by Paul Richter
The tale’s heroes are a small circle of top career diplomats who have been an unheralded but crucial line of national defense in the past two decades of wars in the greater Middle East. In The Ambassadors, Paul Richter shares the astonishing, true-life stories of four expeditionary diplomats who “do the hardest things in the hardest places.”
The book describes how Ryan Crocker helped rebuild a shattered Afghan government after the fall of the Taliban and secretly negotiated with the shadowy Iranian mastermind General Qassim Suleimani to wage war in Afghanistan and choose new leaders for post-invasion Iraq. Robert Ford, assigned to be a one-man occupation government for an Iraqi province, struggled to restart a collapsed economy and to deal with spiraling sectarian violence—and was taken hostage by a militia. In Syria at the eruption of the civil war, he is chased by government thugs for defying the country’s ruler. J. Christopher Stevens is smuggled into Libya as US Envoy to the rebels during its bloody civil war, then returns as ambassador only to be killed during a terror attach in Benghazi. War-zone veteran Anne Patterson is sent to Pakistan, considered the world’s most dangerous country, to broker deals that prevent a government collapse and to help guide the secret war on jihadists.
“An important and illuminating read” (The Washington Post)—The Ambassadors is a candid examination of the career diplomatic corps, America’s first point of contact with the outside world and is a critical piece of modern-day history.
Paul Richter has written about foreign policy and national security for three decades. As a Washington-based correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, he reported from sixty countries and appeared in US and international media. He covered the State Department for the Los Angeles Times from 2001 to 2015, and before that, the Pentagon and the White House. He was raised in the Washington, DC, area and Minneapolis, and graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is also the principal author of California and the American Tax Revolt: Prop 13 After Five Years. He lives in the Washington, DC area.