The Foreign Service Journal, November 2023

36 NOVEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL The Secret Gate: A True Story of Courage and Sacrifice During the Collapse of Afghanistan Mitchell Zuckoff, Penguin Random House, 2023, $28.99/hardcover, e-book available, 336 pages. Although it reads like a thriller, The Secret Gate tells the true story of Foreign Service Officer Sam Aronson and Afghan writer and women’s rights advocate Homeira Qaderi in the early days of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. Sam, a former Diplomatic Security agent turned FSO, volunteered to join the State Department team helping with the evacuation of more than 100,000 American and Afghan civilians from Kabul Airport. Homeira, a poet and single mother of a young son, was an outspoken critic of the Taliban, making her a target of the new regime. When her literary agent contacted Sam, the young FSO agreed to help Homeira and her son escape through a secret entrance to the airport. Mitchell Zuckoff is a professor of narrative studies at Boston University. He has won the PEN/Winship Award for Nonfiction, the American Society of Newspaper Editor’s Distinguished Writing Award, and The Livingston Award for International Reporting. He is the author of numerous nonfiction books, including 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi (2014) and Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 (2019). See the May 2023 FSJ for Ambassador (ret.) Michael McKinley’s review of The Secret Gate. American Refuge: True Stories of the Refugee Experience Diya Abdo, Steerforth Press, 2022, $16.95/paperback, e-book available, 176 pages. In American Refuge, Diya Abdo, herself the child of refugees, shares the stories of seven refugees from around the world who found their way to the United States. They came reluctantly from Burma, Burundi, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, and Uganda, and are now building new lives far from home with the help of Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR), an organization founded by Abdo. Abdo chronicles the lives of these refugees before they were forced to flee their homes, the persecution they suffered along the way, and their experiences in camps and as they resettled. The book’s cover illustration was created by one of them, an artist who escaped two assassination attempts in Iraq before relocating to the U.S. Diya Abdo, a U.S. immigrant, was born in Jordan to Palestinian refugees. An activist and English professor at Guilford College, Abdo founded Every Campus a Refuge to leverage university resources to provide temporary shelter to refugee families. She won the 2021 J.M.K. Innovation Prize for her work with ECAR. Her article on ECAR appears in this edition (see page 48). Every Citizen a Statesman: The Dream of a Democratic Foreign Policy in the American Century David Allen, Harvard University Press, 2023, $45.00/hardcover, e-book available, 344 pages. Founded in 1918, the Foreign Policy Association, one of the first international relations think tanks, soon began to organize nationwide popular discussion groups under the slogan: “World Affairs Are Your Affairs.” This civic involvement was a far cry from today’s seemingly disinterested populace, as seen every four years during national elections, in which, David Allen notes, foreign policy is hardly discussed at all. In Every Citizen a Statesman, Allen traces the path from an early 20th-century democratic foreign policy, when, he claims, U.S. citizens believed they had a civic duty to stay involved and informed, to today’s cloistered and elitist “establishment,” which rarely factors the will of the people into its decision-making. David Allen is a historian and former fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. He has taught at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University, and his research appears in the International History Review and the Journal of Cold War Studies. He also writes regularly for The New York Times.