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Lijek’s understated approach enhanced
my appreciation for the book’s fnal sec-
tion, in which he moves on with his life
and career.
As with many self-published books,
the writing has rough edges, particu-
larly in terms of punctuation. And while
I certainly understand the impulse to
blame Jimmy Carter and other fgures for
their roles in the crisis, I didn’t fnd Lijek’s
reasoning to be very persuasive.
All that said, if you only have time for
one of those two books, read
Te House-
. But if you are interested in spycraft
or don’t plan to see “Argo,” it is also worth
reading Mendez’s account.
Steven Alan Honley is the editor of
Te Foreign Service Journal.
Diplomacy Dissected
At Home with the Diplomats:
Inside a European Foreign Ministry
Iver B. Neumann, Cornell University
Press, 2012, $24.95, paperback,
216 pages.
Reviewed by John M. Grondelski
Have you ever thought of diplomats
as a kind of aboriginal tribe? Iver B.
Neumann has. A political scientist and
anthropologist, he spent almost four
years working in the Norwegian Ministry
of Foreign Afairs to produce this fasci-
nating study examining diplomats from
the perspective of an ethnographer.
As far as I know, nobody has ever
studied members of our profession in
quite that way. But
viewing Foreign
Service processes
like information
gathering (writ-
ing), hierarchy
roles (promotion
and chain-of-com-
mand behavior),
and social status
(demographics) through such a lens can
be very illuminating.
Take what Neumann calls “knowl-
edge production.” We all know that
diplomats exist to gather knowledge
and analyze it. But what makes their
reporting diferent from that of, say,
CNN? Neumann claims it is a specifc
kind of knowledge, with a short shelf-life