PROTOCOL, by Marshall NOTE: Meeting Online

Public Affairs
Monday, August 23, 7:00 pm

Public Affairs Book Group meets the 4th Monday each month at 7 p.m. The book group is now meeting online--for details please contact

Protocol: The Power of Diplomacy and How to Make it Work for you. By Capricia Penavic Marshall Cover Image

Protocol: The Power of Diplomacy and How to Make it Work for you. (Paperback)


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President Obama’s former United States chief of protocol looks at why diplomacy and etiquette matter—from the international stage to everyday life.

History often appears to consist of big gestures and dramatic shifts. But for every peace treaty signed, someone set the stage, using hidden influence to effect the outcome. In her roles as chief of protocol for President Barack Obama and social secretary to President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton, Capricia Penavic Marshall not only bore witness to history, she facilitated it. From arranging a room to have an intended impact on the participants to knowing which cultural gestures earned trust, her behind-the scenes preparations laid the groundwork for successful diplomacy between heads of state around the world and tilted the playing field in her team's favor.

If there's one thing that working at the highest levels of government for over two decades has taught Marshall, it's that there is power in detail and nuance—the micro-moves that affect the macro-shifts. When seemingly minor aspects of an engagement go missing or awry—a botched greeting or even a poorly chosen menu—it alters the emotions and tenor of an exchange, setting up obstacles rather than paving a way forward. In some cases, an oversight may put the entire endeavor in jeopardy.

Sharing unvarnished anecdotes from her time in office—harrowing near misses, exhilarating triumphs, heartwarming personal stories—Marshall  brings us a master class in soft power, unveiling the complexity of human interactions and making the case that etiquette, cultural IQ, and a flexible mind-set matter now more than ever. When the notion of basic civility seems to be endangered, Protocol reminds us how critical these principles are while providing an accessible guide for anyone who wants to be empowered by the tools of diplomacy in work and everyday life.

Capricia Penavic Marshall was Chief of Protocol of the United States from 2009 to 2013. She is current president of Global Engagement Strategies, which advises international public and private clients on issues relating to the nexus of business and cultural diplomacy. She serves as Ambassador-in-Residence at the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington. In her post under the Obama administration, she reinvented modern protocol by building relationships between industry leaders worldwide creating strategies to transform global engagement. During her service she oversaw the details of diplomacy during six State and Official Visits, countless Working Visits, and the G20, Nuclear Security, APEC, G8, NATO and Sunnylands Summits. 

Product Details ISBN: 9780063032231
ISBN-10: 0063032236
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Pages: 448
Language: English

“Makes the case that ‘soft power’ is too often underestimated both in foreign relations and in life.” — The Santa Monica Daily Press

“Argues that etiquette and small matters of cultural nuance play a huge role in functional politics.” — New York Times Book Review, “New & Noteworthy”

“Fascinating . . . An informative and often charming primer on a little-known—but vital—government post.” — Kirkus Reviews

“For over two decades, Capricia has been my friend and colleague, from Arkansas to Zambia. She is a problem solver and a bridge builder, and I’ve been so lucky to have her by my side through the years. Protocol is a must-read, taking us behind the curtain of the highest levels of diplomacy, teaching us lessons about the intersection of governing and humanity that we need now more than ever.” — Hillary Clinton

“An interesting and well-written account of the role of protocol in modern diplomacy. Marshall’s stories and lessons, drawn from years of experience, are entertaining and valuable in navigating everyday life.” — Henry A. Kissinger

“Protocol—the rules that govern professional, government, and social interactions—may be the very reset we need. These practices aren’t dependent on your wallet size or where you come from, your skin color or your nationality, rather protocol is something we all can get behind, . . . My thanks to Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall for this book—give it to everyone you meet for birthdays, weddings, and elections. It can only help.”Whoopi Goldberg

“Working with Capricia during the Obama administration was nothing short of wonderful! Her guiding hand and innovative methods laid the foundation for our successful diplomacy on the world stage. Through amusing and touching anecdotes, many of which we shared together, Capricia details the superpower of protocol, a power that helped foster an environment conducive to many of President Obama’s successes.” — Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to Barack Obama and author of Finding My Voice

“Capricia Penavic Marshall was an extraordinary chief of protocol, and she has now written an extraordinary book on how international protocol actually works and how it can work for every business and person. I cannot recommend this book too highly.” — David Rubenstein, cofounder and co-executive chairman of the Carlyle Group and author of The American Story

“Capricia is the ultimate master in the art of protocol. As a first-generation American woman, she brilliantly manages the cultural nuances of consequential public- and private-sector engagements. Reading her book, I have learned a lot, I have laughed a lot, I have enjoyed every page.” — Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank

SEPARATED, by Soboroff NOTE: Meeting Online

Public Affairs
Monday, July 26, 7:00 pm

Public Affairs Book Group meets the 4th Monday each month at 7 p.m. The book group is now meeting online--for details please contact

Separated: Inside an American Tragedy By Jacob Soboroff Cover Image

Separated: Inside an American Tragedy (Paperback)


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"The seminal book on the child-separation policy." —Rachel Maddow

Now in paperback, featuring updated reporting and a new afterword: The award-winning NBC News correspondent lays bare the full truth behind America’s systematic separation of families at the US-Mexico border.

Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist | American Book Award Winner | American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award Finalist

In June 2018, Donald Trump’s most notorious decision as president had secretly been in effect for months before most Americans became aware of the astonishing inhumanity being perpetrated by their own government. Jacob Soboroff was among the first journalists to expose this reality after seeing firsthand the living conditions of the children in custody. His influential series of reports ignited public scrutiny that contributed to the president reversing his own policy and earned Soboroff the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Political Broadcast Journalism and, with his colleagues, the 2019 Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism.

But beyond the headlines, the complete, multilayered story lay untold. How, exactly, had such a humanitarian tragedy—now deemed “torture” by physicians—happened on American soil? Most important, what has been the human experience of those separated children and parents?

Soboroff has spent the past two years reporting the many strands of this complex narrative, developing sources from within the Trump administration who share critical details for the first time. He also traces the dramatic odyssey of one separated family from Guatemala, where their lives were threatened by narcos, to seek asylum at the U.S. border, where they were separated—the son ending up in Texas, and the father thousands of miles away, in the Mojave desert of central California. And he joins the heroes who emerged to challenge the policy, and who worked on the ground to reunite parents with children.

In this essential reckoning, Soboroff weaves together these key voices with his own experience covering this national issue—at the border in Texas, California, and Arizona; with administration officials in Washington, D.C., and inside the disturbing detention facilities. Separated lays out compassionately, yet in the starkest of terms, its human toll, and makes clear what is at stake as America struggles to reset its immigration policies post-Trump.

Jacob Soboroff is a correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC. For his reporting on the child-separation policy, he received the 2019 Walter Cronkite Award for Individual Achievement by a National Journalist and the 2019 Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism. He has appeared on Today, Morning Joe, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and numerous other programs. He co-presented (with Katy Tur) the four-part event docuseries American Swamp on MSNBC. He lives in Los Angeles.

Product Details ISBN: 9780062992208
ISBN-10: 0062992201
Publisher: Custom House
Publication Date: June 29th, 2021
Pages: 448
Language: English

"The seminal book on the child-separation policy." — Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show

"As a correspondent for NBC News, Soboroff was among the the first to report on the Trump administration's family separation policy; here, he digs deeper into its roots and consequences." — New York Times Book Review, "New & Notable"

"Jacob Soboroff's excellent reporting at the border helped shine a light on Trump's cruel family separation policy. His new book, Separated, is a sobering account of what he saw and the human toll of the Trump agenda." — Julián Castro

"Jacob Soboroff zooms in on President Trump and his administration’s decision to separate children from their parents as a deterrent to border crossers. In doing so, he illuminates how, in the face of congressional inaction, a cadre of presidential advisers can introduce policies with shocking, unintended consequences." — Laura Wides-Muñoz, Washington Post

“This book is important. Everyone should read it. We have to face our demons as a country, and this is an opportunity to face our demons.”  — Joy-Ann Reid

“Groundbreaking. … All the original reporting in this book is extraordinary.”  — Andrea Mitchell

"To experience the pain and anger many suburban voters felt about Trump’s policy of ripping children from the arms of their asylum-seeking parents along the southern border, I’d recommend Separated: Inside an American Tragedy by Jacob Soboroff." — Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

"Fantastic. ... Serves as a blueprint, honestly, for everything that we are seeing now in the pandemic, everything wrong with this administration, it's all right there in black and white. ... The book is fantastic, the reporting is fantastic."  — Chris Hayes

"Soboroff’s thoroughly engaging exposé of the inner workings of a corrupt and unfeeling government is essential to understanding America's current immigration misery." — Booklist (starred review)

HOW THE SOUTH WON THE CIVIL WAR, by Richardson NOTE: Meeting Online

Public Affairs
Sunday, June 27, 7:00 pm

Public Affairs Book Group meets the 4th Monday each month at 7 p.m. The book group is now meeting online--for details please contact

How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America By Heather Cox Richardson Cover Image

How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America (Hardcover)


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Named one of The Washington Post's 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction

While the North prevailed in the Civil War, ending slavery and giving the country a "new birth of freedom," Heather Cox Richardson argues in this provocative work that democracy's blood-soaked victory was ephemeral. The system that had sustained the defeated South moved westward and there established a foothold. It was a natural fit. Settlers from the East had for decades been pushing into the West, where the seizure of Mexican lands at the end of the Mexican-American War and treatment of Native Americans cemented racial hierarchies. The South and West equally depended on extractive industries-cotton in the former and mining, cattle, and oil in the latter-giving rise a new birth of white male oligarchy, despite the guarantees provided by the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, and the economic opportunities afforded by expansion.

To reveal why this happened, How the South Won the Civil War traces the story of the American paradox, the competing claims of equality and subordination woven into the nation's fabric and identity. At the nation's founding, it was the Eastern "yeoman farmer" who galvanized and symbolized the American Revolution. After the Civil War, that mantle was assumed by the Western cowboy, singlehandedly defending his land against barbarians and savages as well as from a rapacious government. New states entered the Union in the late nineteenth century and western and southern leaders found yet more common ground. As resources and people streamed into the West during the New Deal and World War II, the region's influence grew. "Movement Conservatives," led by westerners Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan, claimed to embody cowboy individualism and worked with Dixiecrats to embrace the ideology of the Confederacy.

Richardson's searing book seizes upon the soul of the country and its ongoing struggle to provide equal opportunity to all. Debunking the myth that the Civil War released the nation from the grip of oligarchy, expunging the sins of the Founding, it reveals how and why the Old South not only survived in the West, but thrived.
Heather Cox Richardson is Professor of History at Boston College. Her previous works include West from Appomattox and To Make Men Free.
Product Details ISBN: 9780190900908
ISBN-10: 0190900903
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: April 1st, 2020
Pages: 272
Language: English