The Back Channel: A Memoir Of American Diplomacy And The Case For Its Renewal
  • The Back Channel: A Memoir Of American Diplomacy And The Case For Its Renewal
  • The Back Channel: A Memoir Of American Diplomacy And The Case For Its Renewal
  • The Back Channel: A Memoir Of American Diplomacy And The Case For Its Renewal
ISBN: 0525508864
EAN13: 9780525508861
Language: English
Pages: 512
Dimensions: 1.56" H x 9.56" L x 6.44" W
Weight: 1.74 lbs.
Format: Hardcover
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Book Overview

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A masterful diplomatic memoir (The Washington Post) from Joe Biden's nominee for CIA director, a career ambassador who served five presidents and ten secretaries of state--an impassioned argument for the enduring value of diplomacy in an increasingly volatile world.

Over the course of more than three decades as an American diplomat, William J. Burns played a central role in the most consequential diplomatic episodes of his time--from the bloodless end of the Cold War to the collapse of post-Cold War relations with Putin's Russia, from post-9/11 tumult in the Middle East to the secret nuclear talks with Iran.

In The Back Channel, Burns recounts, with novelistic detail and incisive analysis, some of the seminal moments of his career. Drawing on a trove of newly declassified cables and memos, he gives readers a rare inside look at American diplomacy in action. His dispatches from war-torn Chechnya and Qaddafi's bizarre camp in the Libyan desert and his warnings of the Perfect Storm that would be unleashed by the Iraq War will reshape our understanding of history--and inform the policy debates of the future. Burns sketches the contours of effective American leadership in a world that resembles neither the zero-sum Cold War contest of his early years as a diplomat nor the Read More chevron_right

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Book Reviews (6)

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   Superbly written by a solid professional
He is a competent professional who is extremely solid and possesses a lot of integrity. His account of the many events in his book is true, although he tries to play the many warts that plague America's foreign policy at times. The US is extremely lucky to have Bill as head of the CIA. He will always do the right by his country and not succumb to the whims of politicians.
   Tour de force of US diplomatic history in 1980-2014
Occasionally, I write book reviews. But this book compels me to do at least honor a great public servant of this country. The Deputy Secretary, Ambassador Burns, has written a memoir that is truly remarkable and covers the epochal period of US diplomacy from the early eighties to the middle of the second term of Obama. He does so with great clarity and passion, sparing none in praise and criticism, but at the same time preserving the noble verbal traditions of this ancient profession. The book provides a riveting first hand account of this turbulent period, with commentary on all the players he met. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a serious interest in world affairs ''.
   How important is diplomacy?
William Burns worked in the Middle East before being promoted to the Near East Office. He watched as the Arab Spring rose and engulfed the Muslim world, able to speak through situations and helping them understand the importance of understanding how the back channel brought order.
   An important book on government
Any person interested in government, politics or diplomacy should read this book as a MUST read. Burns has a long record of US State Department diplomacy, for which he shared his take on many of the important issues that have been stretching out for the last 30 years. This book is a page turner and well worth the time of anyone to learn the underlying diplomacy of many issues, including Iraq under Saddam Hussein, the Middle East tensions between Palestinians and Isreal, and much more.
   An absorbing account of how American diplomacy works and what it can accomplish
Based on the author's own experience as one of America's most seasoned diplomats, this book provides a fascinating account of key moments in history in the last four decades, when American diplomacy played a critical role in advancing national interests and values in the country. This account shows the value of individuals -- key players in the administration and foreign service officers -- in keeping communication channels open to key leaders and grasping geopolitical conditions on the ground. The honesty, candidness and substance of the book make it an excellent resource for those interested in how America's diplomacy worked in the real world. I would also recommend focusing special attention on the diplomatic cables that the author included in the Appendix section.
Mostly a litany of I, Mine, etc. I had hoped for an insight from a civil servant career above the political fray. Less personal opinions of people and a more introspective examination of the State Department policy would have been more rewarding for me personally.