Our Man

Our Man

Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century

Book - 2019
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"Portrays Holbrooke in all of his endearing and exasperating self-willed glory...Both a sweeping diplomatic history and a Shakespearean tragicomedy... If you could read one book to comprehend American's foreign policy and its quixotic forays into quicksands over the past 50 years, this would be it."--Walter Isaacson, The New York Times Book Review

"By the end of the second page, maybe the third, you will be hooked...There never was a diplomat-activist quite like [Holbrooke], and there seldom has been a book quite like this -- sweeping and sentimental, beguiling and brutal, catty and critical, much like the man himself."--David M. Shribman, The Boston Globe

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.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2019].
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780307958020
Characteristics: 592 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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m
mmyaqub
Jul 12, 2019

A novelistic portrait of one America's most ambitious, relentless diplomats -- a larger-than-life character at the very center of some of post-WII America's greatest foreign policy quagmires (Vietnam, Bosnia, Afghanistan). Hardly a hagiography, Packer renders Holbrooke's life and character in its full unvarnished complexity. The section on the Balkan Wars alone is absolutely riveting.

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GummiGirl
Jun 11, 2019

Fascinating. Holbrooke dreamed of being a Great Man but his obvious ego held him back. His nearly 50-year career sheds a light on American politics, several presidents, and indirectly on our country's entire power structure.

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StarGladiator
Apr 25, 2019

I fully admit I only skimmed this book at the book store, but it is sooo obviously a fanboi production: Holbrooke a brilliant, incredible diplomat? Try a careerist yes man of submediocre skills at best.
Let's review his early career: graduated from Columbia University with mediocre [if that] grades in a journalism major, unable to obtain employment at any newspaper. Tried and failed to enter the Dept. of State's Foreign Service --- flunked the exam. Tried and filed to get into US Army OCS --- flunked the exam. Family connections to Dean Rusk got him hired as a nepotistic hire at State - - but certainly do not agree with author's assessments of Holbrooke's achievements.
Although his final achievement was notable: a director at AIG when they sold $480 billion worth of credit default swaps [potential payout valued at betwee $20 trillion to $40 trillion, which they nor anyone else had on hand, of course], leading the financial crisis of 2008.
[Fake news and fake history, anyone????]

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