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War on Peace

The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence
Written by: Ronan Farrow
Narrated by: Ronan Farrow
Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (70 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A harrowing exploration of the collapse of American diplomacy and the abdication of global leadership.

American diplomacy is under siege. Offices across the State Department sit empty while abroad, the military-industrial complex has assumed the work once undertaken by peacemakers. We're becoming a nation that shoots first and asks questions later.

In an astonishing account ranging from Washington, DC, to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and North Korea in the years since 9/11, acclaimed journalist and former diplomat Ronan Farrow illuminates one of the most consequential and poorly understood changes in American history. His firsthand experience in the State Department affords a personal look at some of the last standard-bearers of traditional statecraft, including Richard Holbrooke, who made peace in Bosnia and died while trying to do so in Afghanistan. Farrow's narrative is richly informed by interviews with whistle-blowers, policymakers, and a warlord, from Henry Kissinger to Hillary Clinton. Diplomacy, Farrow argues, has declined after decades of political cowardice, shortsightedness, and outright malice - but it may just offer America a way out of a world at war.

©2018 Ronan Farrow (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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Well written - Well Narrated - Well Done!

Ronan Farrow and those that supported him together provided an immense amount of research. I enjoyed the rich descriptions of the characters and of the events.

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Ronan Farrow is immensely competent

There is nothing, NOTHING, more dramatic than politics. This has been true historically and is no less true today, especially with an incompetent toddler running a government via a narcissistic twitter feed.

Ronan Farrow is a skilled, experienced, intelligent public servant and journalist, and his work here is impressive and terrifying. I'm not necessarily opposed to the decline of American influence, but I am certainly opposed to increased militaristic activities that are funded by or happening as a result of the American government. I hope the world will recover from this collapse of diplomacy.

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A tribute to a bygone era?

Farrow demonstrates the importance of diplomacy over militarism. In choosing the military route the US is actually diminishing its influence in world affairs, at least in terms of achieving peaceful outcomes.

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listen to this at night. insomnia be damned.

narrator (and writer) beats the odds and does a terrific job reading his own story. gave 4 stars only because it's too true. political horror stories that continue on news every morning.

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The Indispensable Author

Having just finished Halberstam's THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST, Farrow's tale of challenges of the last 2.5 decades in American foreign policy was deeply insightful. It is also a love letter to his challenging, infuriating, essential mentor Richard Holbrooke.

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Informative, but to "literary"

I suppose I expected more of an essay format, but I was disappointed when I realised that it was written as a flowery memoir. The author, for instance, pollutes every sentence with superfluous detail that I feel is indented to "bring me there". e.g. Someone doesn't record a conversation, they "take notes on lined paper in a leather booklet cracked from years of note taking"

Don't get me wrong, the book contains a lot of information, it's just clouded by the authors insistence on subjecting me to an immersive narrative. Or in other words, you really have to work through this book to get what you came for out of it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • JAL
  • 2018-05-06

Gifted Author

I’ve read a lot of excellent books lately but this book is the most beautifully written book that brings one alone through the author’s travels in Afghanistan and Africa and the political disarray in Washington DC. This 32 year old author has lived a lifetime and generously shares his experiences and relationships with his readers. I loved this book!

40 people found this helpful

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  • Kristen Cunningham
  • 2019-02-19

A Quiet Rescue

What a sweet love story for a thankless public service! It’s hard to read this book and have little to no hope that things will get better immediately, but as Ronan lays out time and time again Diplomacy is a long game. This book was a candid look into wins, loses, and draws of American diplomacy and a window into how to fight for a way forward.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 2018-04-28

I feel smarter having read this book.

In an age wherein stupidity, superstition, and paranoia and celebrated, we have in this book and incredibly well thought out and researched, intelligent narrative. It illustrates clearly the perils of our current political path. Carefully and methodically the author spells out in a historical timeline the hits and misses of our country's foreign policy. Mr. Farrow's credentials for writing this book are unparalleled. His delivery is unadorned and direct. I could feel the synapses in my brain grow stronger as I listened. If you have any interest in the subject (you should) this is an excellent resource.

44 people found this helpful

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  • JC
  • 2018-04-24

Well Timed and Authoritative:

The conclusions of this well written and meticulously researched book are hard to dismiss as “fake news.”

Farrow writes to all audiences, and the interviews offer something new about each party.

America has always been served by many tools in the “toolbox” with diplomacy ranking among the most effective. Farrow provides convincing evidence of why losing this capability only serves our enemies.

61 people found this helpful

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  • Griffin Mckay
  • 2019-03-17

I Like Ronan Farrow, but This Didn't Do It for Me

Ronan Farrow is a gifted writer and is clearly passionate and excited about the topics he has chosen for this book about diplomats and the State Department, but his passion did not hook me. I made it five chapters in, but I just felt bored and uninterested. The book comes off as very dry, and Farrow's delivery does not help. Others who are more invested in this topic may feel differently, but this book I was initially excited about left me feeling cold and detached. I like much of Farrow's journalistic work, but I did not enjoy this.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Judson Roberts
  • 2018-06-26

Worth hearing, but...

The facts covered were crucial to trying to understanding our times. But the use of first, second and third person made it a challenge to follow, along with jumping back and forth in time. In the end it did seem to come together.

12 people found this helpful

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  • TH
  • 2018-05-03

I guess we really are present at the destruction

This book is a masterpiece. This book was a joy to read. And this book terrifies me. I still have hope though, because more incredible people like Richard Hollbroke and Ronan Farrow are working to end this war and make peace work again.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Gary Senser
  • 2019-03-09

Great book!

Must read if you care about the state of our country and the risky decline of U. S. diplomacy.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Esteban E.
  • 2018-05-05

This book is everything!

A deep dive into the complex importance of the state department and the potential consequences that we are all sure to suffer if this institution continues to be neglected and stripped.

15 people found this helpful

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  • HeyJude
  • 2019-10-22

Quite informative...

Though told in remarkable detail, I was hoping for a more story-teller format so that I could follow it better. I can’t say I retained anything more than an overall picture that (depending on who’s in power and what their agenda is) our diplomacy is at these people’s mercy. That’s scary. There’s been some successes and some not so successful actions. One thing for sure, these jobs being handled by folks with little to no real experience in foreign matters or understanding of their culture and the past, are causing some very serious issues abroad that affect real lives. That’s what I walked away with.

3 people found this helpful