DIRTY DIPLOMACY by Craig Murray

DIRTY DIPLOMACY

The Rough and Tumble Adventures of a Scotch Drinking, Skirt Chasing, Dictator Busting and Thoroughly Unrepentant Ambassador Stuck on the Frontline of the War Against Terror
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Britain’s former ambassador to Uzbekistan unloads his prodigious rage and frustration about his country’s morally compromised part in America’s dirty little war on terror.

If Murray were as awe-inspiring a person as he believes himself to be, it would make for quite an astounding package—if only. The good news for readers of his scabrous political memoir is that he’s a good hand at telling a rollicking story, even if his sizable ego often obstructs the view. Sent to represent Her Majesty’s interests in Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004, Murray (who had spent a fair amount of time as a foreign-service officer in Soviet bloc countries) was quickly repulsed by the barbaric level of human-rights abuses committed by the government. The horrors included everything from suspected dissidents being scalded alive to serial rapes of female civilians by a police force run rampant. Meanwhile, the government appeared to be little more than a cabal of corrupt gangsters who kept Uzbekistan’s people in a state of slave-like deprivation. No matter how many telegrams Murray sent to London informing his superiors of what was happening on the ground, he was invariably given the same answer: Uzbekistan is an important ally in the war on terror, and any abuses are caused by a natural fear of Muslim extremism. Murray is no fish-eyed scold, though. He favors good booze and women and has a gift for cockeyed humor. An uncompromising Scot clearly expert at his job, he’s also given to grade-school-level sexism and supreme self-satisfaction. What sets this book apart from most score-settling tomes by former politicos is that while Murray may be a pompous, conceited windbag, that doesn’t keep him from being absolutely right in his moral convictions.

A rowdy piece of work that makes moral high-mindedness and a bacchanalian approach to life seem a great fit.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4165-4801-0
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2007