This book recounts my experiences as a career office of the American Foreign Service, as ambassador to Somalia in 1984-86 and during the years before I went to Africa .What follows does not claim to be the account of a lifelong expert on Africa, but simply an objective account by a man who came to love Somalia but not its dictatorial president; who studied carefully both that country's long and fascinating past and its appalling present problems; who did what he thought right for both American interests and for Somalia, sometimes on instructions from Washington and sometimes without them.--from the Introduction. Peter S. Bridges-s service as an American ambassador to Somalia capped his three decades as a career officer in the American Foreign Service. Safirka, a frank description of his experiences in Somalia and elsewhere, offers pointed assessments of American foreign policy and policymakers. Bridges recounts his service in Panama during a time of turmoil over the Canal; in Moscow during the Cuban missile crisis; in Prague for bleak years after the Soviet invasion; in Rome when Italian terrorists first began to target Americans; and in key positions in three Washington agencies. In Somalia Bridges managed the largest American aid program in sub-Sahara Africa. He dealt with a postcolonial regime, hobbled both by traditional clan rivalries and by a leader who cared far less about Somalia's people and progress than about maintaining his control over that poverty-stricken, strategic--which soon erupted in civil war.