Sketches from a Life

George Frost Kennan, Author, James Peck, Editor Pantheon Books $22.95 (365p) ISBN 978-0-394-57504-9
Wistful and wise, these travel notes distilled from a long career in diplomatic service and private wanderlust reveal Kennan as a citizen of the world, though one who may be truly at home nowhere. Formerly an ambassador to the U.S.S.R. and to Yugoslavia, the author of The Fateful Alliance and 17 other books here reviles the Soviet system and takes to task the Europeans, who have lost control of their own destiny and are busily destroying their environment. In the U.S., he struggles to reconnect with his Wisconsin and rural Pennsylvania roots; then he hops to southern California, epitome of ``childhood without the promise of maturity.'' Early diary entries fitfully record his bleak stays in Berlin and Moscow in the 1930s and '40s, the devastation of Europe during and after the war. Frequently impersonal, this travelogue is at its best in exquisite word-paintings that capture the spirit and significance of a time and place, whether a Florida key, African grasslands, Fez's maze-like streets, Baghdad, Mexico City, the isle of Capri. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-679-72877-1
Paperback - 365 pages - 978-0-393-32139-5
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