Inside a U.S. Embassy: Diplomacy at Work, All-New, Third Edition of the Essential Guide to the Foreign Service

Inside a U.S. Embassy: Diplomacy at Work, All-New, Third Edition of the Essential Guide to the Foreign Service

by Shawn Dorman

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Who works in an embassy? What do diplomats actually do? Inside a U.S. Embassy offers an up-close and personal look into the lives of the diplomats and specialists who make up the U.S. Foreign Service, taking readers inside embassies and consulates in more than fifty countries, providing detailed descriptions of Foreign Service jobs and first-hand accounts of diplomacy in action.
Gain a sense of the key role played by each member of an embassy team from Paris to Kabul, from Bogota to Beijing, and places in between. Travel into the rainforests of Thailand with an environmental affairs officer, face rampaging militias with a political officer in East Timor, and join an ambassador on a midnight trip into a Macedonian refugee camp to quell a riot.
The book includes profiles of diplomats and specialists around the world serving in Foreign Service positions -- from the ambassador to the security officer, the consular officer to the IT specialist. Also included is a selection of day-in-the-life accounts from seventeen different countries, each describing an actual day on the job. The story section includes twenty-six tales from the field that give a sense of the extraordinary: the coups, the evacuations, the civil wars, the hardships and rewards of representing America to the world.
Inside a U.S. Embassy was published by the American Foreign Service Association in 2003, and updated and revised in 2005. Over 70,000 copies have sold.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612344676
Publisher: Foreign Service Books
Publication date: 04/11/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 332,124
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Shawn Dorman is the associate editor of the Foreign Service Journal and directs the book program for the American Foreign Service Association. She has written extensively on issues related to the diplomatic career. A former U.S. Foreign Service political officer, Dorman has served in Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, and Russia and in the State Department Operations Center in Washington, DC. She lives with her family outside Baltimore.

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Inside A U.S. Embassy 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally, a book that explains what diplomats really do! This is a really good read, and a welcome departure from the usual staid, academic studies of the Foreign Service. Using first-hand accounts from diplomats and other embassy staff, this book sheds some light on a livelihood that's utterly foreign to most of us, and usually misunderstood. It should be read not only by those considering taking the very difficult foreign service exam, but by every taxpayer interested in what our government is doing to protect us in these dangerous times. The book has its share of heroes -- from the guy who bucks the system to expose a brutal Latin American junta to the Ambassador who puts his body between an angry mob and some terrified gypsies. But to its credit, it also deals with the mundane -- giving voice to those who make the appointments, procure the pencils, and ensure the embassy cars run on time. Tight editing weaves these disparate accounts into a whole that's compelling. One gets the sense that these are folks who signed onto public service because they want to do more with their lives than chase a buck. There's plenty of adventure in their lives, but not always glamor. One small quibble -- the portrait of a junior officer serving as the deputy spokesperson of a major embassy struck me as not very representative of the experience of most junior officers, who are more often assigned to visa work for their first couple of jobs. That said, I still found her story interesting. On balance, I found this to be a very educational and entertaining book that deserves to be widely read.
OccassionalRead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Peace Corps publishes stories written by volunteers of country of service life. Usually the stories are well written and informative but the books are produced inexpensively, softbound with grainy black and white photos, and they're typically handed out free of charge at recruiting events to applicants. This book is very much the same thing but for the Foreign Service rather than the Peace Corps. In fact, about 5 years ago I believe this book was a freebie. No longer. Even so, I would still recommend this book if only to those who are applying for the Foreign Service or considering it as a career. It is a good companion piece to the more academic Career Diplomacy. Read this book for real life stories about a day in the life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Foreign Service diplomats and specialists are truly the unsung heroes of American foreign policy.” This statement embodies the all-new third edition of Inside a U.S. Embassy: DIPLOMACY AT WORK. The editor, Shawn Dorman, is a former diplomat and clearly no stranger to the inner workings of the Foreign Service. This book is indeed an essential guide to all things diplomatic as she elaborates upon the broad spectrum of positions, personalities and experience that work abroad in a U.S. Embassy entails. The five sections carefully dissect and outline the roles of each essential officer, the lives that they lead abroad, journal entries detailing personal experience, the embassy machine in action, closing with tips and advice for prospective entry level officers. Not only does Dorman relay these details through matter-of-fact descriptions, engaging diagrams, lists, maps and photos from around the world, she also incorporates an empathetic aspect through inclusion of the emotions that accompany international friendships, constant uprooting of families, the trials of culture barriers, and many other obstacles that our nation’s Foreign Service Officers face every day – in service of us. We are finally able to get an inside view into the lives of everyone – spouses, entry level officers, ambassadors, security officers and the like – who plays an essential role in America’s foreign diplomacy in places far and wide - from a Tandem in India to a mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to everywhere in between. This is truly a guide into the inner workings of the machine that is a U.S. Embassy and Dorman paints a thorough, realistic, and all-encompassing picture of every working screw. This book would be useful for anyone thinking about a diplomatic career or anyone curious about what our diplomats do inside those embassy gates.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What I like most about this book is that it goes well beyond the traditional image of a U.S. diplomat abroad, providing perspectives from people in several different embassy positions. Part I profiles members of the Foreign Service in the different generalist career tracks or "cones" (economic, political, consular, public diplomacy, and management) and specialist career tracks (medical doctors, office management specialists, etc). The second part explains how all the different positions examined in the book work together under the ambassador. Part III is a series of day-in-the-life journals. As someone who is considering the career, I found it helpful that this includes some people who are newer to the career, as well as the high-level people. Part IV is a series of very different 1-3 page stories (called tales from the field). Where Part III focuses more on everyday work and life, the stories in Part IV are focused on more extraordinary circumstances. A couple of these center around dangerous situations like being in an embassy as it is attacked - or coordinating the evacuation of US citizens from a foreign country during a time of upheaval, or calming a mob intent on violence. This is the most exciting part of the book, so it was my favorite to read. The guide to the hiring process in Part V is helpful in that it focuses on the entire application process. It's not really a prep book for the written exam, more of a guide to the process. Most prep books that I have used to study only cover the written exam (the first of many hurdles in the process) and had one page on the entire rest of the process, so this section of the book was useful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for the real story about being a State Department employee, this is not it. It is not that the stories are incorrect, but that they are just 1/2 of the story. You are not told that one third of U.S. Ambassadors are able to buy their positions. They are large campaign contributors to the President. You are not told that the State Department is currently Secretary-concentric, which means that the senior bureaucracy is resistent to any creative suggestions from below. Everything must originate from the Fifth Floor (Office of the Secretary of State). The State Department's dissent channel and its various sounding boards are all for show. Diplomats progress by keeping their mouths shut, by praising the Secretary and most of all by doing nothing that might upstage the Secretary. This book never discusses the conflict between diplomats and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which has been on a power grab since 2001. It has more and more authority over Embassy operations and personnel because there is a paranoia about al-Qaeda. Embassy personnel increasing live in fortified housing under the control of Bureau agents. There is less and less contact with ordinary people in the host country. The Bureau can have anyone sent home and does not have to have a reason. There are endless stories of security abuses. The book does not discuss the shabby housing that some diplomats have to endure, while the Secretary is spending $1 billion to build a glittering new embassy in London. The binge drinking is not discussed nor is there any mention that USAID funnels must of its contracts to politically connected Beltway Bandits, which is why most development aid projects fail. The constant changes in posts means that few diplomats are expert in the country they are in and almost all lack the crucial language skills and dialect skills for the host country, especially the minority languages. Diplomats usually have to work through interpreters, which is an absolutely terrible and unprofessional practice. The list of problems and deficiencies in the State Department is virtually endless. The real stories are not in this book. Matthew J. Nasuti Former USAF Captain Reporter - The Kabul Press