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Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 6, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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
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Top Customer Reviews
What also comes across is Indyk's humility, earnestness and ability to engage others in perservering to change the Mid-east paradigm.
The writer was a participant in so many of the crucial encounters that he is as well placed as anybody to report these facts. He also made a point of making contemporaneous notes of these encounters which helps to ensure the accuracy of what he writes.
Indyk brings to the book a lifetime of analyzing the politics of the Middle East in various capacities in academia and in prestigious think tanks and this combined with his diplomatic experience as an Ambassador to Israel for many years and senior official in the State Department puts him in an ideal position to write this book and adds enormous credibility to what he writes.
Indyk also writes well. The prose flows. The book reads like a fascinating political travel adventure. It is apparent how much editing went into this book.
The reviewer who accuses Israel of being chronically in violation of international law and of multiple UN resolutions repeats the inaccuracies that many who seek to demonize Israel (and often Jews) frequently propagate. The truth is the opposite. A great book to provide the facts on this and other contentious issues is Mitchell Bard: Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict. You can read this online at [...] The same reviewer also accuses American foreign policy of being very unbalanced and very pro-Israel. The fact is that Washington's close relationship with Israel is crucial because it assures the Palestinians and other Arabs that the United States has leverage with Israel and it assures Israel that if it makes concessions it can rely on the United States to help protect it should those concessions be exploited by Israel's enemies to threaten Israel.
This book is highly recommended.