I originally purchased this book based on the heavy favorable exposure it received in the Foreign Service Journal and from AFSA (the American Foreign Service Association). The reviews and discussions centered around some of the author's basic premises for "guerrilla diplomacy" and the need for a transformed version of diplomacy to return to center stage in world affairs. Specifically, it promotes the idea of a diplomat as being able to (and indeed being required to) "move among the people" and obtain different points of view, information beyond the headlines, etc. Public Diplomacy (i.e. public outreach activities) in the author's view is what future diplomacy should be centered around, with Guerrilla Diplomacy a subset of it.
Given this initial premise (and the non-ideological book jacket quotes) it all sounds quite fascinating, or at least thought-provoking. The first part of the book then comes as something of a rude shock, as after an intriguing but somewhat vague introduction to the concepts of Guerrilla Diplomacy, the entire first half of the book is then given over to a retread of Cold War and 1990s "globalization" history, essentially from the point of view of dependency theory (a somewhat more sophisticated and modern Marxist-related ideology, for those not aware of it). Not exactly breaking new ground here, plus it is tiresome to slog through neverending blame of the United States for all the ills of the Cold War and "globalization" (which the author uses in its negative, exploitative sense rather than a neutral, factual one). Nary a mention of gulags, Prague Spring, or Tiananmen Square, but lots about Vietnam, the "missile gap", exploitative corporations, and other lowlights in U.S. foreign affairs history, some of which are cited in questionable or at best misleading ways. The relentless anti-U.S. stance and lack of any sort of balance or context renders the majority of pages of this book, unfortunately, little better than an ideological diatribe (or at best simply a rehash of popular anti-U.S. ideology).
It's a shame, because there are some nuggets of practical interest. When the author describes actual incidents and gives a bit of analysis, as in describing the "Turbot War" between Canada and Spain over fisheries, or in reviewing some of the "branding" attempts that have been made for countries in public diplomacy, it's useful and food for thought. I particularly enjoyed the Canadian examples, with which the author is most familiar, as a former Canadian diplomat. The second half of the book is better in that regard, since at least it isn't completely backwards-looking. That said, for something that was intended to be revolutionary and forward-looking, it hasn't aged all that well (already) and would have been better set in 2006 as an anti-neocon tract (when the author started the book). Some of the groundbreaking things that are described for guerrilla diplomacy - such as doing more work which falls into the category of human intelligence and building networks of disparate contacts - also sound remarkably like what savvy, motivated political officer types have always done in the more difficult places of the world.
In short, some wheat amongst the chaff, but not enough in the end to make it worth having to swallow all the chaff in the process.