Ambassador’s Journal — A Personal Account of the Kennedy Years by J. K. Galbraith

Published by Hamish Hamilton, 1969, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.

Condition: Good in Poor Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with poorly thought brown-tape reinforcements to the spine ends and corners. Price Clipped. Edges of the text block lightly spotted. Text complete, clean and tight.

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2nd Impression. [First Edition: Same Year] Illustrated with black and white photographs. From the cover: A few days after his election in 1960, President Kennedy called Professor Galbraith to tell him he was to be his Ambassador to India. As he relates here, Professor Galbraith decided that it would be an interesting time and resolved to keep a journal. So he did and this is it. Never before has there been such an expert account of exactly what an American ambassador does.

His diary will be counted, we think, as one of the most important, certainly one of the most readable and by all odds the most relaxed of the books on the Kennedy years.

President Kennedy also asked Professor Galbraith to write to him occasionally about his activities and his views on current issues. The Ambassador happily obliged and so pleased was the President by these communications that, shortly before his death, he proposed they be publishedthen. They tell, among other things, of Ambassador Galbraiths early and relentless struggle against Americas Vietnam involvement an opposition, he has since said, that greatly jeopardized my reputation with all the experienced statesmen who saw the intrinsic merit of this adventure. On numerous other matters, he was at odds with the established wisdom of the State Department and Pentagon.

Most of the great figures of the sixties pass through these pages. The author is unsparing on those officials who preferred official comfort to the perils of leadership. But he is warmly sympathetic on the problems and struggles of the Indian people. And the Journal tells in awe-inspiring detail of the duties that the Galbraiths packed into every day travel, talks with villagers, official negotiations without end and the equally endless flow of visitors from home. One visitor was Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy who, having read the Ambassadors accounts, decided to come and see for herself. Her sojourn is here described in amusing detail.

Here also is the story of the China-India border war in 1962. Washington was preoccupied with the Cuban missile crisis so American policy to an extent rare in modern times was left to the Ambassador. Professor Galbraith does not seem to have regretted the responsibility.

Early in the seventeenth century, a French physician, Francois Bernier, through a series of misadventures, found himself in India at the court of Shah Jahan, known to Europe as the Great Moghul. He kept a full account of what he saw and thus established a precedent for other visitors, official and otherwise, to this marvellous country for the next 350 years. President Kennedys ambassador to India (and to Jawaharlal Nehru) is in this great reportorial tradition.

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