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David Epstein joined the Foreign Service in 2007. His frst post-
ing was San Salvador, and he is now serving as vice consul in
America and the Vatican:
Trading Information after WWII
Robert F. Illing, History Publishing
Company, 2011, $25.95, hardcover,
260 pages.
Fifteen years after World War II, the United
States opened a small mission in the Vati-
can and Robert Illing, a non-Catholic and
career FSO, was posted there as chargé
America and the Vatican
is his account of that experi-
“My assignment to the Vatican began as an ofce joke at the
American embassy in Belgrade, where I was working as a second
secretary in the political section,” the author begins his absorbing
and very well-told story. “Te very idea of an American diplomat
barrelling around the Vatican—a place whose name was as great
as was our ignorance about it—unleashed days of amusing and
fighty speculation. Te thought of our man blithely discussing
fne points of theology in his impeccable high-school Latin with a
group of venerable cardinals was one of the main tableaux of our
wild fancies.”
What he found and came to understand was the dual nature of
the Vatican, as a city-state political entity and as the center of the
Roman Catholic Church. Illing sheds light not only on the Vati-
can’s relationship with the United States but its relationship with
the rest of the world. He uses historical anecdotes to illuminate
the U.S.-Vatican relationship.
During a 25-year diplomatic career, Robert F. Illing served in
Mexico, Yugoslavia, the Holy See and Portugal. He now lives in
northern Portugal, where he enjoys gardening and producing
white wine.
Fifty Years of U.S. Africa Policy:
Refections of Assistant Secretaries
for African Afairs and U.S.
Embassy Ofcials, 1958-2008
Claudia E. Anyaso, ed., Xlibris, 2011,
$19.99, paperback, 269 pages.
Editor Claudia Anyaso’s compilation of
assistant secretaries’ accounts and FSOs’
stories is a remarkable work of historical
and geographical breadth that captures the trials, tribulations
and rewards of diplomats working in one of the world’s most
challenging regions. Te book, a volume in the ADST Memoirs
and Occasional Papers series, refects America’s own evolution,
as well.
Assistant Secretary Joseph Satterthwaite (1958-1961) discusses
racial inequality in America as he evaluates prejudice in Africa.
During the Cold War, some ofcials struggled with America’s
focus on Soviet infuence rather than regional civil rights. Te
retrospective view of these essays reveals the repercussions of
some of these policies and also provides a painful glimpse into
the slow realization of, for instance, the prevalence and horror of
the AIDS epidemic.
Diplomacy in Africa is not usually a glamorous job, and
despite the fortitude and passion of these fgures, it remains a
challenge to get African issues to the seventh foor of the State
Department. Te struggles this book describes are continuous,
but throughout them all, progress is evident.
Claudia Anyaso served for more than 40 years with the former
U.S. Information Agency and the Department of State. Her
overseas postings include Haiti, Nigeria (twice) and Niger. She
was a member of the Implementation Planning Team for the U.S.
Unifed Command for Africa and served as director of the Ofce
of Public Diplomacy and Public Afairs in the Africa Bureau.
The Captain Who Burned His Ships:
Captain Thomas Tingey, USN,
Gordon S. Brown, Naval Institute Press,
2011, $28.95, hardcover, 224 pages.
Te Captain Who Burned His Ships
is the
frst biography of CaptainTomas Tingey,
a key fgure in the development of the early
U.S. Navy.
Arriving in America in 1780 after a short service in the Royal
Navy, Tingey built the Navy Yard in Washington from scratch into
one of the most vital shipyards in the country. After command-
ing it for 25 years, he was then obliged to burn it down in 1814 to
prevent it from falling into the hands of British invaders.
Author Gordon Brown also tells the story of the evolution of
the young naval force, from an object of partisan discord to an
honored defender of a growing and increasingly self-confdent
nation. Brown considers Tingey’s contributions to naval proce-
dures and practices, his civic role in the budding city of Washing-
ton, D.C., the dramatic events of 1814 and the rebuilding of the
yard as a major technical center for the navy.
Gordon S. Brown had a 35-year career in the Foreign Service,