The book is an excellent read; it was also a free read with Amazon Prime. You would think from the title this would be very political, but it does not come off that way. The writer, Ronan Farrow, is a reasonably familiar name but I did not know he worked in the state department. The writer does a great job bringing in his real-life experiences and a historical context to the changing role of diplomacy.
What I found interesting in this book, it is not just the political issues of the day, it tells the story in recent times since the gulf war, but it mainly focuses on the role of the state department over the years and the actual role they play in international politics. The book goes behind the scenes to tell the story of the people in the state department.
Typically when we watch the news, we see some mention of the state department or the Secretary of state, but we don’t get a good feel for what those people do, this book will shed light on all of those things and how the state department has shaped international affairs.
The author does a fantastic job telling the story of the state department and the diplomats in different parts of the world brokering deals while also juggling domestic political agendas, from the white house to the military.
You will get a clear picture of the time, the events and the people in these roles. You will see how the role of diplomacy has changed to be more driven toward military solutions than diplomatic solutions. I did not feel the author drove his opinion or agenda in this area; he presented the situations and how diplomacy in the past led to deals with fewer conflicts and the current events of today with a limited emphasis on diplomacy and the world.
You will get a good feel of how each administration changed over the years. You will see how the State Department has been altered due to current events and the reasons why the agency has shrunk in size with their diminished role. You will come away with the feeling that we have possibly missed opportunities to avoid conflicts.
It is a good read, the flow is good, and you will get some insight into a part of government that plays a vital role we hear very little about. The book will bring out in detail what is happening behind the scenes that you do not see in the news. It is a well-written story that is not very political and very personal about the people that do these very challenging jobs.