Derek Chollet: Holbrooke: A Historian at Heart

Roundup: Media's Take

[Derek Chollet is principal deputy director of the State Department's Policy Planning staff.]

Richard Holbrooke will always be remembered as his generation's premier diplomat and statesman -- a doer. But he also was a person who had a keen sense of the past and the role memory plays in defining today's world -- he was a historian at heart.

Holbrooke loved history. He loved books and arguments, stories and sweeping narratives. In that sense he shares so much with the historian-diplomat he deeply admired, George Kennan. Holbrooke had little tolerance for the instant policy books that dominate Washington's bookshelves (he described them as "glorified Foreign Affairs articles") and always pushed people to write history; something, he would say, that would last....

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