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Mr. Ambassador: Warrior for Peace Hardcover – April 10, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; First Edition edition (April 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806137673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806137674
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,715,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edward J. Perkins, now retired as a U.S. Ambassador, is William J. Crowe Professor of Geopolitics and Executive Director of the International Programs Center at the University of Oklahoma.



Connie Cronley, an award-winning journalist and radio commentator, lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is the author of a previous book of essays, Sometimes a Wheel Falls Off, and the collaborating author of Mr. Ambassador: Warrior for Peace, a memoir by Edward J. Perkins.



George P. Shultz is former Secretary of State of the United States.



A Rhodes Scholar, David Boren is President of the University of Oklahoma. A former governor of Oklahoma, he served as U.S. Senator from Oklahoma from 1979 to 1994 and chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 1987 to 1993.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The memoir of Career Foreign Services Officer Edward J. Perkins, the first U.S. black ambassador to South Africa in 1986, comes to life in a hard-hitting memoir of politics and social change that will prove a 'must' for any seeking insights into South Africa under apartheid - and after. Perkins came from a cotton farm in segregated Louisiana to join forces with the elite Foreign Service, becoming the first black officer to ascend to director general. But even these many achievements would be superceded by his work in South Africa - and MR. AMBASSADOR: WARRIOR FOR PEACE tells it all.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Oliver L. Weaver on February 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a terrific book! Perkins is a Black American born in 1928, who became a diplomat in the Foreign Service, and was the US Ambassador to South Africa in the 1980s during apartheid. The first chapter describes life in rural segregated Louisiana and Arkansas in the 1930s. It is a moving account, the more so because it is so simply and straight-forwardly told. Anyone who wonders if we've made progress in race relations should read this chapter. Moving on we meet the people outside Perkins' family who mentored him, and see clearly the truth of his statement that "... none of us goes through life unassisted." Later we see him as a US Marine, learning Japanese and studying Asian philosophy. It is just inspiring.

That's enough. Get the book; read it; and pass it on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Patricia Ehr on April 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
An account of a black man who truly pulled himself up by the bootstraps. He was raised on a cotton farm in segregated Louisiana by grandparents who could neither read nor write. He went on to get an education and ultimately enter the elite white Foreign Service. He was appointed as U.S. Ambassador four times: Liberia, South Africa, the United Nations, and Australia. A very well written book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Donald M. Bishop on April 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
After stints as a soldier and Marine and after receiving his degrees, Edward Perkins (1928- ) joined the Foreign Service of the United States and became an American diplomat. He was four times an Ambassador -- to Liberia, South Africa, the United Nations, and Australia -- and he was Director General of the Foreign Service. This is his own story.

A short review can hardly describe the richness of this book. The well-told story of his upbringing in segregated rural Louisiana is revealing. Hitches in the Army and in the Marine Corps -- he served in Korea just before and just after the war -- helped shape him for the future. So did his courting and marrying Lucy Cheng-mei Liu in Taiwan. And in a series of chapters on the first phase of his Foreign Service career, he worked for Henry Kissinger on the management and reform of the State Department. His first overseas assignment was to Ghana.

The most extensive and valuable portion of the book relates his assignment to South Africa by President Reagan and how he leaned the entire U.S. mission to support the end of apartheid, leading a "revolutionary Embassy." Some in South Africa, Europe, and the U.S. might differ with some of his judgments of cultures, people, events, and decisions, but taken as a whole the nine chapters on South Africa provide a model of study, reflection, conclusions, strategizing, and implementation. They also demonstrate the importance of Ambassadorial initiative and prerogative -- President Reagan gave Perkins unusual leeway -- to the successful execution of policy.

In the Foreign Service, we speak of "the Foreign Service manner" -- the habits of diplomacy such as listening, accurate reporting, and careful speaking. "Mr. Ambassador" well shows how this works.
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