The Foreign Service Journal, November 2023

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2023 21 For inclusion, books must be available for purchase. Please note that we use publisher list prices as of press time. Also note: Inclusion of a book in this collection does not imply endorsement by the American Foreign Service Association or the FSJ. AFSA welcomes the opportunity to share the news of books published by members of the FS community but does not vouch for the contents of the books. Further: We feature only one book by each author, chosen by the author, and list other titles in the author note. This year, in addition to six works of history or biography and five books on policy and issues, we have 12 memoirs, 19 works of fiction, and two volumes of poetry. Another three titles under “Potpourri” include a book on birding in Brazil. We also include a selection of recent books “of related interest” to diplomats and their families that were not written by FS authors. It takes a village to put this collection together. This year, it was assembled by Publications Coordinator Hannah Harari and written by Associate Editor Donna Gorman. —Shawn Dorman, Editor in Chief The Foreign Service Journal is pleased to present our 22nd annual Foreign Service authors roundup. We compile “In Their Own Write” for publication to celebrate the wealth of literary talent within the Foreign Service community and to give our readers a chance to support colleagues by sampling their wares. The collection of titles here, in particular the memoirs, is also a terrific resource for anyone contemplating a career in international affairs. And it comes to you in time for holiday shopping. Each entry contains full publication details along with a brief commentary. All listings are for the paperback edition unless there is only a hardcover edition, and where an e-book is available that is noted. This year our list of books written, edited, or translated by Foreign Service personnel and their family members stands at 47, down from 62 last year. The list is not a definitive record of works by FS authors; as always, we rely on the authors themselves to bring their books to our attention. If your recent book is not presented here, please let us know and we can add it to next year’s collection. We accept submissions for the November FSJ all year, by mail or email to MEMOIRS Spanish Connections: My Diplomatic Journey from Venezuela to Equatorial Guinea Mark L. Asquino, independently published, 2023, $19.99/paperback, e-book available, 350 pages. Growing up, Mark Asquino was fascinated by his mom’s tale of an uncle who may—or may not—have fought and died in the Spanish Civil War. This fascination led to a lifelong interest in all things Spanish and an eventual, almost accidental, career as a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Information Agency. Asquino’s memoir, Spanish Connections, tells the tale of his roundabout road into the Foreign Service, which he joined in 1978 after completing his Ph.D. and serving as a Fulbright lecturer in Spain. He covers the pain of passing the exam and languishing on the hiring list, surviving A-100, and convincing his mom that his new career path in the “foreign legion” wasn’t as dangerous as she imagined after watching the 1952 spy thriller “Diplomatic Courier.” During his three decades in the Foreign Service, Asquino served in Latin America, Europe, Central Asia, and Africa, capping off his career as ambassador to Spanish-speaking Equatorial Guinea. He writes about going through a divorce while serving in Madrid, attending the funeral of a Kazakh contact who was assassinated, seeking medical care for a sick parent from overseas, and dealing with his own spiral into depression that needed to be treated medically while he was in Russian language training. All these stories are woven into tales of his work and colleagues at each post. Ambassador Mark Asquino retired in 2015. He and his wife, Jane, live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he is president of Global Santa Fe. Kept: An American Househusband in Paris Gregory E. Buford, Moontower Press, 2022, $11.99/paperback, e-book available, 240 pages. In this follow-up to his first memoir, An American Househusband in India, author Gregory Buford lands in Paris with his three children and his wife, Foreign Service Officer Dana Williams. But before he can get there, he first needs to survive life as a stay-at-home dad in Arlington, Virginia, and a series of disastrous job interviews with the CIA.