Cover to Cover

Featuring Amb. William J. Burns on March 21, 2019

2:00-2:30 pm ET

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Ambassador William J. Burns

The Back Channel

Over the course of more than three decades as an American diplomat, William J. Burns played a central role in the most consequential diplomatic episodes of his time—from the bloodless end of the Cold War to the collapse of post–Cold War relations with Putin’s Russia, from post–9/11 tumult in the Middle East to the secret nuclear talks with Iran.


In The Back Channel, Burns recounts, with novelistic detail and incisive analysis, some of the seminal moments of his career. Drawing on a trove of newly declassified cables and memos, he gives readers a rare inside look at American diplomacy in action. His dispatches from war-torn Chechnya and Qaddafi’s bizarre camp in the Libyan desert and his warnings of the “Perfect Storm” that would be unleashed by the Iraq War will reshape our understanding of history—and inform the policy debates of the future. Burns sketches the contours of effective American leadership in a world that resembles neither the zero-sum Cold War contest of his early years as a diplomat nor the “unipolar moment” of American primacy that followed.

Ultimately, The Back Channel is an eloquent, deeply informed, and timely story of a life spent in service of American interests abroad. It is also a powerful reminder, in a time of great turmoil, of the enduring importance of diplomacy.

Join our Cover to Cover conference call with Burns Thursday, March 21, at 2:00-2:30 pm ET.

Back to Cover to Cover

Register for this Call Event

Fill in the below form:

Contact Us

1200 18th Street, NW, Suite 902
Washington, DC 20036
Phone 202-833-4557 | Email

Stay Informed

Subscribe to the weekly email newsletter to receive updates on the issues that matter most.

© 2019 World Affairs Councils of America