The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 46

sity emeritus professor of French, it is “a story that readers will not
soon forget.”
Jacqueline Mendels Birn was a hidden child, a Holocaust sur-
vivor in France. She was 4 years old when World War II began. In
this memoir, supported by meticulous research and enriched by a
wealth of photographs, she depicts the painful and overwhelming
daily existence of those fortunate enough to have escaped a fate in
a concentration camp. She tells the story of how, despite terrifying
circumstances, her family was able to give her a happy childhood.
Jacqueline Mendels Birn was born in Paris in 1935. She
trained at the Conservatoire de Musique de Paris, pursuing the
cello, and then obtained a degree in organic chemistry. In 1958,
after a whirlwind trans-Atlantic romance, she married American
Richard Birn and moved to New York.
When her husband joined the U.S. Information Agency
Foreign Service, Mrs. Birn began two decades as a diplomatic
spouse in Helsinki, Hong Kong, Washington, Toronto, Valletta
and Mexico City, in addition to raising two children and playing
the cello semiprofessionally all over the world.
In 1978, when her family returned to Washington D.C., she
embarked on a new career as a French-language and -culture
instructor at the Foreign Service Institute. Since her retirement in
2007, she has devoted much of her time to Holocaust education.
Us and Them: An American
Family Spends Ten Years
with Foreigners
Bill Meara, CreateSpace, 2014,
$19.95/paperback, $9.99/Kindle,
218 pages.
In the summer of 2000, Bill and Elisa
Meara, accompanied by 2-year-old
Billy and 4-month-old Maria, left their
home in suburban Washington, D.C., and moved to the Azores.
There they experienced the highs and lows of diplomatic life in
a small, isolated corner of the world. Three years later they relo-
cated to glittering London, and four years after that they moved
to Rome, where they lived for three years.
Two homes, two apartments, five schools, four different
health care systems, one earthquake and many other events and
experiences later, they returned to the United States in 2010 with
a changed view of the world. This memoir tells their story.
FSO Bill Meara spent five years in the U.S. Army before join-
ing the Foreign Service. Elisa Meara is a garden designer who
was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. Billy and Maria
are currently students in Northern Virginia.
You Can’t Beat the Issues:
Fifty Years with the U.S.
Government in Peace and War
William Lenderking, Xlibris, 2014,
$19.99, paperback, 230 pages.
You Can’t Beat the Issues
, Bill Lenderk-
ing discusses his long and eventful diplo-
matic career with oral historian Charles
Stuart Kennedy.
A volume in the Association for Diplomatic Studies and
Training’s Diplomatic Oral History Series, the memoir follows
Lenderking’s Foreign Service career from Castro’s Cuba to the
post-9/11 period. An FSO with the United States Information
Agency, he also served with the Department of State in the
United Nations and in the bureaus of political-military affairs
and East Asian and Pacific affairs.
William Lenderking served in the U.S. Navy, the Foreign Ser-
vice and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for more
than 50 years of U.S. government service in nine countries on
four continents. Born in Great Neck, N.Y., he was educated at
Dartmouth College. A freelance writer and book dealer, he
now resides in Washington, D.C. He is the author of
The Soul
Murderer: A Psychological Mystery
A Diplomat’s Journey from the
Middle East to Cuba to Africa
Joseph G. Sullivan, Xlibris, 2014,
$19.99, paperback, 214 pages.
Growing up on the far side of Boston in
Dorchester, Joseph Sullivan could never
have imagined the career he eventually
had. But with his parents’ encourage-
ment, he studied at Boston Latin School
and Tufts and Georgetown Universities, and entered the U.S.
Foreign Service in 1970.
A volume in the Association for Diplomatic Studies and
Training’s Diplomatic Oral History Series,
A Diplomat’s Journey
from the Middle East to Cuba to Africa
recounts Joe Sullivan’s
fascinating story in interview form.
His 38-year career included assignments in Mexico, post-
revolutionary Portugal, Israel, Cuba, South Lebanon, Angola
and Zimbabwe. He served as deputy assistant secretary for
Latin American affairs from 1989 to 1992, and as principal offi-
cer of the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba from 1993 to 1996. He
was appointed U.S. ambassador to Angola in 1998 and ambas-
sador to Zimbabwe in 2001.
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