Jonathan S. Addleton – A Man for All Regions
Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Afghanistan.
Most people would be hard pressed to identify these countries on an atlas, much less name their capitals, or describe their lands—except for the narrow slice of a landscape they might have glimpsed from Hollywood or the occasional news broadcast on the war in Afghanistan. But these countries, their land, their people, their customs and their values are very familiar territory to Jonathan Addleton.
He was born in Pakistan, the son of Baptist missionaries, and spent much of his early life in the area before returning to the US to attend college. He received his bachelor’s in journalism from Northwestern and an MA and PhD from Tufts in the field of law and diplomacy. His background and education led to a career in the foreign service, and it was the foreign service and later the State Department that took him to a series of international assignments, including Jordan, South Africa, Yemen, Cambodia, and India. He served as Ambassador to Mongolia from 2009 to 2012, Senior Civilian Representative for the State Department to southern Afghanistan from 2012 to 2013, and Mission Director to India for the US Agency for International Development in 2015.
Jonathan claims he retired in 2017, though his life today is as busy as ever. He is the Adjunct Professor of Global and International Affairs at Mercer University and travels almost as much as he did before retiring.
But it is his role as author that brings Jonathan to this blog this day.
Jonathan is the author of four books, a memoir of his childhood in Pakistan (Some Far and Distant Place), two books that address international affairs and diplomacy (Undermining the Centre: The Gulf Migration and Pakistan and Mongolia and the United States: A Diplomatic History) and, most recently, The Dust of Kandahar: A Diplomat Among Warriors in Afghanistan.
There is much to be learned from any of Jonathan’s books, although The Dust of Kandahar is probably the most relevant to American readers for insight into our country’s longest war and just what goes on in our diplomatic posts.
The book recounts Jonathan’s experiences in southern Afghanistan with text taken from his daily journals for the year August 2012 to August 2013. While much of the entries describe routine (and seemingly endless meetings and briefings with generals, visiting congressional aides, Afghani politicians and tribal leaders), sadly and poignantly the “ramp ceremonies” occur far too frequently in Addleton’s accounting. These are the ceremonies that honor the day’s or week’s sacrifices and send America’s fallen soldiers home.
There are vivid and touching vignettes of the Afghanistan that once was and a moving description of a tragic loss of close friends and a near-death experience that lingers well after the book ends.
Readers cannot but come away with great respect for all those who serve under similar difficulties and thankful to know there are people who are willing—even compelled—to take on these duties in our stead.
Jonathan’s books are available locally and wherever books are sold. He is also a frequent speaker, and you won’t have to travel to Mongolia or India to hear him speak. Jonathan also knows Georgia, where he lives today when not traveling with his wife Fiona or visiting one of his children who follow in his footsteps, in diplomacy, development, and in defense of our country.
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Golden Bough Bookstore. Macon Georgia
Golden Bough Bookstore is an independently owned bookstore located in downtown Macon, Georgia since 1989. The store carries a broad general stock of used and new books on a variety of subjects with emphasis on local and regional history and authors, literary fiction and scholarly history.
Visit them in Macon at: 371 Cotton Ave., Macon, GA 31201
or on their Facebook page:
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Internom Bookstore, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
And just for fun we’re going to take a trip to the other side of the globe and visit Internom, a bookstore in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia where, if we’re lucky we’ll run into Jonathan Addleton between the stacks.
Think yurts or gers, yaks, and steppes? How about gleaming marble and glass in the Shangri-La mall and you just might stumble on the newest branch of the Intercom bookstore. It’s part of the largest bookstore in Mongolia. Established in 2000, Internom offers a rich selection of magazines, DVDs, office stationeries and of course an abundant collection of books.
I’ll challenge you to be the next Georgian to attend one of Internom’s hosted book openings and public discussions. Send me proof of your visit and I’ll send you a free book.
Check Internom out at their Facebook page:
or visit them at: Amar’s street-4, Sukhbaatar district, Ulaanbaatar 14200, Mongolia