To Spain With Love: Adventures of an American Diplomat
Should life in the diplomatic corps put your life in danger? Should life in the diplomatic corps present your son with a coveted role in an iconic 20th century motion picture? Though today Michael Aaron Rockland is a professor of American Studies at Rutgers University (and a Morristown resident), his early career was in the United States diplomatic service, where he was a cultural attaché in several countries. His latest book: An American Diplomat in Franco Spain (Hansen Publishing, 2012) concerns extraordinary events during the four years he was with the American embassy in Spain. It includes a chapter on the day he spent alone with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Madrid shortly before his assassination, a similar chapter on a day he spent alone with Senator Edward Kennedy, the story of how his young son was recruited for the role of Sasha in David Lean's great movie, Dr. Zhivago and a discussion of how much Spain in the 1960s was a haven for fascists and even Nazis. Most notably, Rockland was involved in the famous Palomares incident, where the United States inadvertently dropped four hydrogen bombs on Spain which, had they been armed, would have destroyed half the planet. Who knew that life as a cultural attaché could be so adventurous? Professor Rockland will detail these stories and more at his lecture and will have copies of his new book available for purchase by check or cash for $15. Refreshments will be served.
“Michael Rockland’s accounts of his unusual experiences while he and I served with the American Embassy in Spain are amusing and illuminating—the most interesting his tale of the hydrogen bombs the U.S. inadvertently dropped on Spain and in waters off its coast. Also, the book’s interface of American, Jewish, and Spanish cultures is always insightful and provocative. This book will be as appealing to American as to Spanish audiences.
“What pleasure it gives me to encounter an American, a former diplomat, who understands so well our country, past and present, and who is equally at home in the world and language of Cervantes as that of Shakespeare.”
“Brilliantly funny and magnificently ‘unputdownable’ for Spaniards and Americans who lived through the last death rattles of Franco’s regime, this book is a unique performance and an admirable tribute of love from an American to our country as well as a book that, in comparing and contrasting both countries, uniquely illuminates both Spanish and American culture.
“Full of stories, both amusing and of historical significance, Rockland has written a book of cultural contrasts that illuminate Spain and the United States in the 1960s as well as today.”
Michael Aaron Rockland is a professor of American Studies at Rutgers University. His early career was in the U.S. diplomatic service, during which he was a cultural attaché in both Argentina and Spain. He is the author of twelve books, three of which have received special recognition. His first book, Sarmiento’s Travels in the United States in 1847 (Princeton University Press), was chosen by The Washington Post’s Book World as one of the “Fifty Best Books of the Year.” His novel, A Bliss Case (Coffee House Press) was a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year.” A book he co-wrote, Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike (Rutgers University Press), was chosen by the New Jersey State Library as one of the “Ten Best Books Ever Written on New Jersey or by a New Jerseyan.” His latest books are Stones, a novel (Hansen Publishing Group) and The George Washington Bridge: Poetry in Steel (Rutgers University Press). Rockland has won five major teaching/lecturing awards, including the National Teaching Award in American Studies. He has lectured in some twenty-one countries around the world. A regular contributor to New Jersey Monthly magazine, he has also worked in television and film production, mostly for PBS, and is regularly interviewed on National Public Radio.