This magisterial work on American diplomacy by a veteran journalist and historian is the first complete history of the U.S. Foreign Service
American Statecraft is a fascinating and comprehensive look at the unsung men and women of the U.S. Foreign Service whose dedication and sacrifices have been a crucial part of our history for over two centuries. Fifteen years in the making, veteran journalist and historian Moskin has traveled the globe conducting hundreds of interviews both in and out of the State Department to look behind the scenes at America’s “militiamen of diplomacy.”
As the nation’s eyes and ears, our envoys pledge a substantial part of their lives in foreign lands working for the benefit of their nation. Endeavoring to use dialogue and negotiation as their instruments of change, our diplomats tirelessly work to find markets for American business, rescue its citizens in trouble abroad, and act in general as “America’s first line of defense” in policy negotiations, keeping America out of war. But it took generations to polish these skills, and Moskin traces America’s full diplomatic history, back to its amateur years coming up against seasoned Europeans during the days of Ben Franklin, now considered the father of the U.S. Foreign Service, and up to the recent Benghazi attack. Along the way, its members included many devoted and courageous public servants, and also some political spoilsmen and outright rogues.
An important contribution to the political canon, American Statecraft recounts the history of the United States through the lens of foreign diplomacy.
“An ambitious, impressively researched history...” —Kirkus Reviews
“First, Moskin’s volume, the product of extensive (but not archival) research that included more than one hundred interviews worldwide, is a valuable reference work for little-known details (factoids?) about the U.S. Foreign Service…. As the book unfolds, this intriguing list of (to some) arcane information flows like Niagara Falls on steroids… I’m willing to bet no medieval monk ever surpassed this hardworking note-taking scribler in his zeal for chronicling… A second reason to treasure this book is its subtle use of memorable quotations pertaining to the Foreign Service.”—American Diplomacy
“Some 15 years in the making, this impressive and massive tome sets out to tell the story of the U. S. Foreign Service, from its beginnings during the American Revolution into the 21st century. Former journalist Moskin (The U.S. Marine Corps Story) begins in the spring of 1776 when the Continental Congress sent Connecticut merchant Silas Deane on a secret mission to the court of French King Louis XVI to secure France’s support for the fight against the British. Working chronologically and writing journalistically, Moskin concentrates mainly on secretaries of state and ambassadors, including well-known figures such as Benjamin Franklin, regarded as the father of the U.S. Foreign Service, and Thomas Jefferson, the first American secretary of state. He also highlights lesser-known figures such as 20th-century Middle East specialist Alfred “Roy” Atherton, who began his three-decade career as a vice consul in Germany and went on to become ambassador to Egypt and then director general of the Foreign Service. Moskin clearly is a Foreign Service partisan—his book details the work of many ‘dedicated and courageous public servants,’ as well as ‘some political spoilsmen and rogues,’ concentrating on the former to provide a unique look at this oft-neglected field.”—Publishers Weekly
“American Statecraft is a fascinating and long overdue account of the important work that our diplomats have done for the country from the days of Benjamin Franklin to present. I recommend it highly to all students of American foreign policy.” —Richard N. Gardner, Ambassador and Professor Emeritus, Columbia Law School
“Moskin has written an incisive and fascinating account of the central role the U.S. Foreign Service has played in American diplomacy since the beginning of the republic. Its story of two centuries of American struggles and triumphs on the world stage provides a unique argument for the continuing value of the Foreign Service to our nation.” —Nicholas Burns, Ambassador and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and Professor, Harvard Kennedy School
“Through meticulous research and hundreds of interviews over 18 years, Robert Moskin has expertly filled a huge gap in our knowledge of what the Foreign Service is and how its members serve America, often under harrowing conditions. His book is studded with lively portraits of individuals, well known and obscure, who constitute the Foreign Service. Moskin’s narrative unfolds against the successes and failures of American statecraft from Jefferson to Obama, and efforts at reform. Even-handed and fair, written in a highly readable style, this book is indispensable to teachers and students, foreign ministries and their diplomats, and the general reader. There is no other book like this.” —Ambassador (Ret.) Brandon Grove, President Emeritus, The American Academy of Diplomacy
“Moskin has brought together with care and lucidity an inside history of American diplomacy written through the eyes of the many diplomats who conceived and carried it out over 225 years. You experience the challenges, successes, and foibles. Over time, the Foreign Service evolved into a professional cadre serving the public and presidents, often at the peril of their lives. Anyone interested in understanding our diplomacy, what makes it tick, and how it strives to serve the public interest should read this masterful history.” —Thomas R Pickering, former Ambassador and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs