The Foreign Service Journal, November 2023

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2023 35 George Kennan for Our Time Lee Congdon, Northern Illinois University Press, 2022, $19.95/ paperback, e-book available, 232 pages. Every Foreign Service member today knows—or should know—of George Kennan’s larger-than-life stature in the world of foreign policy. A Soviet expert, Kennan almost single-handedly convinced the Washington establishment to adopt a Cold War–era strategy of containment of the Soviet Union with his fabled “Long Telegram,” a 1946 cable he sent to the State Department from his post in Moscow. In George Kennan for Our Time, historian Lee Congdon delves into Kennan’s early life and upbringing, which led directly to his interest in, and talent for, diplomacy. Congdon then outlines Kennan’s contributions to the field and lays out his philosophies regarding international relations and nonintervention beyond his more well-known work in the Soviet bloc, including Kennan’s call for revival of religious faith and a return to early American ideals. Lee Congdon is a professor emeritus of history at James Madison University and the author of multiple books, including Seeing Red (2001) and Solzhenitsyn (2017). George Kennan for Our Time was reviewed by Joe Novak in the March 2023 issue of The Foreign Service Journal. The Absolutely Indispensable Man: Ralph Bunche, the United Nations, and the Fight to End Empire Kal Raustiala, Oxford University Press, 2022, $34.95/hardcover, e-book available, 688 pages. In 1950 Ralph Bunche became the first Black American to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet, he is not as well known as many other diplomats of his era, with many of his achievements lost to history. In The Absolutely Indispensable Man, Kal Raustiala sets out to right this wrong. Raustiala takes readers through Bunche’s early life in Los Angeles, to Harvard, where Bunche became the first Black man to earn a Ph.D. in political science, and on to the State Department and the United Nations. As one of the principal architects of the U.N., Bunche negotiated the first peace treaty between Israel and neighboring Arab countries, and Raustiala maintains that Bunche is responsible for the U.N.’s role as a peacekeeping—not only peacemaking—institution. Kal Raustiala is a professor of comparative and international law and the director of the Ronald W. Burke Center for International Relations at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also the author of The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation (2012). For reviews of The Absolutely Indispensable Man by Ambassador (ret.) Jim Dandridge and Alexis Ludwig, see the September 2023 FSJ. We the Young Fighters: Pop Culture, Terror, and War in Sierra Leone Marc Sommers, University of Georgia Press, 2023, $32.95/paperback, e-book available, 488 pages. In October 2000, Marc Sommers was in The Gambia to interview refugees from Sierra Leone. When he asked them to talk about their experiences fleeing a brutal war in their homeland in 1999, many recollected that the perpetrators of horrible crimes against civilians were devotees of hip-hop musician Tupac Shakur, considering their Tupac T-shirts to be uniforms and tying American flags around their heads, Rambo-style. The refugees mentioned other pop culture icons as well, including Bob Marley, whose song “Get Up, Stand Up” was used as a rebel fight song. The experience led Sommers to write We the Young Fighters, which delves into the ways pop culture can radicalize young people a world away but can also be used to reach otherwise alienated youth and to push for government reform. Marc Sommers is the author of 10 books, including Stuck: Rwandan Youth and the Struggle for Adulthood (2012) and The Outcast Majority: War, Development, and Youth in Africa (2015). He has a Ph.D. from Boston University and currently works as an international consultant with a focus on youth, peacebuilding, education, and security.