Our Man: Book summary and reviews of Our Man by George Packer

Our Man

Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century

by George Packer

Our Man by George Packer X
Our Man by George Packer
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  • Published in USA  May 2019
    608 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

The vividly told saga of the ambition, idealism, and hubris of one of the most legendary and complicated figures in recent American history, set amid the rise and fall of U.S. power from Vietnam to Afghanistan.

Richard Holbrooke was brilliant, utterly self-absorbed, and possessed of almost inhuman energy and appetites. Admired and detested, 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. 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. But his sharp elbows and tireless self-promotion ensured that he never rose to the highest levels in government that he so desperately coveted. His story is thus 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.

In Our Man, drawn from Holbrooke's diaries and papers, we are given a nonfiction narrative that 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

In Holbrooke's thwarted ambitions, Packer finds both a riveting tale of diplomatic adventure—part high drama, part low pettiness—and a captivating metaphor for America's waning power." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An insightful and indispensable rendering of an intriguing and accomplished figure who persisted in the pursuit of peace." - Library Journal (starred review)

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Author Information

George Packer Author Biography

Photo: Guillermo Riveros

George Packer is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq, which received numerous prizes and was named one of the ten best books of 2005 by The New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of two novels, The Half Man and Central Square, and two other works of nonfiction, The Village of Waiting and Blood of the Liberals, which won the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. His play, Betrayed, ran in Manhattan for five months in 2008 and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. His most recent book is The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. He lives in Brooklyn.

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