These fascinating vignettes show Foreign Service personnel in action, heading off problems with other nations, reconciling differences, negotiating workable agreements, defusing conflicts, and generally steering Americans out of harm's way while at the same time coping with the myriad unexpected yet often deeply fulfilling aspects of overseas living.
In one vignette, Gene describes his rescue of a wayward young traveler from the clutches of an over-eager police officer who (wrongly) believes he has captured the fugitive Patty Hearst. In another, he recalls the grotesque difficulty of recovering and shipping home the mortal remains of an American sea captain whose life ended in a steamy tropical port with limited refrigeration facilities. Kathryn highlights the challenges of maintaining an American-style home life in a constantly changing, sometimes hostile environment. But her essays point up opportunities as well
as difficulties: When a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier makes a port call, she takes advantage of the chance to show the children a glorious example of American technology.