Monday, September 17, 2018

Dear Great Book Guru, Last week I received an invitation to the Sea Cliff Civic Association’s annual Newcomers Welcoming Party.  I am so excited to be meeting my fellow newcomers – apparently there will be at least thirty of us attending. Of course, we will all be sharing Sea Cliff origin tales, but if I need an additional conversation starter, do you have a good book I can bring up to discuss?  Newcomer to Sea Cliff
Dear Newcomer, You will have a wonderful time at the party, but you are wise to have a good book in your repertoire.  I recently read Ronan Farrow’s WAR ON PEACE- a fascinating account of how the United States has abandoned its peace-makers.   His main focus is his former boss, Richard Holbrooke, a much praised, much reviled diplomat who served under many presidents.  Ironically, for such a master diplomat, Holbrooke was viewed by many as acerbic and unrelenting.  Farrow presents this incredibly gifted yet flawed man as a metaphor for the state of diplomacy in Washington today. Another figure he includes is Robin Raphel, a classic diplomat who did her job so well she was brought up on charges of espionage.  She was eventually cleared but was left with huge legal bills and no job.   The book ends on a pessimistic note- when diplomacy is shunned, war is the outcome.  Highly recommended!

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