American Diplomacy

Books of Interest
October 2016

Dear Readers,

As you probably noticed, our last posting contained an announcement that our contributing editor responsible for our "Books of Interest" section (and former editor of this journal) Bill Kiehl was stepping down from that post. This month I am pleased to announce that we have a new contributing editor, Margaret Pearson, who will take his place. Maggie, as she prefers to be known, is, like Bill, a retired senior Foreign Service Officer who enjoyed a long career in Public Diplomacy. Maggie joined the board of American Diplomacy earlier this year. She brings much needed enthusiasm and new ideas to our journal as we move from celebrating our 20th year in existence to the next stage in our journey.

Amb. (ret.) Michael W. Cotter
Publisher, American Diplomacy


Margaret Pearson is American Diplomacy's new Contributing Editor for Books and a former State Department Senior Foreign Service Officer. She is a strong advocate for the importance of public diplomacy in the conduct of foreign affairs. In her 27-year career with the Department of State she has held posts in Asia and Europe as well as Washington, D.C.

After two years of Chinese language training in Washington and Taibei Ms. Pearson became a Cultural Affairs Officer in Beijing in 1981 where she worked on the recently minted Fulbright Program, developed the first U.S. Film Festival in China, and worked with the U.S,, Chinese, and foreign press. On her return to Washington she headed the China Desk at the United States Information Agency. Subsequently, she had two assignments at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, one in the US Mission to NATO's press office and the other seconded to the NATO International Staff as Deputy Director of NATO's Press and Cultural Service. In this position she chaired NATO's Public Affairs Council, managed the awarding of public affairs program grants among NATO member nations, and oversaw the NATO Press and Culture budget. Additional assignments included Public Affairs Advisor for the State Department's Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the breakup of Yugoslavia and the subsequent Bosnian War. Later she took assignments as Press Spokesperson and Director of Information at the US Embassy in Paris and Special Advisor for Eastern European Community Property Affairs (Holocaust and Post-WWII property provenance issues) which she managed from Turkey with frequent travel to Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Prior to her retirement, she was a Senior Examiner and head of the Final Review Panel at the State Department Board of Examiners, the office responsible for evaluating candidates for the US Foreign Service. Ms. Pearson holds a B.A. degree from Tulane University and an M.A. degree from California State University, San Diego.



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New Books Of Interest, October 2016

This issue marks my first as Contributing Editor for Books and I look forward to continuing the excellent work of my predecessor and former colleague, Bill Kiehl. In addition to alerting our readership to significant works of regional, political, and historic interest we will highlight books on the practice of diplomacy in achieving national goals and give emphasis to the role of cultural diplomacy and social media in shaping contemporary foreign policy. As in the past, we'll provide basic information on the books we highlight as well as links to additional material for readers wishing to learn more. From time to time we will also feature an original book review or book essay of interest.

Margaret Pearson
October 2016

Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover
Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich China's Quest by John W. Garver Blood and Sand by Alex Von Tunzelmann Cover Point by Jamsheed Marker Task Force Report by the Antiquities Coalition, Asia Society, and The Middle East Institute




Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets
An Oral History
by Svetlana Alexievich
Translated by Bela Shayevich
Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (May 24, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0399588809
ISBN-13: 978-0399588808

"Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets," a sprawling examination of life in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of a feral brand of capitalism. Dwight Garner in NYT Books of The Times, May 2016

Already hailed as a masterpiece across Europe, Secondhand Time is an intimate portrait of a country yearning for meaning after the sudden lurch from Communism to capitalism in the 1990s plunged it into existential crisis. A series of monologues by people across the former Soviet empire, it is Tolstoyan in scope, driven by the idea that history is made not only by major players but also by ordinary people talking in their kitchens."—The New York Times

"[Alexievich] documents the last days of the Soviet Union and the transition to capitalism in a soul-wrenching 'oral history' that reveals the very different sides of the Russian experience…. [Her] work turns Solzhenitsyn inside out and overpowers recent journalistic accounts of the era…. She spends hours recording conversations, sometimes returning years later, and always trying to go beyond the battered and distrusted communal pravda to seek the truths hidden within individuals."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015




China's Quest: The History of the Foreign Relations of the People's Republic of China
by John W. Garver
Oxford University Press
ISBN-13: 978-0190261054
ISBN-10: 0190261056

This superb, lengthy volume knits together thick descriptions of events in China from 1949 until today into a clear, compelling narrative. In Garver's telling, all of China's modern leaders—from Mao Zedong, who was guided by his leftist vision, to Deng Xiaoping, who prioritized market-responsive economic modernization, to Xi Jinping, the current president, who has played great-power politics and built a strongman persona—have steadfastly pursued what they believed to be China's interests. Each leader saw his country as facing a deep domestic crisis of legitimacy, and their respective foreign policies were primarily attempts to shore up that weakness. But their efforts to legitimize the regime all had fatal flaws, which compelled their successors—or will compel them, in Xi's case—to reinvent the stories that the party told the people. With each reinvention, Beijing's external policies changed to fit the new line. But the Communist Party has yet to come up with a convincing rationale for one-party rule that can simultaneously make the Chinese people, China's neighbors, and the world beyond feel comfortable with China's rise and also aid domestic stability and material progress. The struggle goes on. As Garver concludes: "There may be further detours."

Dr. John W. Garver is Emertius Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He specializes in China's foreign relations

Reviewed by David Lampton




Blood and Sand
Suez, Hungary, and Eisenhower's Campaign for Peace
by Alex Von Tunzelman
ISBN: 9780062249241
ISBN 10: 006224924X

This is a revelatory history of dramatic events and people, for the first time setting both crises in the context of the global Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the treacherous power politics of imperialism and oil. Blood and Sand resonates strikingly with the problems of oil control, religious fundamentalism, and international unity that face the world today, and is essential reading for anyone concerned with the state of the modern Middle East and Europe.

Blood and Sand includes 25-30 black-and-white photographs.

Anchored with fresh documentary evidence, Blood and Sand is a riveting re-evaluation of the Cold War crises of 1956: Suez and Hungary. Alex von Tunzelmann has written a definitive history of these crucial events—a real page-turner and monument to first-rate scholarship."—Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America.

"A thoroughly well-researched, action-packed, and highly readable account of the two major international crises that shook the world in 1956, Blood and Sand is a fascinating tale of plots and conspiracies, of deception and double-dealing, of bullying and blundering."—Avi Shlaim, author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.

"Von Tunzelmann deftly describes and links these twin struggles and offers excellent profiles of the key players, including Nasser and Eisenhower, shown here as the true 'hero' for his wisdom and restraint. This is an outstanding reexamination of these sad, history-altering events."—Booklist, starred review

"Skillfully and artfully integrates the complex, simultaneous Suez and Hungarian crises of 1956 into a single story of Cold War conflict as no one has before."—Publishers Weekly

"Von Tunzelmann's narrative cracks along like an international political thriller as she tracks the action day by day, sometimes hour by hour. A fine new account of an unnecessary crisis."—Kirkus
product details section

Alex von Tunzelmann is a British historian and author.



Cover Point: Impressions of Leadership in Pakistan

Jamsheed Marker
Oxford University Press
ISBN-13: 978-0199402892
ISBN-10: 0199402892

Jamsheed Marker's lifetime in the diplomatic service of Pakistan has given him a unique vintage point. In cricket terms, he was at cover point, near enough to the wicket to follow the action around the stumps… yet sufficiently distant for a general overview of the state of play. Cover Point covers Marker's impressions of Pakistan's most powerful leaders. This work relates the first-hand impressions of the author which he garnered during his career, starting with Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah up until the rule of General Pervez Musharraf.

Distinguished veteran Pakistani diplomat Jamsheed Marker hails from a well-known Parsee family of Quetta and Karachi. He was born on 24 November 1922 in Hyderabad, India. During the Second World War he served as an officer in the Royal Indian Naval Volunteer Reserve, first in command of a magnetic minesweeper, and then on combined operations in Burma. When the war ended, Marker joined his family business. He has served on the Boards of several public and private corporations in banking, insurance, and shipping and in April 1965 Jamsheed Marker was appointed as High Commissioner of Pakistan to Ghana.



Culture Under Threat: Recommendations for the
US Government
A task force report by the Antiquities Coalition, the Asia Society, and the Middle East Institute
April 2016

Since the Arab Spring, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), culture has become a weapon of war and a terrorist financing tool for violent extremist organizations.

The Antiquities Coalition, Asia Society, and Middle East Institute convened the #CultureUnderThreat Task Force to counter these threats to world heritage and national security. The Task Force brought together leaders from the heritage, law enforcement, legal, military, and security communities. This was the first time such a diverse group of experts came together to develop a comprehensive range of solutions.

The joint task force report—Culture Under Threat: Recommendations for the U.S. Government—details the current situation and puts forward 31 specific recommendations to address the ongoing crisis. It calls for new policies, practices, and priorities for the United States to implement, both on its own and in conjunction with the international community and private sector. These include steps that can be taken by the Obama Administration, Congress, United Nations, and the art market.




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