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The Ambassadors: From Ancient Greece to Renaissance Europe, the Men Who Introduced the World to Itself
We think of ambassadors as simply diplomats-but once they were adventurers who dared an uncertain fate in unknown lands, bringing gifts of greyhounds and elephants to powerful and unpredictable leaders. In vivid detail, The Ambassadors traces the remarkable journeys of these emissaries, taking us from the linguistically challenged Greek Megasthenes to the first Japanese em ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published June 5th 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
(first published 2006)
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I grabbed this book at the library because it looked interesting and sometimes it was but it could have used one more go-round of editing. The writing is poor to middling. The problem with books like this, where the hop-skip through history is that you have to give enough background to make your anecdote make sense. In this book there was usually WAY too much detail given. I would much rather read a good book about one of these episodes in history than a broad overview like this.
I enjoyed the book. A lot of interesting information was presented on the lives and difficulties which can face an ambassador anywhere, and any time. It was necessary to take time to create a context for the situations of the stories, yet I found that a little tedious. In some instances it was absolutely needed, while in others not so much. Writing style was good for the audience. I looked up the individual stories later to get more detail.
The book talks about the role ambassadors played in history and about the experiences of specific ambassadors throughout history. The book was written in an entertaining, easy-to-read fashion. I was most interested in the sections talking about the origins of ambassadors and of the various rights/protections given to them, but the whole book was interesting.
Jonathan Wright is a British journalist and literary translator. He studied Arabic, Turkish and Islamic civilization at St John's College, Oxford. He joined Reuters news agency in 1980 as a correspondent, and has been based in the Middle East for most of the last three decades. He has served as Reuters' Cairo bureau chief, and he has lived and worked throughout the region, including in Egypt, Suda ...moreMore about Jonathan Wright...