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1998 New York Times Editor's Choice of the Year
In Selecting To End a War as one of the 11 Best Books of the Year, The New York Times wrote:
"Diplomacy is the grungiest job... But it must be satisfying because this enthralling book is also a heartfelt call to America to use its power when societies break down and to become a steady global force resisting human rights abuses everywhere. It is filled with anecdotes and sharp pictures of the wily Balkan leaders Holbrooke had to deal with, as well as with shrewd and seldom flattering analyses of the personalities and motivations of timid American and NATO military commanders... His recreation of battles over principle and tactics with Western generals and State Department and White House officials are dramatic and his description of a rudderless Administration during the early days of his efforts is astonishingly candid, and convincing. His combativeness may offend the pinstripe set, but it is wonderfully refreshing on the page. It is a very rare book on diplomacy that makes you feel you were in the midst of it, and excited to be there."
--The New York Times Book Review
When President Clinton sent Richard Holbrooke to Bosnia as America's chief negotiator, he took a gamble that would eventually redefine his presidency. But there was no saying then, at the height of the war, that Holbrooke's mission would succeed. As passionate as he was controversial, Holbrooke believed that the only way to bring peace to the Balkans was through a complex blend of American leadership, aggressive and creative diplomacy, and a willingness to use force, if necessary, in the cause for peace. This was not a popular view. Resistance was fierce within the United Nations, NATO, and the chronically divided Contact Group -- and in Washington, where many argued that the United States should not get more deeply involved. This book is Holbrooke's gripping inside account of the decisive months when, belatedly and reluctantly but ultimately decisively, the United States reasserted its moral authority and leadership and ended Europe's worst war in over half a century.
To End a War is a brilliant portrayal of high-wire, high-stakes diplomacy in one of the toughest negotiations of modern times. A classic account of how foreign policy is made in Washington, its lessons go far beyond the boundaries of the Balkans and provide a powerful argument for continued American leadership in the modern world.
PRAISE FOR To End a War:
"This brilliant and remarkable book is both an absorbing firsthand narrative of the Balkan conflict and an invaluable contribution to the history of our time."
--Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
"What Richard Holbrooke has given us in this impressive diplomatic memoir is a vivid and well-written account of the heroic efforts put forward by the author himself and the small team he headed to spare the troubled Balkan region further bloodshed and horror, and to bring the endangered peoples of Bosnia hope, security, and normalcy of life."
--George F. Kennan
"Whether one agrees with him or not on Bosnia, Richard Holbrooke's book is must reading."
-- Henry Kissinger
"A first-rate diplomatic history.... Holbrooke makes as powerful a case for the use of tactical force as is ever likely to appear in print. To End a War is an important book containing many lessons about the possibilities and limitations of diplomacy, the value of cajolery and threat, and the need for the United States to play a moral as well as practical role in international affairs."
--The New York Times
"Holbrooke is brilliant, forceful, determined, focused... In his intuitive feel for the realities of power diplomacy and his strategic vision, he is the heir to Henry Kissinger in American diplomacy."
--The New York Post
"A compelling account of a life-and-death negotiation -- the personal dynamics, the theatrical gestures, the unexpected snags, the leaks... A classic exercise in lock-up, great power diplomacy. To End a War is a riveting book."
"Of all the many excellent books that have been written on Bosnia, To End A War may turn out to be the most important. Holbrooke has written a superb book, one that is clear and honest... Bosnia needed a Holbrooke; perhaps more importantly, so did Washington, if it was to redeem its besmirched honor."
--Michael Elliott, Newsweek
"Easily the best book of recent years on how to carry off a diplomatic negotiation... We can only hope that the White House, Congress and the public are listening, and that generations of Americans will read Holbrooke's book."
--The Philadelphia Inquirer
"A roller-coaster ride, from the driver's seat... The going is rambunctious and fascinating."
"A bravura performance, fascinating, informative and powerfully argued."
--The New Republic
"To End a War should be read by anyone who still believes that the relationship between the United States military and its political overseers is healthy."
--Thomas E. Ricks, The Washington Monthly
"Riveting and forthright... Holbrooke's memoir is both highly literate and informed, as well as notably readable. It is steeped in the tradition of diplomatic memoirs by eminent diplomatauthors such as Henry Kissinger and Harold Nicolson."
--Kirkus Review (starred)
"The Dayton Agreement provided much-needed relief from the horrible war that preceded it, and it is largely to the credit of Richard Holbrooke that there is any agreement at all. He has now given us, in To End A War his memoir of this crucially important negotiation, the crowning achievement (so far) or an impressive diplomatic career. The book makes compelling reading."
--Paul Wolfowitz, The National Interest