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Career Diplomacy: Life and Work in the U.S. Foreign Service Paperback – 1 July 2017
- Publisher : Georgetown University Press (1 July 2017)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1626164703
- ISBN-13 : 978-1626164703
- Customer Reviews:
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Career Diplomacy is a book full of facts. We are told how diplomats are hired, trained, and promoted. We are given, complete with organizational chart, the structure of the State Department. We are shown, in a table format, what foreign service officers earn and in line item format what the the State Department spends on its various programs. The reader is simply bomabared with the dry details and minutea of the inner-workings of the State Department.
Weaved between these dry facts, are some genuinely interesting stories. We are told how diplomacy -- the diplomacy of a career diplomat -- saved Portugal from becoming a communist country. We are given "let-me-tell-what-happened-to-me" stories of lower ranking diplomats in Iraq. We are told how the State Department implemented an effective AIDS treatment program in Africa. More of such stories, and fewer charts and tables, would have made Career Diplomacy a more interesting book. However, doing so would have changed Career Diplomacy from its main puprose, that of an information guide for budding diplomats, into the realm of pleasure reading for the general reader.
That said, I found the book chalk full of invaluable information. The book is all encompassing, at least skimming the surface on several important areas surrounding the Foreign Service. It has taken a no holds barred approach and does not sugar coat the career who I'd imagine the majority of readers covet, at least to a small extent. Nor does it take the long-term rewards lightly, promising that if you're in it for a career, it's well worth the stress, trials, and tribulations required to advance to a senior diplomatic position.
The history of the foreign service is analyzed under great detail, providing the pros and cons, not simply in the way of the foreign service, but it's perception amongst other government agencies, citing specific examples with former presidents and other high ranking officials. There is another great section devoted to the future of the foreign service--which goes on to admit that rarely do things go to plan.
The most fascinating section of the book, from my perspective, was the section on the careers and breaking those down. Unfortunately I felt like the authors tried cramming too much into a set amount of space--not getting into as much detail about each of the five tracks as I would have liked to see. The State Department takes the same approach on their website. On the whole, however, the pros and cons of working for the U.S. Foreign Service are as clear as day and night; I only wish they would have broken down each career track a bit more.
Well worth the time it takes to breeze through the essentially 200 pages of information, once you subtract all of the pages of citations, etc. If you're seriously considering taking the written examination, this is a good starting point--cramming won't cut it, but having a good idea of the process, which this book bluntly breaks down and dissects, will.