Books: Far from Foggy Bottom

AMBASSADOR'S JOURNAL by John Kenneth Galbraith. 656 pages. Houghfon M/ffl/n. $10.

One of the inalienable rights of ex-Presidents, ex-generals and ex-ambassadors—and their ex-secretaries, ex-Jeep drivers and ex-valets—is the privilege of making public their diaries. The result, customarily, is to confront the reader with a literary chore roughly comparable to watching a three-hour slide show of his mother-in-law's latest trip through Navajo country.

What makes all the difference in this book is Galbraith. The sometime Harvard economist (The Affluent Society), novelist (The Triumph) and dancing partner of Jacqueline Kennedy is that rarity among diarists,...

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