Length: 608 Pages
A GUARDIAN, FINANCIAL TIMES, SPECTATOR BOOK OF THE YEAR
From one of America’s greatest non-fiction writers, an epic saga of the rise and fall of American power, from Vietnam to Afghanistan, told through the life of one man.
Richard Holbrooke was one of the most legendary and complicated figures in recent American history. Brilliant, utterly self-absorbed, and possessed of almost inhuman energy and appetites, he was both admired and detested. From his days as a young adviser in Vietnam to his last efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, Holbrooke embodied the postwar American impulse to take the lead on the global stage. He was the force behind the Dayton Accords that ended the Balkan wars, America's greatest diplomatic achievement in the post-Cold War era. His power lay in an utter belief in himself and his idea of a muscular, generous foreign policy. But his sharp elbows and tireless self-promotion ensured that he never rose to the highest levels in government that he so desperately coveted.
Holbrooke’s story is the story of the rise and fall 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. Drawing on Holbrooke’s diaries and papers, George Packer’s narrative is both intimate and epic in its revelatory portrait of this extraordinary and deeply flawed man, and the elite spheres of society and government he inhabited.
Length: 608 Pages
"Portrays Holbrooke in all of his endearing and exasperating self-willed glory... Both a sweeping diplomatic history and a Shakespearean tragicomedy… Our Man not only revitalizes but in some ways reinvents the art of journalistic biography… If you could read only one book to comprehend America’s foreign policy and its quixotic forays into quicksands over the past 50 years, this would be it."
"Rarely in recent years has a work of non-fiction so clearly, ruthlessly, compassionately shown such a prominent person’s life from the inside out. It is a masterwork about diplomacy, government and the world."
"Holbrooke in all his capacious brilliance and arrogance has been captured by George Packer… [Our Man] is, I strongly feel, a classic."
"Outstanding... Our Man is one of the most fascinating dissections of US power – its strengths and serious weaknesses – I’ve read."
"Packer is one of the most talented non-fiction writers in the US. In his hands, a biography of a diplomat who never quite made it to the top becomes a history of modern America’s entanglement with the world."