Mr. Ambassador: Warrior for Peace

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University of Oklahoma Press, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 560 pages
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“Apartheid South Africa was on fire around me.”

So begins the memoir of Career Foreign Service Officer Edward J. Perkins, the first black United States ambassador to South Africa. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan gave him the unparalleled assignment: dismantle apartheid without violence.

As he fulfilled that assignment, Perkins was scourged by the American press, despised by the Afrikaner government, hissed at by white South African citizens, and initially boycotted by black South African revolutionaries, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu. His advice to President-elect George H. W. Bush helped modify American policy and hasten the release of Nelson Mandela and others from prison.

Perkins’s up-by-your-bootstraps life took him from a cotton farm in segregated Louisiana to the white elite Foreign Service, where he became the first black officer to ascend to the top position of director general.

This is the story of how one man turned the page of history.

  

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Contents

Young Warrior
73
Japan Land of the Rising Sun
83
The Few The Proud
105
Taiwan the Beautiful Island
123
Education and Eisenhowers Little War
137
Let Them Know I Am Here
273
Tightening the Screws
365
The Long Struggle for Peace
405
South Africa
421
Changing the Foreign Service
435
The United Nations
461
Down Under and Beyond
497
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Edward J. Perkins , now retired as a U.S. Ambassador, is William J. Crowe Professor of Geopolitics and Executive Director of the International Programs Center at the University of Oklahoma.

Connie Cronley , an award-winning journalist and radio commentator, lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is the author of a previous book of essays, Sometimes a Wheel Falls Off , and the collaborating author of Mr. Ambassador: Warrior for Peace , a memoir by Edward J. Perkins.

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