OUTPOST: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy: A Memoir By Christopher R. Hill, Published by Simon & Schuster

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A diplomatic career spent under fire—sometimes literally—is recounted with energy and humor in this lively memoir… Written in graceful, witty prose and studded with insights into many international crises, Hill’s narrative critiques American diplomacy even as he defends its importance.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)


Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy:

A Memoir

A parade of famous names—presidents, secretaries of state, vice presidents, foreign heads of state, senators, generals—marches through these pages, and readers will delight at some of the shots fired and bouquets thrown at powerful personages who’ve been responsible for our foreign policy for the past 40 years. . . . A must for anyone contemplating a Foreign Service career and for general readers looking for insight into diplomacy conducted at the highest levels.” Kirkus Reviews

Engaging…An enlightening look at the hard work of diplomacy through the lens of one man’s career.”


Christopher Hill was one of our best diplomats, taking on our biggest challenges from Kosovo to North Korea to Iraq in a 30 year career. In Outpost, Hill gives us unique insight into these assignments. In addition, he describes the remarkable dedication of his fellow Foreign Service officers. They represent the United States every day, under conditions that are rarely glamorous, and often cold, dusty, exhausting and downright dangerous. They deserve a book this good, written by a man who loves his country, and his work. A good read.” Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State

This is how diplomacy really works. It involves danger, hard choices, and colorful personalities playing high-stakes games. Christopher Hill is a master at both negotiations and storytelling. His book is an indispensable guide for a complex world and a fascinating behind-the-scenes adventure tale.”— Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs

A wry, wise glimpse into the engrossing, exasperating, whipsawed, but sometimes-triumphant, even ennobling life of an American diplomat in these messy times.” —Fred Kaplan, author of The Insurgents

A dazzling, action-packed, suspenseful, often witty memoir of a career on the front lines of diplomacy, full of behind-the-scenes insights into the drama of world events from an Oscar-worthy supporting actor.”— Strobe Talbott, president of The Brookings Institution

Hill is one of our most accomplished diplomats. In Outpost, he grippingly renders a candid and insightful insider’s account of the most significant U.S. diplomatic and political-military efforts of the past two decades.”— General George Casey, former Army Chief of Staff

From Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon to U.S. Ambassador in Iraq, Christopher R. Hill has worked in some of the most dangerous hotspots of the past few decades. In his new book OUTPOST: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster; October 7, 2014; $30.00), he brings readers inside the rooms (and cars, and planes, and deserted roadsides and late-night phone calls) where modern history has been made.

Hill’s story is a vivid, insightful account of 33 years with the Foreign Service, and a witty, often wry take on life in the Foreign Service—from his childhood in Belgrade and Haiti, where his father was a diplomat, to the Peace Corps, working with credit unions in Cameroon, and after that, to his life in the State Department. Over his distinguished career, Hill served as Ambassador to Macedonia (1996-99), Poland (2000-04), South Korea (2004-05), and Iraq (2009-10), as well as being the Special Envoy to Kosovo 1998-99. He also served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (2005 -09), which included representing the U.S. in 2007 during the six-party talks that attempted to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis.

Hill’s perspective is crisp and no-nonsense, pulling no punches but not out to settle scores. Instead, it’s a tour of the people, places and events that have been so crucial to world events in recent history. Stories from the book include:

  • Working with Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton
  • Hill’s mentorship under legendary diplomats Lawrence Eagleburger and Richard Holbrooke
  • The tragic deaths of his colleagues in a car accident near Sarajevo during the war in Bosnia
  • The attack on the embassy at Skopje in Macedonia on the first day of the Kosovo War, when his staff stayed in a safe room as demonstrators attempted to break in using a flagpole as a battering ram
  • Hill’s trip to Pyongyang in 2007, part of a long process of attempting to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis
  • His time in Iraq, which included creating election law for the 2010 elections

Throughout OUTPOST, readers get a sense of what it was like to be in some of the world’s most dangerous areas, attempting to negotiate under the highest pressure. Hill also reflects on the bureaucratic warfare in D.C., attacks on him by neoconservatives when he was chief U.S. negotiator with North Korea, and the drawbacks of over-aggressive policy. Hill argues that America’s own discourse on foreign policy needs to be more than a brawl, given the practical realities of a difficult global structure. He stresses the importance of talking to all sides, how the world still looks to the United States to lead by example, and how the State Department and the Pentagon need to respect each other and learn from each other.

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly praises how “Hill’s narrative critiques American diplomacy even as he defends its importance.” OUTPOST is a must-read for those interested in the high-stakes adventures in the world of diplomacy.

About the Author

CHRISTOPHER R. HILL is currently the Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and a monthly columnist for the online journal Project Syndicate. He was a career diplomat, a four-time ambassador, nominated by three presidents, who served as Ambassador to Iraq, the Republic of Korea, Poland, and the Republic of Macedonia and as President Bush’s assistant secretary to East Asia. Hill has received many State Department awards including the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award and the Robert S. Frasure Award for Peace Negotiations.

About the Book

OUTPOST: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy: A Memoir

By Christopher R. Hill

Published by Simon & Schuster | Publication Date: October 7, 2014 | Price: $30.00

ISBN-13: 9781451685916 | E-book ISBN-13: 9781451685954


Ambassador Christopher Robert Hill is the Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at The University of Denver, a position he has held since September 2010. In addition to overseeing the Josef Korbel School, Ambassador Hill is author of the forthcoming Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy: A Memoir, a monthly columnist for Project Syndicate, and a highly sought public speaker and voice in the media on international affairs

Ambassador Hill is a former career diplomat, a four-time ambassador, nominated by three presidents, whose last post was as Ambassador to Iraq, April 2009 until August 2010. Prior to Iraq, Hill served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2005 until 2009 during which he was also the head of the US delegation to the Six Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. Earlier, He was the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Previously he served as U.S. Ambassador to Poland (2000-2004), Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia (1996-1999) and Special Envoy to Kosovo (1998-1999).  He also served as a Special Assistant to the President and a Senior Director on the staff of the National Security Council, 1999-2000.

Earlier in his Foreign Service career, Ambassador Hill served tours in Belgrade, Warsaw, Seoul, and Tirana, and on the Department of State’s Policy Planning staff and in the Department’s Operation Center.  While on a fellowship with the American Political Science Association he served as a staff member for Congressman Stephen Solarz working on Eastern European issues.  He also served as the Department of State’s Senior Country Officer for Poland.  Ambassador Hill received the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award for his contributions as a member of the U.S. negotiating team in the Bosnia peace settlement, and was a recipient of the Robert S. Frasure Award for Peace Negotiations for his work on the Kosovo crisis.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Hill served as a Peace Corps volunteer where he supervised credit unions in rural Cameroon, West Africa.

Ambassador Hill graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine with a B.A. in Economics.  He received a Master’s degree from the Naval War College in 1994.  He speaks Polish, Serbo-Croatian, and Macedonian.

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