ronald e. neumann

Review of ‘Three Embassies, Four Wars’

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Like many retired American diplomats, Ambassador (ret) Ronald E. Neumann did an oral history interview with the Association of Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST), in which he detailed his upbringing, his military service, and more importantly, his three decades of service as an American Foreign Service Officer, and his decision to specialize in the Islamic world.

His book, Three Embassies, Four Wars: A Personal Memoir is an excellent introduction to the life of a diplomat and is recommended reading for anyone interested in pursuing a diplomatic career. The author gives rich details of his life as a Foreign Service brat, his decision to become a combat arms officer in the army and serve in Vietnam, and his subsequent entry into the Foreign Service. He goes into even more detail describing his diplomatic career, with some profound insights into the route to success in this field.

I’ve known the author for some time as a colleague in the American Academy of Diplomacy, the organization for which he currently serves as president, but it was only after reading his book that I learned that our careers, unknowing to either of us, ran parallel from the time he came to Fort Benning as an officer candidate, to jungle warfare school in Panama, and then subsequently in Vietnam shortly after the 1968 Tet Offensive.
This is an instructive, and at the same time, entertaining volume that offers useful information, not just to those interested in diplomacy as a career, but to anyone who really wants to know just what diplomats do.

I give this book five stars.