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The back channel : a memoir of American diplomacy and the case for its renewal / William J. Burns.

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Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at LARL/NWRL Consortium.
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Lake Agassiz Regional Library. (Show preferred library)

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0 current holds with 1 total copy.

Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Breckenridge Public Library 921 BUR (Text) 33500013031901 New Available -

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780525508861 (paperback)
  • ISBN: 0525508864 (paperback)
  • Physical Description: 501 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Random House, [2019]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 471--476) and index.
Formatted Contents Note: Apprenticeship : the education of a diplomat -- The Baker years : shaping order -- Yeltsin's Russia : the limits of agency -- Jordan's moment of transition : the power of partnership -- Age of terror : the inversion of force and diplomacy -- Putin's disruptions : managing great power trainwrecks -- Obama's long game : bets, pivots, and resets in a post-primacy world -- The Arab Spring : when the short game intercedes -- Iran and the bomb : the secret talks -- Pivotal power : restoring America's tool of first resort.
Summary, etc.: "Ambassador William J. Burns is the most distinguished and admired American diplomat of the last half century. Over the course of four decades, he played a central role in the most consequential diplomatic episodes of his time--from the bloodless end of the Cold War to post-Cold War relations with Putin's Russia, from post-9/11 tumult in the Middle East to the secret nuclear talks with Iran. Upon his retirement, Secretary John Kerry said Burns belonged on "the short list of American diplomatic legends, alongside George Kennan." In The Back Channel, Burns recounts with vivid detail and incisive analysis some of the seminal moments of his career. He draws on a trove of newly declassified cables and memos to give readers a rare, inside look at American diplomacy in action, and of the people who worked with him. His dispatches from war-torn Chechnya and Qadhafi's camp in the deserts of Libya and his searing memos warning of the "Perfect Storm" unleashed by the Iraq War will reshape our understanding of history and 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 "unipolar moment" of American primacy that followed. Ultimately, The Back Channel is an eloquent, deeply informed, and timely story of a life spent in service of American interests abroad, as well as a powerful reminder, in a time of great turmoil, of the importance of diplomacy"-- Provided by publisher.

  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2019 May #1
    Burns had a State Department career in which he ascended to deputy secretary, almost the department's top post, just shy of Secretary of State. In these recollections of his jobs in Washington and abroad, Burns vividly describes the diplomatic profession. Like all new diplomats, he specialized in a region and a foreign language (the Near East and Arabic, in his case); he began his career at the American embassy in Jordan. Though he is self-deprecating about his performance in consular work, it must have impressed his seniors, for Burns vaulted into ever-higher places in the State department, including stints as ambassador to Jordan and Russia. In the course of these assignments, Burns interacted with all the presidents and secretaries of state from the late 1980s until his retirement in 2014. In his accounts of each assignment and of his foreign policy priorities, Burns provides a bounty of anecdotes that he sets within the context of contemporaneous world events. The end of the Cold War, the resurgence of Russia, Iraq Wars I and II, and Arab popular revolts—Burns was involved in them all, meeting foreign leaders such as Vladimir Putin as part of the diplomatic process. Burns illuminates the vocation of diplomat and advocates for diplomacy's crucial role in international relations. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Author Notes

William J. Burns is president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2014 after a thirty-three-year diplomatic career. He holds the highest rank in the Foreign Service, career ambassador, and is only the second serving career diplomat in history to become deputy secretary of state. Prior to his tenure as deputy secretary, Ambassador Burns served from 2008 to 2011 as undersecretary for political affairs. He was ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008, assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs from 2001 to 2005, and ambassador to Jordan from 1998 to 2001. Ambassador Burns earned a bachelor’s degree in history from La Salle University and master’s and doctoral degrees in international relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. He and his wife, Lisa, have two daughters.

Subject: Burns, William J. (William Joseph), 1956-
Diplomats > United States > Biography.
United States > Foreign relations > 1945-1989.
United States > Foreign relations > 1989-
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy.
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory.

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