Journey to Ithaka: Memoirs of an American Diplomat
Paperback, 234 Pages
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Dave Grimland journeys from his roots in Texas to his final home in Montana via stops in Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Bangladesh, and India—like Odysseus traveling home to Ithaka. As a member of the American diplomatic service, he had the rare opportunity to learn about other cultures and religions in a series of exciting and occasionally dangerous adventures. Take a deeper look into other cultures, and gain new perspectives on old, vexing problems with a Journey to Ithaka. “In a series of highly readable vignettes, career diplomat David Grimland shares personal experiences from his many years abroad. These entertaining, sometimes suspenseful accounts clearly reflect Grimland’s intelligence, wit, and sensitivity to the cultural differences he encountered in foreign lands. A delightful book. I loved it!” —George Bass, distinguished professor emeritus at Texas A&M University; founder and chairman emeritus of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology
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Jun 19, 2016Dave Grimland is a story teller par excellence, and these are stories of his experience in the U.S. Foreign Service, representing the United States in Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Bangladesh and India. The title, Journey to Ithaca, is taken from a nineteenth century Greek poem reflecting on the importance of the journey, and the experiences of the journey, no matter what the goal. “Hope your road is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery.” This is not a book about representing the United States in the Cold War with the Soviet Union, or the Pakistan-India conflict, or the Iraq-Iran War, though those things touched on Grimland’s experiences. This is a book about adventures and discoveries while representing the United States in volatile areas of the Mediterranean and South Asia. Grimland presents fascinating character sketches of some of the people he met and worked with. In Athens, he met with Otto, a Nazi soldier who had been wounded on the Eastern Front but nursed back to health... More > by Russian peasants, then completed seminary in the United States, becoming a specialist on early Christianity. Otto served as tour guide for a trip to Greek monasteries, and for a trip to the Holy Land. In Bangladesh, Grimland met Father Charlie, a Roman Catholic priest and missionary, who gave Grimland the opportunity to visit a rural village, its church and its school. Grimland has an eye for detail, an excellent memory, and the ability to paint word pictures which provide interesting reading. His journey continues even today, and his last chapter tells of his experiences as a Humanities lecturer, teaching about the Moslem religion at the time of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. This is a delightful book, which kindles both fond and disturbing recollections of the times we lived through.< Less
May 30, 2016Once I started Journey to Ithaka, I didn't put it down until I had read all 25 of Dave Grimland's colorful, well-told vignettes from his career as an American diplomat. Brimming with humor, perceptiveness, and poignancy, the book provides often personal snapshots of the author's journey of discovery, adventure, and service. A keen observer of other cultures, Grimland provides the reader a fascinating glimpse of people and places in the countries where he represented the United States. While this highly readable book would be of interest to many past, present, and aspiring practitioners of foreign affairs, Journey to Ithaka will also resonate with a much broader audience. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Dec 16, 2015Journey to Ithaka Redefines "Cultural Empathy." In a series of real life anecdotes wrapped by wit and vision, "Journey to Ithaka" offers unique cultural experience as much as a virtual travel to its readers. Covering a wide range of cities in the Mediterranean and South Asia geography, this book is certainly an easy-read to learn about social and political history of different countries through the lenses of an American diplomat. Last but certainly not the least, "Journey to Ithaka" retains a good deal of genuine and contentful foreign policy hints. Thus it deserves to be an informal guide for foreign service professionals particularly on the issue of cultural empathy. Along with some other intellectual qualities, Dave Grimland's memoirs redefine the boundaries of cultural empathy by showing us that it is indeed possible to participate in foreign culture with all potential aspects without losing one's own perspective.
Nov 22, 2015Dave Grimland's memoir of his 23 years as a foreign service officer in five different countries includes hair raising tales of danger and death, not to mention encounters with bloodsuckers and camels, bureaucrats at home and abroad, and other hazards he learned to deal with in his career. Some of these he describes in a matter of fact tone, neither boasting nor judgmental, and others are recounted with humor and empathy and with what one might call diplomacy. As public information officer, Grimland had to try to explain the United States to the host country and help American visitors understand a culture that was foreign to them. Reading this book, I'd say he was pretty good at it and those of us who haven't been to Greece or Turkey or Cyprus, or haven't set foot in Bangladesh or India, can begin to understand the people who live there through the author's stories of the exotic places he was stationed. The title of the book comes from a poem by a 19th Century Greek poet whose message... More > was that it's the journey that's important, not the goal, and that the lessons we learn through our discoveries along the way are what really matter. In sharing what he learned, Grimland has written an entertaining and instructive book.< Less
Nov 15, 2015I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a collection of short, well-written stories that flow so smoothly and are varied and extremely interesting. The reader learns something about a part of the world that they may not learn anywhere else from someone who has been there. I highly recommend it.
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- David D. Grimland (Standard Copyright License)
- July 29, 2015
- Perfect-bound Paperback
- Interior Ink
- Black & white
- 0.9 lbs.
- Dimensions (inches)
- 6 wide x 9 tall
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