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The Accidental Ambassador

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  21 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
The Accidental Ambassador takes the reader on the journey of Tony Leon's retirement from active political life and into public service as the South African ambassador to Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Paperback, 266 pages
Published March 2013 by Picador Africa
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Ray Hartley
May 14, 2013 Ray Hartley rated it really liked it
Tony Leon fashioned himself as the 'fight back' opposition leader to the DA, so his posting to Argentina by President Jacob Zuma was one of the political surprises of recent times. The Accidental Ambassador is his account of coming to terms with representing the government he had criticised with venom in a strange land, which made him take a fresh look at South Africa. It is an engaging read, which brings fresh perspective to post-apartheid South Africa and diplomacy. Peppered with one-liners ...more
Cathie
May 16, 2013 Cathie rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this reflection on Tony's years in Argentina. He is refreshingly frank about the people (South African & South American) with whom he had dealings over the period. His use of English is a delight!
Sally Seymore
Jan 31, 2014 Sally Seymore rated it liked it
According to the author one should go and live elsewhere only to find what is right with your own country. I often find myself criticizing SA for how its government operates or fails to operate. This book covers a wide variety of topics and gave me a good glimpse of how an Ambassador spends his time, but I was horrified at some of Argentine's economic policies and their remedies to 'fix' it. Sadly, there are some similarities in the thinking of the two governments.
I had a personal interest in t
...more
Angus Mcallister
Jan 30, 2014 Angus Mcallister rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Tony Leon's command of English is superlative (albeit somewhat pompous to begin with, but this faded as I progressed through the book) and he quotes liberally from most appropriate sources to embellish his keen descriptions of life in Argentina.

It draws some fascinating comparisons between South Africa and Argentina, and shows up some of the latter's deep systemic failings (played out in the plummeting peso in late January 2014) as well as its amazing culture and na
...more
Shannon Hampton
Jun 02, 2014 Shannon Hampton rated it really liked it
I loved this book, but I am a fan of Tony Leon. I really enjoyed learning about Argentina, and was embarrassed by how little I knew about the country. I found it really interesting and would (and have) definitely recommend the book.
John
John rated it really liked it
Feb 24, 2015
jo petersen
jo petersen rated it it was amazing
Jan 31, 2016
Michal Leon
Michal Leon rated it it was amazing
May 27, 2013
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Dec 20, 2014
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Apr 03, 2014
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Maureen
Apr 01, 2014 Maureen rated it really liked it
Well written interesting account of tony Leon trying his best to promote South Africa. Also funny.
Michael Jowell
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“Given that the doubtless unsuspecting taxpayers of South Africa provided every diplomat abroad with free housing, a foreign service allowance (in addition to salary) and, in the case of ambassadors, two full-time, live-in domestics, it became apparent why many found such a feather-bedded life abroad so appealing”.” 1 likes
“The citizens have “the extraordinary and exhausting practice of sitting down to dinner at any time between 10m and 11 p.m. I found it challenging to stay animated and conversational when my normal bedtime was usually about the time that the first course was being cleared”.” 1 likes
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