Holbrooke’s lifelong ambition to win recognition for personally wielding power and shaping events, even at the expense of his relationships with friends, colleagues, and family." (Foreign Policy)

"Stunning.... If you’re one of the dozens of people running for president, the book is probably the best guide you can find to navigating a transitional moment in American leadership and foreign policy. For the rest of us, it’s a gripping read, and a sad one." (Ben Smith, BuzzFeed News) 

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    61
  • 4 Stars
    16
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    62
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    60
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A five star experience on a great problem solver

Moving, raw and very informative on Presidents Clinton and Obama. Excellent narator and biography on a difficult but brilliant man.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rosemary
  • Greenwich, CT, United States
  • 06-15-19

A Brilliant, funny, addictive book wonderfully narrated

This is as good a history of a flawed, tragic genius of a diplomat and America’s disarrayed foreign policy as you’ll ever get. The narrator sounds as if he’s giving you marvelous personal secrets of the powerful right in your kitchen. Sensational!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Late 20th Century History

Richard Holbrooke was a man of talent and aspirations. He served his country and the world well. A human with both strengths and weaknesses. Well written and narrated.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A fabulous story

Told movingly and brilliantly with extraordinary insight into the many characters Holbrooke met and worked with over a 50-year career.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Zeta
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 06-04-19

Highly recommended. So much more

Than the story of one fascinating man’s life. Such a compelling look at foreign policy—I never thought I would be caught up. Sounds like hype but “Shakespearean” poignant. Behind the curtain glimpses of famous people. it is as billed: it says so much about America maybe in decline. So American. I’m so glad I read this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great

Amazing insights about a man and the inner workings of the government that he served for more than 40 years. It took several hours to get through, but it was time very well spent. Great writing and excellent story telling.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book and Narration

Loved the capture of the man in Packer’s style of writing and Barrett’s narration. Really feel like you know Holbrooke after reading this. What a flawed and fascinating guy.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • r
  • 05-20-19

flawed human

I read this book in print and downloaded it by mistake from audible. it's a very insightful book