How to Become an Ambassador

An American Foreign Service Odyssey

Non-Fiction - Inspirational
212 Pages
Reviewed on 07/06/2020
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Author Biography

Ambassador Thomas Armbruster, a Foreign Service Officer from 1988 until 2016, was sworn in as Ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands in August 2012 and served as Chief of Mission until May 2016. Ambassador Armbruster’s overseas postings include Russia, Tajikistan, Mexico, Cuba and Finland. Domestic assignments included Diplomat in Residence at City College in New York City and Polar Affairs Officer in Washington, D.C.

Armbruster was the chief U.S. Negotiator for an emergency response treaty with Russia and led trade and counter-narcotics missions to Afghanistan. Since leaving the Foreign Service, Armbruster has worked as an international consultant and leading teams in the State Department’s Inspector General’s Office.

Ambassador Armbruster is the only American diplomat to arrive in the Soviet Union by kayak. He is a private pilot and scuba diver. Armbruster is the recipient of career achievement, meritorious and superior honor awards from the State Department and a Presidential award of honor from President Hilda Heine of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Armbruster was a journalist with KGMB-TV in Honolulu, Maryland Public Television, and Hawaii Public Radio.

Armbruster has Masters Degrees from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and the Naval War College in Newport. He is fluent in Spanish and Russian. Armbruster was born in El Paso, Texas and lives in San Antonio with his wife Kathy and dog Skipjack. Tom and Kathy have two children, Bryan and Kalia, who grew up in the Foreign Service.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

How to Become an Ambassador: An American Foreign Service Odyssey is a work of non-fiction written in the true-life story and inspirational sub-genres, and was penned by author Thomas Hart Armbruster. This fascinating account offers advice for those who may be intrigued about working in the American Foreign Service and debunks many myths about it all being glamourous receptions and fabulous vistas. As Thomas explains the ups and downs of living 20 years abroad and serving his country through various leadership positions, we learn what it really takes to work in such changeable conditions and the toll it has on his own life as well as his family’s along the way.

Author Thomas Hart Armbruster opens the door into a lesser-known world of foreign diplomatic and political work, showcasing a wide variety of incredible life experiences in this inspirational memoir-style tale. The organization of the work is really helpful to curious readers as it keeps us focused and on-topic in Thomas’s working life, and always leaves room for further explanation. The narrative style showcases the author’s voice, allowing personal touches in style and dialogue to come through as Thomas recounts specific adventures, but again there is a nice balance struck with factual, more formal sections as he gives advice to those perhaps thinking of the career themselves. What results is an accomplished account that brings entertainment, but also truth and inspiration in one fantastic package. Overall, I would recommend How to Become an Ambassador: An American Foreign Service Odyssey to all readers interested in this amazing line of work.