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"Reaching for the Heights: The Inside Story of a Secret Attempt to Reach a Syrian-Israeli Peace" by Frederic Hof

Book cover for "Reaching for the Heights"
USIP Press
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Frederic C. Hof was the chief architect and mediator of the 2009–11 US initiative to broker peace between Israel and Syria. This mission was the culmination of Hof’s nearly three decades of public service, which began as a US Army officer in Vietnam and continued at the State Department. After a period in the private sector, he returned to the State Department, where, in 2012, he was awarded the rank of ambassador by President Obama. In 2018, after five years at the Atlantic Council, Hof was named the inaugural Diplomat-in-Residence at Bard College in upstate New York, where he resides with his wife, Brenda. Hof is the recipient of the Purple Heart and numerous other awards from the Department of Defense and the State Department.

This important and eye-opening book is an insider’s account of secret negotiations to broker a Syria-Israel peace deal―negotiations that came tantalizingly close to success. Ambassador Frederic Hof, who spearheaded the US-mediated discussions in 2009-11, takes readers behind the scenes in Washington, Damascus, and Jerusalem, where President Assad and Prime Minister Netanyahu inched toward a deal to return Israeli-occupied areas of the Golan Heights in exchange for Syria severing military ties with Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas. Hof’s candid assessments, refreshing self-criticism, compelling prose, and rich historical detail make this a masterful memoir of an unknown chapter in American diplomacy.

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Joe talks to people on the radio for a living. In addition to countless impressive human "gets" - he has talked to a lot of Muppets. Joe grew up in Philadelphia, has been on the area airwaves for more than 25 years and currently lives in Washington County, NY with his wife, Kelly, and their dog, Brady. And yes, he reads every single book.