cover image Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy

Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy

Christopher R. Hill. Simon & Schuster, $30 (432p) ISBN 978-1-4516-8591-6

A diplomatic career spent under fire—sometimes literally—is recounted with energy and humor in this lively memoir. Hill recaps 33 years of State Department service in global hot spots: Bosnia and Kosovo, where his SUV was shot while he was at work on a peace settlements; North Korea, where he conducted high-wire nuclear disarmament negotiations; and Iraq, where his motorcade weathered an IED explosion during his as ambassador. Just as riveting are his intimate accounts of combat in the conference room; diplomats cajole and pressure one another toward compromises that depend on subtle shifts in mood and language. (He rescued one joint communiqué by replacing the phrase “peaceful coexistence” with “exist peacefully together.”) Ever attuned to personal relationships, Hill pens vivid portraits of everyone from Serbian war criminals to Mother Teresa. He includes acidulous sketches of Dick Cheney and other neo-conservatives in the George W. Bush administration, which he blames for an excessively militarized foreign policy, and a colorful appreciation of über-envoy Richard Holbrooke, a charming and manipulative “force of nature.” Written in graceful, witty prose and studded with insights into many international crises, Hill’s narrative critiques American diplomacy even as he defends its importance. [em]Agent: David Halpern, Robbins Office. (Oct.) [/em]