October 24 Lessons from the Edge: A Memoir Marie Yovanovitch Leader - TBA
Raised by Russian immigrant parents in Connecticut where her father taught high school, Marie (Masha) Yovanovitch, grew up loving both the outdoors and reading, especially Narnia-like stories, although often feeling like an outsider just trying to fit in. After graduating as a history major from Princeton, she registered for a 3-month Russian language program in Moscow. Back in the United States, she ultimately signed up for the Foreign Service in order to “follow foreign affairs, serve as a non-partisan professional, and make the world a better place.” Her work led to posts in Somalia, the United Kingdom, Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia, with a return to Kyiv as ambassador shortly before war broke out.
Her personal story offers a backstage glimpse of daily life in the Foreign Service. Notable are her passion for the equal treatment of women, the challenge of adjusting to presidential turnovers, and the pleasures of travel with its surprises and cultural opportunities. Yovanovitch’s writing is straightforward, enhanced by historic photographs and a map showing the regions where she served for some four decades. From the epilogue: “History is a double-edged sword…Ultimately what we do with history’s lessons is up to us.”
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