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Lessons from the edge : a memoir

Call Number

  • 921 Y839 (CEN, EAS, OSH, WSQ)

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First edition.

Publication Information

Boston : Mariner Books, [2022]

Physical Description

xxii, 394 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), map ; 24 cm.


An inspiring and urgent memoir by the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Marie Yovanovitch was at the height of her diplomatic career when it all came crashing down. In the middle of her third ambassadorship -- a rarity in the world of diplomacy -- she was targeted by a smear campaign and abruptly recalled from her post in Kyiv, Ukraine. In the months that followed, she endured personal tragedy while simultaneously being pulled into the blinding lights of the first impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump. It was a time of chaos and pain, for her and for the nation. Yet Yovanovitch was no stranger to instability and injustice. Born into a family that had survived Soviet and Nazi terror, she first saw the corrosive effect of corruption in Somalia while cutting her teeth as a diplomat in the male-dominated world of the 1980s State Department. She was an eyewitness to the 1993 constitutional crisis in Russia and the street fighting in Moscow. And she rose to the top of her profession in the crucible of the former USSR, where she saw how President Vladimir Putin adeptly exploited corrupt leaders in neighboring countries and undermined their developing democracies. Nowhere was Putin's aggression clearer than in Ukraine, where Russia meddled in elections, launched cyberattacks, peddled misinformation, illegally annexed Crimea, invaded the Donbas, and attacked Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea. But when Yovanovitch was abruptly recalled from her post and Ukraine's democratically elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, found himself set upon by Trump, it became clear just how dangerously close to the edge America itself had strayed. Through it all, Yovanovitch tirelessly advocated for the Ukrainian people, while advancing U.S. interests and staying true to herself. When she made the courageous decision to participate in the impeachment inquiry -- over the objections of the Trump administration -- she earned the nation's respect, and her dignified response to the president's attacks won our hearts. She has reclaimed her own narrative, first with her lauded congressional testimony, and now with this powerful memoir: the dramatic saga of one woman's role at the vanguard of American foreign policy during a time of upheaval, for herself and for our country.


Includes index.


  • Prologue: "Pledge to serve"
  • Part I: Travelers (1921-1986). Origins ; Into the foreign service
  • Part II: Postings (1986-2016). Somalia ; The United Kingdom and the United States ; Russia ; Ukraine ; Kyrgyzstan ; Armenia
  • Part III: Homecoming (2016-2020). Return to Kyiv ; The transition ; Diplomacy 101 ; Warning signs ; Cut loose ; "I love Ukraine" ; Survival ; "The moment to decide" ; Three-dimensional chess ; No more tears ; "The best America has to offer"
  • Epilogue: Keep faith.

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