The Foreign Service Journal - November 2017

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2017 37 As Dobbins states in the preface, his intent is “to show Ameri- can diplomacy as it was and as it has become.” He takes readers behind the scenes at the Vietnam peace talks, the reunifica- tion of Germany, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the U.S. military interventions in Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo, Somalia and Afghanistan. He examines the successes and failures, and pro- vides incisive portraits of many of the chief actors, from General Vernon Walters to President Bill Clinton. James Dobbins, who retired in 2002, served as assistant secre- tary of State for Europe, special assistant to the president for the Western Hemisphere, special adviser to the president and Sec- retary of State for the Balkans, U.S. ambassador to the European Community and as special envoy for Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. He holds the Distinguished Chair for Diplomacy and Security at the RAND Corporation. Global Adventures on Less-Traveled Roads: A Foreign Service Memoir James R. Bullington, CreateSpace, 2017, $19.95/paperback, 334 pages. This autobiography traces Foreign Service Officer Jim Bullington’s personal and profes- sional story from his birth in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and early life in rural Alabama to a career in diplomacy and appointment as U.S. ambassador to Burundi (1983-1986). Within that impressive arc, as Bulling- ton tells it, he’s always taken the less-traveled roads, and they have led to the great adventures recounted in this personal and professional memoir. The first in his family to go to college, he publicly advocated desegregation in 1961 Alabama. He joined the Foreign Service, choosing assignments at remote posts in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, including three tours as a “warrior diplo- mat” in Vietnam. He married an Asian woman, Tuy-Cam, fol- lowing their narrow escape from behind North Vietnamese lines during the 1968 Tet Offensive. He became a U.S. ambassador, and then retired from the Foreign Service at age 48, continuing an international career as foreign minister for the city of Dallas, Texas. He returned to Africa as Peace Corps director in Niger. And he was recalled to active duty in the Foreign Service at age 72, assigned to help end a 30-year insurgency in Senegal. James R. Bullington also served inThailand, Burma, Chad and Benin, and as dean of the Senior Seminar. In retirement, he is a writer, speaker and senior fellow at the Joint Forces Staff Col- lege. He and his wife live in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Mirror Test: America at War in Iraq and Afghanistan J. Kael Weston, Alfred A. Knopf, 2016, $28.95/hardcover; $17/paperback; $12.99/Kindle, 585 pages. J. Kael Weston’s Foreign Service career was unlike any other. The Mirror Test chronicles his experience working for the State Depart- ment in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003 to 2010. It is “a granular yet gripping ground-level account of the political and human costs of war: its small successes, as well as its tragedies, absurdi- ties and ironies,” as Ambassador (ret.) Gordon Brown writes in his review in the October FSJ . Weston offers not simply an account, but also a reflection on his experience. The book’s title refers to the challenge faced by seriously wounded and disfigured soldiers: When they look in the mirror for the first time during their recovery, can they fore- see a life of pride and honor? In offering this unflinching look at our interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the author asks us to evaluate honestly what we see. As Weston told his twin brother while writing the book, The Mirror Test will be about “the lives of the little people and their experiences in our wars that happen far fromWashington, D.C.” He highlights the interplay between diplomacy and war, weaving together the voices of a range of Iraqis, Afghans and Americans. We meet generals, corporals, family members, district chiefs, former insurgent fighters, schoolteachers and imams. J. Kael Weston joined the Foreign Service in 2001 and served until 2012. He received the Secretary of State’s Medal for Hero- ism for his work in Fallujah. Diversifying Diplomacy: My Journey from Roxbury to Dakar Harriet Lee Elam-Thomas, with Jim Robison, Potomac Books, 2017, $29.95/paperback, 240 pages. Diversifying Diplomacy tells the story of Harriet Elam-Thomas, a black woman from Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood who became a successful diplomat. Inspired by the strong women in her life, she helped make the Foreign Service reflect the diverse faces of the United States. The youngest child of parents who left the segregated Old South to raise their family in Massachusetts, Elam-Thomas distinguished herself with a diplomatic career at a time when few colleagues looked like her. Elam-Thomas learned French, Greek and Turkish for overseas