Diplomacy Before the Fall

The first two sentences of this fine book tell it all.  “This is a text for our times.  It is a celebration of diplomacy and diplomats—of an essentially extinct profession.”  I shall return to this summa summarum; but first, here is my account of the contents of this book.

It consists of five substantial portraits of men who, during the first half of the last century, represented their nations and incarnated at least some of their best qualities.  They are Lewis Einstein (an American), Horace Rumbold (an Englishman), Count Johann Bernstorff (a German), Count Carlo Sforza (an Italian), and Ismet Inönü (a Turk).  I agree with Liebmann’s high estimation of all these men, except perhaps of Sforza, for whom Lieb-mann’s regard is greater than mine.  An especially good portrait is that of Einstein, an active diplomatist only part time (and no relation to the much-celebrated physicist, Albert of the astral hair).  Lewis Einstein was a gentleman and an amateur scholar, in the best senses of the term amateur.  He had a profound knowledge of history and wrote at least one remarkable book, as well as many articles and essays.  He was never close to the center of American statecraft, but Theodore Roosevelt appreciated his mind and character.  He had a vision of Western civilization and of the providential role of the United States within it, a vision...

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