ichard Holbrooke is one of the most important diplomats of the last 50 years. Equally admired and detested, he was the force behind the Dayton Accords that ended the Balkan wars, considered by some to be America's greatest diplomatic achievement in the post-Cold War era.

From his days as a young adviser in Vietnam to his last efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, Holbrooke embodied the postwar American impulse to take the lead on the global stage. But his sharp elbows and tireless self-promotion ensured that he never rose to the highest levels in government that he so desperately coveted. Holbrooke’s story is thus the story of America during its era of supremacy: its strength, drive and sense of possibility, as well as its penchant for overreach and heedless self-confidence.

In Our Man, drawn from Holbrooke's diaries and papers, journalist George Packer gives us a nonfiction narrative that is both intimate and epic in its revelatory portrait of this extraordinary and deeply flawed man and the elite spheres of society and government he inhabited.


This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

George Packer
George Packer
Staff Writer, The Atlantic; Author, Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century
Image - Kori Schake
In Conversation with Kori Schake
Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute; Twitter @KoriSchake