Books: Chances Of A Lifetime

By Warren Christopher

The memoirs of diplomats can tend toward the turgid, but Christopher has managed to be colorful and concise as he trots through the tales of 40 years in public service ranging from Deputy Attorney General under Lyndon Johnson to Secretary of State under Bill Clinton. What makes the book engaging is the diversity of material--from the race riots in Watts to the war in the Balkans--and the deft sketches of the characters he meets along the way. Though lacking in Dean Acheson's wicked wit or Henry Kissinger's grand concepts, Christopher's earnest approach has its charms.

--By Walter Isaacson

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