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Publisher's Summary

A harrowing exploration of the collapse of American diplomacy and the abdication of global leadership.

US foreign policy is undergoing a dire transformation, forever changing America’s place in the world. Institutions of diplomacy and development are bleeding out after deep budget cuts; the diplomats who make America’s deals and protect democratic interests around the world are walking out in droves. Offices across the State Department sit empty, while abroad the military-industrial complex has assumed the work once undertaken by peacemakers. Increasingly, America is a nation that shoots first and asks questions later.

In an astonishing journey from the corridors of power in Washington, DC, to some of the most remote and dangerous places on earth - Afghanistan, Somalia, and North Korea among them - acclaimed investigative journalist Ronan Farrow illuminates one of the most consequential and poorly understood changes in American history. His first-hand experience as a former State Department official affords a personal look at some of the last standard bearers of traditional statecraft, including Richard Holbrooke, who made peace in Bosnia and died while trying to do so in Afghanistan.

Drawing on newly unearthed documents, and richly informed by rare interviews with warlords, whistleblowers, and policymakers - including every living secretary of state from Henry Kissinger to Hillary Clinton to Rex Tillerson - War on Peace makes a powerful case for an endangered profession. Diplomacy, Farrow argues, has declined after decades of political cowardice, short-sightedness, and outright malice - but it may just offer a way out of a world at war.

©2018 Ronan Farrow (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Astonishing reporting and gripping prose.... Based on interviews with every living Secretary of State plus dozens of whistle blowers and insiders, this book is an indispensable and fascinating revelation of what diplomats actually do and why undermining them is so dangerous. Farrow is a riveting storyteller with a great eye for colourful characters. This is one of the most important books of our time." (Walter Isaacson)

"Ronan Farrow has scooped us all (again). And it is no wonder. A gifted writer with a powerful intellect and a passion for truth, Farrow has become one of this generation’s finest journalists and War on Peace a book that will be required reading for generations to come. It is perhaps the most riveting and relatable book on foreign policy and diplomacy I have ever read. I have covered these same corridors of diplomatic power, these same bloody war-zones, yet on every page of War on Peace I was astonished by what I learned." (Martha Raddatz, ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and author of The Long Road Home)

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  • Colicia
  • 07-06-2018

Excellent book

Ronan has written a careful, thoughtful, frank and nuanced analysis of decades of US diplomacy and approcach to conflict parts of the world. I found it deeply informative and objective in it's persective.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it's excellent work.

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  • Christian R. Unger
  • 11-05-2018

Lacks impact though maybe that is the point

Interesting title which seems to be saying that in diplomacy (here in the context of international negotiation) there are no clear winners but rather that mutual benefit needs to be achieved. In a way there are no surprises there but then this might mean I was not the target audience, as that already is my position and the title seems to be aiming to outline this as it's central message. And I think does so quite well.

Similarly, there is little new about the individuals I knew by name, and those I did not know do not linger in my memory because of this book.

Both of these combine to me, meaning the book lacked impact. And I doubt it would sway anyone of a different opinion on its own merit, because there is no counter argument that can be formed, history turned out as it did, there is no alternative scenario so the point is difficult to get across for those holding an opposing view.

There is plenty good here but few surprises so little stood out and many of the events discussed lack broader context ... they feel like islands and the big picture never unfolds because we live in it, but the alternatives can only be guessed at and Farrow does not make that guess.

Overall I enjoyed the title but I doubt I will remember much of the specifics covered in even a month.

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  • Peter Johnston
  • 31-05-2018

Fascinating and deeply troubling

An excellent glimpse into the world of foreign affairs that pulls few punches and helps its readers grapple with the lasting repercussions we see both from the sidelining of the State Department to favour the Pentagon and the gutting of the State Department's expertise. Very worrying.

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  • Chris
  • 15-07-2018

Important and eye-opening

Even-handed, laying bare upsetting truths about both Democrat and Republican administrations, but also exposing the Trump White House for the farce that it is, and how its cavalier disregard for diplomacy is putting American lives at risk.

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  • Mimof
  • 28-06-2018

Riveting, enlightening and bleak in equal measure

Brilliantly written, descriptive narrative that takes the reader around the world to understand American diplomacy or lack thereof and look to where it is heading under Trump.

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  • Snow Angel
  • 04-06-2018

wow. how brilliant

first rate. a warning to the present about the dangers to the future. lessons from the past.