Winner of the 2008 Douglas Dillon Award for Distinguished Writing on American Diplomacy

Given by the American Academy of Diplomacy

In October 2001, the Bush administration sent Ambassador Dobbins to war-torn Afghanistan to help the Afghans assemble a successor government to the Taliban. This memoir recounts how the U.S. administration reluctantly adjusted to its new role as nation-builder, yields insights into how government and diplomacy really work, and explains why the United States has failed to stabilize either Afghanistan or Iraq.

Since 1995, the American Academy of Diplomacy has celebrated distinguished writing about U.S. diplomatic efforts and achievements with this prestigious award. It seeks to honor books, and their authors, dealing with the practice of American diplomacy with emphasis on the way U.S. foreign policy is developed and carried out.

"During his long diplomatic career, Dobbins became an expert in helping to put together states shattered by civil war or invasion. Having served in this capacity in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, he was a natural pick for this role in Afghanistan as the United States turned to the task of overthrowing the Taliban and chasing al Qaeda after 9/11. Dobbins weaves into his narrative such matters as how he wended his way through a thicket of bureaucratic infighting and engaged in multilateral diplomacy with Afghanistan's many factions, Afghanistan's neighbors, other outside powers, and the United Nations."

- Foreign Affairs, November/December 2008

This report is part of the RAND commercial book series. Periodically, RAND researchers publish with commercial presses. These books are not available from RAND but can be requested directly from the publisher, except in cases where the rights have reverted to RAND and we have republished a new edition.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.