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Mission Italy

On the Front Lines of the Cold War

Richard N. Gardner - Foreword by Zbigniew Brzezinski

This compelling memoir of Richard N. Gardner's years as ambassador to Italy from 1977 to 1981 offers fascinating insights into the foreign policy of the Carter administration as well as into a critical turning point in Italy's history. This turbulent period was marked by the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro, the failed attempt of the Italian Communist Party to take power, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the seizure of American hostages in Tehran. It was also the time of Italy's historic decision to deploy U.S. cruise missiles, which Mikhail Gorbachev identified as a decisive factor in his decision to shift Soviet foreign policy toward genuine disarmament and peaceful cooperation based on the free choice of political systems.

Drawing on hitherto classified material, Gardner shows how wise diplomacy under president Jimmy Carter's leadership played a part in the defeat of communism in Italy and in the eventual collapse of the Soviet empire. His riveting diplomatic narrative is filled with fascinating portraits of American and Italian leaders as well as revealing details of policy differences inside the Carter Administration and between Washington and Gardner's Rome Embassy. The result is a major contribution to our understanding of crisis diplomacy and of the victory of the Western alliance in the Cold War. Balanced, scrupulous, and compelling, Gardner's memoir will be invaluable reading for all those interested in the inner workings of U.S. foreign policy, diplomacy, and European politics.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 320Size: 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
978-0-7425-3998-3 • Hardback • August 2005 • $44.00 • (£29.95)
Richard N. Gardner is professor of law and international organization at Columbia Law School and counsel to the global law firm of Morgan Lewis. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Italy from 1977 to 1981 and as U.S. Ambassador to Spain from 1993 to 1997.
Chapter 1 The Road to Rome
Chapter 2 Shaping a Policy
Chapter 3 A Difficult Beginning
Chapter 4 Andreotti Goes to Washington
Chapter 5 On a Slippery Slope
Chapter 6 The Moment of Truth
Chapter 7 The Moro Tragedy
Chapter 8 The Turning Point
Chapter 9 The Missile Debate
Chapter 10 Crisis Diplomacy with Mixed Results
Chapter 11 The Final Months
Richard Gardner's book about his time as ambassador to Italy during my administration is a dramatic, accurate account of one of the most difficult and successful diplomatic missions in the history of the Cold War.
former president Jimmy Carter

An exemplary and fascinating story not only of an American intellectual and scholar in Italy, but also of one of the most complex periods in the political life of our country and of Europe.
Francesco Cossiga, former Italian president and prime minister

Richard Gardner's account of those years, nourished by his personal records and by previously unpublished documents, helps us to better understand the greatness and smallness of Italian leaders of those times and the role played by the United States on the delicate boundary between an unavoidable active interest and an interference it wished to avoid. Portraits and analyses are presented with great effectiveness.
Giuliano Amato, former Italian prime minister

Richard Gardner's memoir of a crucial time in U.S. relations with Italy is both an enthralling story and a significant contribution to the history of the Cold War.
Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Pulitzer-prize winning historian

I feel I have traveled at Gardner's side through a stirring period of history. That he is able to assemble such detailed recollections has my special admiration and, take my word for it, there is no account of American diplomacy like his.
Henry Graff, professor emeritus of history, Columbia University

This is an engaging and highly readable book which throws light upon U.S. foreign policy during the Carter administration.
Political Studies Review

This is a fascinating book that says a lot about American diplomacy and attitudes towards Italian politics.
2007; Journal Of Contemporary European Studies

Mission Italy is a scrupulously honest and thoroughly documented narrative of a critical episode in the history of the Cold War. Rich in anecdotes and revealing details, it can serve as a guidebook for students of diplomacy and aspiring diplomats.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Johns Hopkins University and Center for Strategic and International Studies; former National Security Advisor to President Carter

A much-needed addition to the catalogue of scholarly work on the foreign policy of president Jimmy Carter.
Douglas Brinkley, president of the Theodore Roosevelt Center, Tulane University.

To understand Italian politics fully in that crucial period of Italian history it is indispensable to read . . . Ambassador Gardner's critically important memoir.
Irwin Wall; Relations Internationales

Gardner had the true diplomatic ability to say even unpalatable things in a polite fashion. If he disappointed many hopes, he left Italian-American relations in a much healthier state than he found them, and that is no small praise for an ambassador.
Adrian Lyttleton; The New York Review Of Books

[Gardner's] latest book proves him an able historian as well as an accomplished diplomat. . . . [I feel] gratitude that so important an epoch in American and European history has been recorded so authoritatively and so interestingly. . . . A book worth reading and worth remembering.
New York Law Journal

An excellent guide for teaching the practice of diplomacy and a most valuable source book on international relations during the Cold War. Rare is the book that combines instruction with real experience and presents both in such a readable format.
Ralph Buultjens, New York University