THE MAKING OF A PUBLIC MAN by Sol M. Linowitz

THE MAKING OF A PUBLIC MAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A memoir of his achievements by a man who had a distinguished career as a top-level industrialist and an equally distinguished career as a ranking diplomat for the US; of moderate interest to buffs of business or diplomatic history, little interest for the general reader. A successful corporate and international lawyer, Linowitz was a founder and developer of the hugely successful Xerox Corporation. Well-known in a number of capitals, including Washington, for his success at international negotiations for Xerox, he was tapped by Lyndon Johnson for government service in 1966. Linowitz was then 52 and chairman of the executive committee of Xerox. The call from Johnson propelled him to the heights of American diplomacy. Linowitz became ambassador to the Organization of American States. After this post, for the next 15 years, he rendered, off and on, good service to the government. With former Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, he conducted the difficult negotiations for the treaty that gave Panama sovereignty over the Panama Canal. Later he served President Carter as troubleshooter in the Middle East. The essence of diplomatic--and business--negotiation and maneuvering is to play your cards close to your vest, wear a poker face and never let the other fellow know what you are really thinking. Unfortunately, Linowitz has done much the same here. While of interest to specialists, his narrative is too placid to arouse much interest among the diplomatically unenlightened. As a writer, Linowitz has been unable to let go of the habits he learned as a negotiator: always remain calm and don't reveal too much. His recitation of events is too controlled, lacking the details and anecdotes that would have put flesh and blood on his history and brought it to three-dimensional life. Though personal communication is the essence of the negotiator's art, there are here very few direct quotations. Linowitz has written in an undertone. The reader senses that if he could let go of his negotiator's reserve and raise his voice, he could write a more interesting life than this.

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 1985
Publisher: Little, Brown