The 42 years between 1917 and 1959 saw more, and greater, changes in American foreign relations than all the 140 previous years put together. Those 42 years comprise the career of professional diplomat Robert Murphy, and thus his autobiography is more than a personal memoir; it is, in fact, a vivid history of our Foreign Service from an understaffed and inefficient bureau to ""the finest diplomatic instrument in the world"". But there is also much more of value in this book than that, because Murphy's career, at least from 1940 onward, was anything but typical. With the fall of France, he was chosen as Roosevelt's own Man in French Africa, charged with the exceedingly delicate task of keeping peace between de Gaulle, the colonial French, and the Allies, so that the war could go forward. After that there were similar extraordinary duties in Italy and Germany, and since the official records of FDR's unconventional maneuvres throughout the war are incomplete, much of this will be news to the historians as well as to the general reader. And even this is not all; then come Murphy's years as ambassador to Japan, negotiator of the Korean armistice, and work at the top-secret conference table during the Suez and Lebanon crises, with NATO, and in the UN. It is an important book, consistently readable, and thoroughly deserving to be every bit as long as it is.