Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE: A Diplomat's Progress: Tales of Diplomatic Adventure in and around the Middle East

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE: A Diplomat's Progress: Tales of Diplomatic Adventure in and around the Middle East

Article excerpt

LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE A Diplomat's Progress: Tales of Diplomatic Adventure in and around the Middle East, by Henry Precht. Savannah, GA: Williams and Company, 2004. 226 pages. Gloss, to p. 231. About the author. $14.95 paper.

A retired Foreign Service Officer, Henry Precht has drawn on his experiences at postings in several Middle Eastern countries to produce this collection of colorful and imaginative stories. The progression of stories mirrors the author's diplomatic career: consular officer in Alexandria; political officer in Tehran, director of Iranian affairs in Washington; a second tour in Egypt as Deputy Chief of Mission. In between there are stories based on briefer visits to Afghanistan, Mauritius, Syria, and the West Bank and Israel. The protagonist who moves through them is a barely-veiled version of the author himself - generally well meaning, reasonably astute, and increasingly skilled in the practices of diplomacy as he moves up the career ladder. The stories are fiction (or mostly fiction) but they accurately capture the intrigues of the Middle East and the astonishment that even experienced Westerners feel when finding that there is yet another twist in situations they thought they had figured out.

Precht tells these stories with the sardonic but good-natured humor of a man who had been through it all, which indeed he has. …

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