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Publisher's Summary

A harrowing exploration of the collapse of American diplomacy and the abdication of global leadership.

American diplomacy is under siege. Offices across the State Department sit empty while abroad, the military-industrial complex has assumed the work once undertaken by peacemakers. We're becoming a nation that shoots first and asks questions later.

In an astonishing account ranging from Washington, DC, to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and North Korea in the years since 9/11, acclaimed journalist and former diplomat Ronan Farrow illuminates one of the most consequential and poorly understood changes in American history. His firsthand experience in the State Department affords a personal look at some of the last standard-bearers of traditional statecraft, including Richard Holbrooke, who made peace in Bosnia and died while trying to do so in Afghanistan. Farrow's narrative is richly informed by interviews with whistle-blowers, policymakers, and a warlord, from Henry Kissinger to Hillary Clinton. Diplomacy, Farrow argues, has declined after decades of political cowardice, shortsightedness, and outright malice - but it may just offer America a way out of a world at war.

©2018 Ronan Farrow (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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Gifted Author

I’ve read a lot of excellent books lately but this book is the most beautifully written book that brings one alone through the author’s travels in Afghanistan and Africa and the political disarray in Washington DC. This 32 year old author has lived a lifetime and generously shares his experiences and relationships with his readers. I loved this book!

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Jimmy
  • Powell, OH, United States
  • 04-24-18

Well Timed and Authoritative:

The conclusions of this well written and meticulously researched book are hard to dismiss as “fake news.”

Farrow writes to all audiences, and the interviews offer something new about each party.

America has always been served by many tools in the “toolbox” with diplomacy ranking among the most effective. Farrow provides convincing evidence of why losing this capability only serves our enemies.

48 of 54 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States
  • 04-28-18

I feel smarter having read this book.

In an age wherein stupidity, superstition, and paranoia and celebrated, we have in this book and incredibly well thought out and researched, intelligent narrative. It illustrates clearly the perils of our current political path. Carefully and methodically the author spells out in a historical timeline the hits and misses of our country's foreign policy. Mr. Farrow's credentials for writing this book are unparalleled. His delivery is unadorned and direct. I could feel the synapses in my brain grow stronger as I listened. If you have any interest in the subject (you should) this is an excellent resource.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • TH
  • 05-03-18

I guess we really are present at the destruction

This book is a masterpiece. This book was a joy to read. And this book terrifies me. I still have hope though, because more incredible people like Richard Hollbroke and Ronan Farrow are working to end this war and make peace work again.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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This book is everything!

A deep dive into the complex importance of the state department and the potential consequences that we are all sure to suffer if this institution continues to be neglected and stripped.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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He loses his point

I was really excited to read/listen to this book and downloaded it within a day of hearing about it. I was extremely disappointed, however, and felt his pitch was really misleading. He goes down long, in-depth personal stories of individual diplomats to the point I felt he was just trying to prove he had done thorough interviews but no longer had a point to the overall book. He could have just written biographies of people he found interesting and saved us the hope of a broader narrative about America's role in the world. I also doubt he really understands foreign policy and the diplomatic process, but seeks to fill in his knowledge gaps with LOTS of details about the people involved. I finally stopped listening and returned the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting points, stretched writing

The book sheds light on many political event, with interesting points, but what have been written (or said) could have been way more shorter and concise. Ronan’s narration is overall good. I actually finished listening to the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Worth hearing, but...

The facts covered were crucial to trying to understanding our times. But the use of first, second and third person made it a challenge to follow, along with jumping back and forth in time. In the end it did seem to come together.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well written and excellently performed.

A very well written and thoughtful book that was only furthered by a excellent performance.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Required reading for the Trump administration

Mr Farrow’s incredibly well researched account of the history (and likely future) of American diplomacy is quite dense in detail. If that seems a negative characteristic, it will be the only one in this review.

One could perceive a “Cliff notes” version of the message of the book by reading only the Prologue and the Epilogue. If one has a bit more time, read Part III also. However, to do so would prevent one from appreciating the rich depth and detail of the content within the chapters of Parts II and III (a testament to the exhaustive research effort represented by Farrow’s work).

In the end, the message of this work is a scary prediction of the dangerous road that this country is headed down, unless the fractious political situation cannot be compromised by some renewed appreciation for decency, integrity, honesty, and.........diplomacy!

8 of 12 people found this review helpful