Tag Archives: Books

Remembering Yugoslavia Meets Black Lamb and Grey Falcon

With many thanks to the Remembering Yugoslavia podcast and Peter Korchnak!

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Expedition (Blogging Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

“There was everywhere the sweet-smelling scrub, and thickets of oleander, and the grey-blue swords of aloes; and on the lower slopes were olive terraces and lines of cypresses, spurting up with a vitality strange to see in what is black … Continue reading

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Working Titles (Blogging Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

“I write books to find out about things.” (Paris Review, 1981) FOR THIS PROJECT I have four individual editions of Black Lamb separated in publication by 80 years. More than 25 years ago I started reading the 1994 Penguin Books … Continue reading

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Belief from the inside out

Carla Power’s Pulitizer Prize-shortlisted If the Oceans Were Ink, an outsider’s meditation on The Holy Qur’an with the help of a learned Islamic scholar, signals a subtle but seismic shift in our intellectual world.  It joins other unmistakable indications that mostly secular Western … Continue reading

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Joan Didion, Californian

Joan Didion seized my attention early, before I wrote for myself.  Assigned “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” in high school, I read with amazement her cool, detached descriptions of things I recognized growing up in California.  I graduated quickly to “The White … Continue reading

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Some Dreamers of the Impossible Dream

With nods to George Kennan, Joan Didion, and Cervantes, enjoy this excerpt from my book, The United States and the Challenge of Public Diplomacy about an extraordinary visit I made to Macedonia in 2006 published in The Foreign Service Journal. Although I wrote … Continue reading

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John Steinbeck, Californian

From The Log from the Sea of Cortez: I was sitting in a dentist’s waiting room in New Monterey, hoping the dentist had died. I had a badly aching tooth and not enough money to have a good job done on … Continue reading

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Punk Is Not Dead

Today my review essay of Masha Gessen’s latest book, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot, appears in the Los Angeles Review of Books. The book is a testament to the courage of the members of the group who … Continue reading

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The Corrections

I found an error in Table 7.2 on page 124 relating to languages spoken in the United States. All of the numbers are from the U.S. Census Bureau and are accurate. But French (including dialects) at 1,358,816 inexplicably appears as … Continue reading

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The Last Three Feet

Hear my interview with The Public Diplomat’s PDCast, courtesy of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications and its Master’s Program in Public Diplomacy. I talk about working at NATO, my new book, and effective public diplomacy. Many thanks to Michael … Continue reading

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