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Missteps and missed opportunities proliferate in this gripping insider history of Middle Eastern diplomacy during the Clinton administration. Indyk, former ambassador to Israel, examines the contradictions inherent in Clintons Iraq policy with a remarkable level of self-criticism and brings a nuanced perspective to his analysis of Iraqs alleged WMD programs and the reasons for and against war. The book emphasizes Clintons initial strategic focus on Syrian-Israeli relations, and the authors discussion of Syria runs parallel to his central narrative about the Israel-Palestine conflict, which traces the tumultuous eight years from the hopeful handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat in 1993 through the beginning of the second intifada. The author achieves an impressive balance of scale, packing a tremendous amount of anecdotal information throughout, creating a portrait of diplomacy that reveals the influence of countless small details, from ceremonial gifts to friendly kisses, on world affairs. At the same time, the book surveys the enduring challenges that plagued the Clinton teams efforts to bring peace to the region, making insightful connections between the history in which the author participated and the present state of the region. (Jan.)
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"A rare book of diplomatic history that is suspenseful and dramatic. Indyk puts you inside the White House and leads you through the highs and lows of the Arab-Israeli peace process. Studded with sharp insights about people and places, this is a book to savor and also learn from. Anyone interested in the Middle East or how foreign policy actually works should read this fascinating tale." -- Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and author of The Post-American World
"The ultimate inside account of the machinations of the modern Middle East. Indyk has lived this story now for several decades, and he provides the most vivid cameos and snapshots of the personalities of the region since Henry Kissinger's memoir of his 'shuttle diplomacy' years. Indyk is honest and self-critical about his own mistakes and those of his former bosses. That's the most hopeful aspect of this remarkable memoir -- that we can actually learn from our errors. I devoured this book. As with a good novel, the story grabs hold of you and doesn't let go." -- David Ignatius, columnist for The Washington Post and author of Body of Lies
"Few diplomats have been as closely involved with the attempts to broker a peace treaty in the Middle East as Martin Indyk. His knowledge, experience, and candor make Innocent Abroad a fascinating book." -- Dr. Henry Kissinger, former U.S. secretary of state
"Combines an intimate memoir with a fascinating account of the roller-coaster ride that is the quest for peace between Israel and its neighbors. Vivid, sharply drawn portraits of all the players -- both heartbreaking and hopeful, this book should be in every negotiator's briefcase." -- Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and chief negotiator of the Dayton Peace Accords
"Timely and valuable.... Following Indyk's advice would be a good place to start."-- The New York Times Book Review
"Excellent.... Nuanced."-- Newsweek
"Incisive."-- Thomas Friedman, The New York Times (column of 1/7/09)
"Part memoir, part political analysis, elegantly written, and hard to put down."-- The New York Review of Books
"For practitioners of Middle East diplomacy, this book is essential."-- The Washington Times
"A vivid insider's account....Required reading for the next president."-- Kirkus Reviews
The most dishonest book I ever read in my life.
The standard Zionist position that Martin Indyk takes is that Jews showed up in Palestine in the late 19th century to... Read more
This is a superb book for readers like me who are not that well-informed about the Middle East but want to know and understand more. Read morePublished on March 5, 2009 by Tim Simchek
This book is terrific. For outsiders to the world of diplomacy, Indyk provides a very personal,knowledgeable, and informative account of how the multiple variables of time,... Read morePublished on February 4, 2009 by Michael A. Newman
A real strength of this book is its focus on understanding in a non-ideological way what actually happened and then using the facts to draw some broad conclusions. Read morePublished on January 13, 2009 by Garth Symonds
Anyone who hopes to grasp the complexities of the U.S. presence in Israel and the Middle East, the 2006 war in Lebanon, or the current conflict in Gaza, should read this book. Read morePublished on January 11, 2009 by Andrew David