Books: Ghost Dad

AS I SAW IT by Dean Rusk, as told to Richard Rusk

Norton; 672 pages; $29.95

As the public face of U.S. diplomacy in the Vietnam era, dour, obdurate Dean Rusk never apologized, rarely explained and, after leaving office in 1969, even declined to write his memoirs. Alienated by that flintiness -- and by the war -- Rusk's son Richard fled home in 1970 for a succession of dead-end jobs in Alaska. He returned 14 years later with a tape recorder and a determination to make his father talk. The result is an affecting mix of diplomatic memory and filial rediscovery.