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Cursed is the Peacemaker

Back to Diplomats and Diplomacy

Cursed is the Peacemaker: The American Diplomat versus the Israeli General, Beirut 1982

“John Boykin has done an outstanding job of portraying a preeminent peace negotiator and profoundly complex man. Part pragmatist, part idealist, Phil Habib possessed a powerful personality—brilliant, profane, tenacious, and courageous—a dedicated career diplomat who served under seven presidents and was the one sent when the issues were the most intractable.”

 ––HENRY A. KISSINGER, Secretary of State (1973–1977)

John Boykin’s fast-paced life of the extraordinary diplomat Philip Habib zeroes in on Habib’s excruciatingly difficult, much lauded, but short-lived success in halting the Arab-Israeli war in Lebanon in 1982 and negotiating the evacuation of PLO leader Yasir Arafat and his PLO fighters. Twenty years later, Arafat and Ariel Sharon, who led the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, were once again front and center.

Boykin’s lively book is informal yet polished, a real page-turner about a colorful, unorthodox diplomat who was also a consummate professional. The book fills a gap in the understanding of a vital chapter in recent Middle East history. It is thoroughly researched and based almost entirely on primary sources: declassified government documents and interviews and oral histories of participants in the events described.