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THE ART OF DIPLOMACY

HOW AMERICAN NEGOTIATORS REACHED HISTORIC AGREEMENTS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

Eizenstat covers a lot of ground, writing with the authority and clarity of experience.

A former U.S. ambassador to the European Union lays out a useful roadmap to successful international negotiations.

Negotiations are a crucial part of statecraft, writes Eizenstat, author of Imperfect Justice and The Future of the Jews. In his latest book, the author aims to distill key events in U.S. negotiations into lessons for the next generation of diplomats and students. In some of the cases, Eizenstat had direct involvement; regarding others, he studied the records closely and interviewed the participants. As any diplomat will tell you, an essential ingredient in a successful negotiation is preparation. You must understand what the other side wants and how far they will go to get it. In the case of American negotiators, they must be clear about their own objectives while also maintaining the support of the Oval Office. Both sides have to be willing to give something, but they must also be able to walk away with something they can claim as a victory, if only a partial one. The point is not defeating an opponent but finding a workable consensus. Eizenstat identifies a failure to follow through on agreements as a recurring weakness of U.S. diplomacy over the decades. Sometimes, the failure arises due to domestic political circumstances; sometimes, it involves the mistaken view that adding signatures to a piece of paper is an end in itself and will solve all problems. Eizenstat hopes that future negotiators will address these shortcomings. “Successful international negotiations require putting aside historic enmities, hatreds, and prejudices, and reasoning together to reach durable, if painful, compromises,” he writes. The author does not always delve as deeply as some readers may wish, but he provides a valuable primer for those with an interest in this field.

Eizenstat covers a lot of ground, writing with the authority and clarity of experience.

Pub Date: May 28, 2024

ISBN: 9781538167991

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

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Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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