Outpost

A Diplomat at Work

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About The Book

A “candid, behind-the-scenes” (The Dallas Morning News) memoir from one of our most distinguished ambassadors who—in his career of service to the country—was sent to some of the most dangerous outposts of American diplomacy.

Christopher Hill was on the front lines in the Balkans at the breakup of Yugoslavia. He participated in one-on-one meetings with the dictator Milosevic and traveled to Bosnia and Kosovo, and to the Dayton conference, where a truce was arrived at. He was the first American Ambassador to Macedonia; Ambassador to Poland, in the cold war; chief disarmament negotiator in North Korea; and Hillary Clinton’s hand-picked Ambassador to Iraq.

Outpost is Hill’s “lively, entertaining…introduction to the difficult game of diplomacy” (The Washington Post)—an adventure story of danger, loss of comrades, high stakes negotiations, and imperfect options. There are fascinating portraits of war criminals (Mladic, Karadzic), of presidents (Bush, Clinton, and Obama), of vice presidents including Dick Cheney, of Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and of Ambassadors Richard Holbrooke and Lawrence Eagleburger, among others. Hill writes bluntly about the bureaucratic warfare in DC and expresses strong criticism of America’s aggressive interventions and wars of choice.

From the wars in the Balkans to the brutality of North Korea to the endless war in Iraq, Outpost “is a personal story, filled with the intricacies of living abroad, coping with the bureaucracy of the huge US foreign-policy establishment, and trying to persuade some very difficult people that America really does want to help them” (Providence Journal).

About The Author

Wayne Armstrong/University of Denver

Christopher R. Hill is currently the Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and a monthly columnist for the online journal Project Syndicate. He was a career diplomat, a four-time ambassador, nominated by three presidents, who served as Ambassador to Iraq, the Republic of Korea, Poland, and the Republic of Macedonia and as President Bush’s assistant secretary to East Asia. Hill has received many State Department awards including the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award and the Robert S. Frasure Award for Peace Negotiations. He is the author of Outpost—Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy: A Memoir. Follow @AmbChrisHill.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 2015)
  • Length: 464 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781451685930

Raves and Reviews

“A great introduction to the difficult game of diplomacy. Rather than a turgid tome, Hill’s book is lively, entertaining — even at times laugh-out-loud funny. He spends just enough time to let readers understand the gist of a complicated diplomatic problem, without getting too bogged down in the weeds.”

– The Washington Post

“Christopher Hill was one of our best diplomats, taking on our biggest challenges from Kosovo to North Korea to Iraq in a 30 year career. In Outpost, Hill gives us unique insight into these assignments. In addition, he describes the remarkable dedication of his fellow Foreign Service officers. They represent the United States every day, under conditions that are rarely glamorous, and often cold, dusty, exhausting and downright dangerous. They deserve a book this good, written by a man who loves his country, and his work. A good read.”

– Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State

“This is how diplomacy really works. It involves danger, hard choices, and colorful personalities playing high-stakes games. Christopher Hill is a master at both negotiations and storytelling. His book is an indispensable guide for a complex world and a fascinating behind-the-scenes adventure tale.”

– Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs

“A wry, wise glimpse into the engrossing, exasperating, whipsawed, but sometimes-triumphant, even ennobling life of an American diplomat in these messy times.”

– Fred Kaplan, author of The Insurgents

“A dazzling, action-packed, suspenseful, often witty memoir of a career on the front lines of diplomacy, full of behind-the-scenes insights into the drama of world events from an Oscar-worthy supporting actor.”

– Strobe Talbott, president of The Brookings Institution

“Hill is one of our most accomplished diplomats. In Outpost, he grippingly renders a candid and insightful insider's account of the most significant U.S. diplomatic and political-military efforts of the past two decades.”

– General George Casey, former Army Chief of Staff

“From his days as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon…to his final post as America’s ambassador to Iraq, Hill’s career covers a lot of territory, both geographically and in terms of our diplomatic history. . . . A parade of famous names—presidents, secretaries of state, vice presidents, foreign heads of state, senators, generals—marches through these pages, and readers will delight at some of the shots fired and bouquets thrown at powerful personages who’ve been responsible for our foreign policy for the past 40 years. . . . A must for anyone contemplating a Foreign Service career and for general readers looking for insight into diplomacy conducted at the highest levels.”

– Kirkus Reviews

“A diplomatic career spent under fire—sometimes literally—is recounted with energy and humor in this lively memoir. . . . Written in graceful, witty prose and studded with insights into many international crises, Hill’s narrative critiques American diplomacy even as he defends its importance.”

– Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Engaging. . . . An enlightening look at the hard work of diplomacy through the lens of one man’s career.”

– Booklist

“OUTPOST is a personal story, filled with the intricacies of living abroad, coping with the bureaucracy of the huge U.S. foreign-policy establishment and trying to persuade some very difficult people that America really does want to help them.”

– Providence Journal

“Hill’s detailed account offers a candid, behind-the-scenes look at how the diplomatic sausage is made. . . . Hill’s career is too long and full of rich anecdotes to do justice to it here.”

– Dallas Morning News

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