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22 Nov 19

The late diplomat Richard C. Holbrooke, founder of the American Academy in Berlin, possessed seemingly boundless energy and appetites. Admired and detested, he was the force behind the 1995 Dayton Accords that ended the Balkan wars—America’s greatest post-Cold War diplomatic achievement. His power lay in an absolute belief in himself and his idea of a muscular but generous foreign policy that championed American global leadership. Holbrooke’s story is also the story of America during its era of supremacy: its strength, drive, and sense of possibility, as well as its penchant for overreach and heedless self-confidence. George Packer’s new biography, OUR MAN, draws from Holbrooke’s private diaries and papers to create a nonfiction narrative both intimate and epic in its portrait of an extraordinary figure and the elite social and political spheres he inhabited at “the end of the American century.”

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