Kristen's Reviews > Diplomacy and Diamonds: My Wars from the Ballroom to the Battlefield

Diplomacy and Diamonds by Joanne King Herring
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's review
Dec 21, 11

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bookshelves: firstreads, contemporary, memoir, political
Read from December 04 to 21, 2011

I love to read historical novels - often the fictionalized stories of women engaging with power and wealth. While a few of the best writers can take commoners and produce gripping tales, most writers tell the dramatic stories of princesses, or perhaps the beautiful but impoverished aristocrat or actress who catches the king's eye.

(As a liberal with absolute belief in the goodness of fairness, solidarity, and the importance of the middle class and safety nets, I can't explain why I and so many like me love the royalty so much!)

Joanne King Herring is the modern-day equivalent of those princesses and impoverished aristocrats. She caught the eye of several kings - and counts, dukes, CEOs, presidents - and she impacted world history. Julia Roberts played Herring in Charlie Wilson's War, and a better title for that might have been Joanne Herring's War. Herring was the impetus behind that story, just as Helen was the impetus behind the Trojan war - except far better, because Herring was master of her own fate; she believed in arming the Afghans, and made it happen.

She's not only smart but also beautiful, caring, and able to pass along some of her values and tactics. She's savvy enough to have written her memoir with a co-writer, probably part of why it's so well done. Diplomacy and Diamonds and Herring are both winners - this reader was left thinking how great it would be to be counted among her friends and fantasizing about living her life - despite disagreeing with much of what she did politically (I disagree with arming the Afghan rebels back during the 1980s) and knowing that my values wouldn't play with either the high society or the Texas oil Republicans she hobnobs with. That hasn't taken away one whit from my enjoying this book. Her story is worth reading.

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12/21/2011 page 136
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