This compelling memoir of Richard N. Gardner's years as ambassador to Italy from 1977 to 1981 offers fascinating insights into the foreign policy of the Carter administration as well as into a critical turning point in Italy's history. This turbulent period was marked by the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro, the failed attempt of the Italian Communist Party to take power, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the seizure of American hostages in Tehran. It was also the time of Italy's historic decision to deploy U.S. cruise missiles, which Mikhail Gorbachev identified as a decisive factor in his decision to shift Soviet foreign policy toward genuine disarmament and peaceful cooperation based on the free choice of political systems.
Drawing on hitherto classified material, Gardner shows how wise diplomacy under president Jimmy Carter's leadership played a part in the defeat of communism in Italy and in the eventual collapse of the Soviet empire. His riveting diplomatic narrative is filled with fascinating portraits of American and Italian leaders as well as revealing details of policy differences inside the Carter Administration and between Washington and Gardner's Rome Embassy. The result is a major contribution to our understanding of crisis diplomacy and of the victory of the Western alliance in the Cold War. Balanced, scrupulous, and compelling, Gardner's memoir will be invaluable reading for all those interested in the inner workings of U.S. foreign policy, diplomacy, and European politics. [via]