The Foreign Service Journal, November 2023

OF RELATED INTEREST THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2023 33 And Then What?: Inside Stories of 21st-Century Diplomacy Catherine Ashton, Elliott & Thompson, 2023, $29.95/hardcover, e-book available, 256 pages. Baroness Catherine Ashton wrote this book, she explains, because “I wanted to describe what it was really like to be in the middle of events as an ordinary person given an extraordinary role to play.” Indeed, as the European Union’s first High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ashton had one of the best seats at the table, working to find collaborative solutions to all manner of global crises. Though the pace was relentless and the press could be hateful, the work itself was satisfying, and in seeing the worst the world could offer, she also witnessed acts of bravery and kindness that gave her hope and moments of joy. Ashton worked with such State notables as John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Burns to negotiate historic settlements (think Iran nuclear deal). Her story offers insight into what went on during such critical negotiations, along with her thoughts on the tools diplomats need to succeed in today’s world. Catherine Ashton served as the E.U.’s first High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy from 2009 to 2014. She is a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and a consultant to the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Footnotes to History: Law and Diplomacy Mark B. Feldman, Xlibris, 2023, $17.99/paperback, e-book available, 270 pages. In 2021 the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training sat down with retired FSO Mark Feldman. From that interview came Feldman’s memoir, Footnotes to History: Law and Diplomacy. Born in 1935, Feldman went to work for the State Department in 1965, not long after graduating in “one of the strongest classes to graduate from Harvard Law,” because he naively hoped to help “solve the Vietnam War.” He joined the department as a GS-14 Civil Service staff attorney and served until 1985, working on issues including the war in Vietnam, the Iran hostage crisis, and Iraq wars. Feldman shares recollections about Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Henry Kissinger. He also discusses meeting war criminal Klaus Barbie, actress Tippi Hedren, and Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. from 1983 to 2005. Mark B. Feldman served in the State Department Office of the Legal Adviser from 1965 to 1981, including as deputy legal adviser and acting legal adviser (1974-1981). He taught foreign relations law at Georgetown University Law Center and has worked in private practice since 1981. No Ordinary Assignment: A Memoir Jane Ferguson, Mariner Books, 2023, $29.99/hardcover, e-book available, 336 pages. In No Ordinary Assignment, Jane Ferguson chronicles her journey from awkward teen living on a farm in rural Ireland to award-winning international war correspondent. She learned to overcome fear under fire—surviving a terrorist attack on a hotel in Kabul, sneaking into Syria at the height of the civil war, and watching children die of starvation in Yemen—all while navigating her own fear that she wasn’t good enough for the career she chose. The book gets deeply personal as Ferguson tries to make a romantic relationship work, struggles to pay her bills on a freelancer’s salary, and yearns for approval from her mentally unstable mother, all placed in the context of the conflicts she is sent to cover. Foreign Service readers will recognize many of the places where she travels and works—Cairo, Kabul, Sana’a, Dubai, Mosul, and more—though not a regional security officer in the world would have let embassy staff take the risks Ferguson takes to tell her war stories. Jane Ferguson is a special correspondent for PBS NewsHour and a contributor to the New Yorker. She has won an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award, the George Polk Award, and the Aurora Humanitarian Journalism Award for her reporting.